I was part of a conversation a while ago about how nice it would be to have an Android app that made it work as a universal remote control. The major stumbling block, and the reason why there aren’t boundless remote control apps already, is that most (all?) android devices lack an IR transmitter. I thought of two ways to work around this limitation:
- Attach an IR transmitter to a device on your local LAN and then send the remote control codes via TCP. The downside here is that there are actually some people (and I know this can be hard to believe) that do not have a LAN in their home much less a PC near their entertainment center.
- Attach an IR transmitter to the 3.5mm audio output jack. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to get the transmitter to work correctly by responding to an analog audio signal but it seemed possible.
The Global Cache iTach family of products would work for option #1. In particular the WF2IR looks attractive. The prices I’ve seen are over $100 and so I probably won’t be buying one any time soon. To create a popular remote control app the hardware required for it must be cheap and easy to come by.
Thinkflood took the approach in option #2 with their RedEye products. The RedEye mini plugs into the 3.5mm hack and it just a little IR transmitter. At $50 I’m much more inclined to use a RedEye mini. I hope they create an Android application.