Q: What kind of web server costs less than a laptop but ships with redundant power, redundant networking and only draws about 10 watts of electricity when in use?
A: An Android phone!
Today we released to Google Play the first version of PageKite for Android:
From the app description:
PageKite makes it easy for your Android device to become a public web server or SSH server, even if it is on 3G or trapped behind NAT or strict firewalls.
PageKite gives your droid a public name and establishes a connection between a server app of your choice and a public frontend relay server (a reverse proxy). You can either run the relay on a server of your own, or use the public relay service provided by pagekite.net.
This is a very exciting release for us, partially for technical reasons (this is the first app built on our high performance embeddable C library), but mostly because we think Android devices have massive untapped potential as personal servers and platforms for experimentation and innovation.
Google like to boast that over a million new Android devices are activated every single day. One of the interesting things about this incredible growth becomes apparent when you consider the average lifetime of each phone: in two years, over a million Android devices will be retired every single day due to broken screens, dead batteries or just because they have been replaced by something newer and shinier.
In most cases, these retired devices will still be quite capable little computers. Most will still have working WiFi and 3G networking, they will have working microphones, speakers and cameras. They will have working GPS receivers and accelerometers. And once they've been deemed "obsolete", for whatever reason, they will become so cheap as to be effectively free.
There are lots of these retired phones out there already and we think they deserve a second life.
Every single one of them could be a personal web server. A live web-cam. A baby monitor. A remote-controlled music player. A tracking device for your car. Or all of the above.
All it takes is a USB charger and the right apps. While testing PageKite for Android, we spent 10 dollars and 10 minutes to turn a retired old HTC G1 into a live web-cam at our office, using PageKite and a free IP camera app we found on Google Play. The hardest part was to figure out how to keep the phone from falling over...
So we're excited. :-)
Please, try the app and let us know if you do something cool with it. Tell your friends! Together, we can recycle all the phones!