Is there anything a humble Nexus One can't do? Well, yes, probably - its track record at damson picking is pretty poor - but the Android smartphone has found favor over at the NASA Ames research labs where they're using it to remotely-control a Senseta rover as part of their Droidrover project. According to the team there, the Nexus One - paired over Bluetooth with an Arduino - makes for a smaller, lighter and cheaper setup than their existing microcontroller and router, and that adds up to a rover with reduced power consumption, better performance and improved manoeuvrability.
Next step is to apparently migrate from Arduino to the Cellbots platform, in which the phone itself acts as the brain for the robot. It's unlikely to make it to Mars, perhaps, but with the parts (including the phone) coming to under $600 - though the rover itself is around $5k - we're hoping they at least publish the instructions so we can make our own.
[via Android Community - thanks mdNomad!]