Big box retailers are facing a rapidly shifting landscape as technology and media habits evolve, and Best Buy CTO Robert Stephens sees a future where DIY electronics kits can help push aside the DVD aisles of today. Speaking at O'Reilly's Open Android conference in San Francisco, the Geek Squad founder said he "would love to see an Arduino aisle at Best Buy," framing the open-source hardware platform as a breeding ground for innovation that could inspire developers to create a new class of interconnected devices "just because they can."
Arduino has been gathering momentum since being integrated into Google's ambitious Android @ Home automation initiative last May, and Stephens sees it as a way to move the ball forward in consumer electronics as well. "What I hope to do is keep an eye on the stuff that you're developing," he told the audience, "and hopefully introduce it to the manufacturers and get them to open up to include these kind of capabilities." While his perspective was still that of a major retailer — Stephens cautioned that Best Buy's focus would always be on consumer-friendly solutions — it's nevertheless exciting to see support for the possibilities of open-source hardware at this level. Check out the full interview after the break.