Google’s Android Things is a new operating system for the Internet of Things

Julian Chokkattu / Digital trends

Google wants Android to power everything, and in December 2016 it released a new operating system to help – Android things. As the name suggests, its primary target is the Internet of Things market, including smart thermostats, TVs, ovens, etc. Now, after a Developer Preview that has seen over 100,000 Developer SDK downloads, Google is releasing Android Things 1.0 with “long term support for production devices”.

As part of the new version of Android Things, Google will begin supporting systems on modules (SoMs) based on the NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212, Qualcomm SDA624 and MediaTek MT8516 hardware platforms. All of these modules have been certified for production use and should make it easier for developers to distribute their prototypes.

In addition, Google will now provide “timely software updates over the air (OTA)”. This means that stability fixes and security fixes will be supported on production hardware platforms, while automatic updates will be available by default for all devices, making Android Things a system of more reliable operation. In fact, Google is promising free stability fixes and fixes for the next three years, and even after official support is withdrawn, developers will still have the option to send app updates to their devices.

“Over the past few months, we’ve been working closely with partners to bring products based on Android Things to market,” Google noted in a blog post. “These include smart speakers from LG and iHome and smart displays from Lenovo, LG and JBL, which feature powerful features like Google Assistant and Google Cast. But other developers will have the option of using the same operating system to create their own products. And if you’re looking to build a new Android Things product, Google has a limited partner program with the broader Android Things team for technical advice and support. You can register to participate here.

The Android Things software was initially a redesign of Brillo, an Internet of Things operating system that Google debuted in May 2015. The company said it “incorporated feedback from Project Brillo to include familiar tools such as Android Studio, Android Software Development Kit (SDK), Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform. This incorporation makes it easier for developers because they can use the same tools they use to build Android apps and devices.

“Now any Android developer can quickly build a smart device using Android APIs and Google services, while remaining highly secure with updates directly from Google,” writes Wayne Piekarski of Google, Developer Advocate for Google. ‘IoT.

The Android Things platform uses Weave, which was also announced alongside Brillo. Weave is a cross-platform language that allows devices to communicate with each other, the cloud, and your phone – one command works the same for all smart devices. Google says the Weave platform is also receiving an update to make it easier for all devices to connect to the cloud and interact with services, such as the Google Assistant.

It’s important to note that consumers will never directly interact with Weave or Android Things, as they are simply powering a product, like a smart bulb. But for people on the technical side of things, Android Things 1.0 could open up a whole new set of opportunities.

Updated May 7: Added news on Android Things 1.0

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