With new OS update, Google wants to put Android in all your things

Google jumped on the Internet of Things bandwagon in 2015 with its announcement of Brillo, an operating system pitched at Android-based smart devices and IoT gadgets. But it hasn’t actually developed the OS much since then.

The search company’s finally decided to reboot and revamp the project, officially launching it as Android Things — basically Android for IoT — with design that allows it to work with products like security cameras, smart thermostats, TVs, speakers and much more.

Google says it has “incorporated the feedback from Project Brillo to include familiar tools such as Android Studio, the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform,” making it easy for Android developers to build smart devices.

Google will be able to update internet-connected Things devices directly — important both for security and adding features in the future. This will also enable developers to send out updates to their own devices.

All of the Things

Devices running Android Things won’t be able to connect directly to Android or iOS smartphones, but will still be controllable via Google’s cloud architecture. Things devices will also have access to Google Assistant.

Unlike the watch and smartphone OS, Android Things won’t be visible to the user, working quietly in the background, and it’s design to let devices handle their own tasks rather than letting external servers process the commands. Google says it’s ideal for more complex smart devices, like printers, rather than the smaller, less powerful devices.

Google has already launched a developer preview and has partnered with a number of hardware manufacturers to offer solutions based on Intel Edison, NXP Pico and the Raspberry Pi 3.

In addition, Google also announced that smart device makers like Belkin, Honeywell and TP-Link will be adopting elements of the new platform to let their devices connect to the Google Assistant and other devices.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.