Google jumped on the Internet of Things bandwagon in 2015 with its announcement of Brillo (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).
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.