Google today announced Android Things, its new comprehensive IoT platform for building smart devices on top of Android APIs and Google’s own services. Android Things is now available as a developer preview.Essentially, this is Android for IoT. It combines Google’s earlier efforts around Brillo (which was also Android-based, but never saw any major uptake from developers) with its Android developer tools like Android Studio, the Android SDK, Google Play Services and Google’s cloud computing services. Support for Weave, Google’s IoT communications platform that (together with Brillo) makes up Google’s answer to Apple’s HomeKit, is on the roadmap and will come in a later developer preview.
As a Google spokesperson told me, the company sees Android Things as an evolution of Brillo that builds on what Google learned from this earlier project. Google will work with all early access Brillo users to migrate their projects to Android Things.Google has partnered with a number of hardware manufacturers to offer solutions based on Intel Edison, NXP Pico and the Raspberry Pi 3. One interesting twist here is that Google will also soon enable all the necessary infrastructure to push Google’s operating system updates and security fixes to these devices.
In addition, Google also today announced that a number of new smart device makers are putting their weight behind Weave. Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link and First Alert will adopt the protocol to allow their devices to connect to the Google Assistant and other devices, for example. The Weave platform is also getting an update and a new Device SDK with built-in support for light bulbs, smart plugs, switches and thermostats, with support for more device types coming soon. Weave is also getting a management console and easier access to the Google Assistant.
The Android ecosystem
- Leverage existing Android development tools, APIs, resources, and a thriving developer community.
New APIs for IoT devices
- Develop with new Android framework APIs that provide low level I/O and libraries for common components like temperature sensors, display controllers, and more.
- Take advantage of regular best-in-class security updates by building on top of the Android OS.
Google APIs and services
- Leverage a wide range of Google services, such as Google Play services and Weave.
System updates and support
- We provide the system image, updates, fixes, and more, so you can focus on creating compelling products.
Large scale infrastructure
- Push Google-provided OS updates and your own app updates, using the same OTA infrastructure we use for our own products.
Get started now with the Developer Preview, so you can start designing and developing your own products. We will be providing regular updates with new features, and a long-term support release for commercialization in the coming months.