After a couple of years and a raft of developer previews – preview 6 was the last we recorded – version 1.0 of Android Things has now been officially released to servers.
Android Things is basically Google’s way of addressing the Internet of Things. It’s an Android-based platform intended to provide quicker (and Google-friendly) routes to develop embedded things, be they smart locks, sensor control systems, controlling different communication devices…
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
As well as existing hardware support for Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and NXP i.MX7D devices, there is support for new System-on-Modules (SoMs) based on the NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212, Qualcomm SDA624, and MediaTek MT8516 hardware platforms.
Note, however, that support for the NXP i.MX6UL devices will not continue.
The full release notes for Android Things 1.0 can be found online.
The URL developer.android.com/things is your friend for learning more about the technology. If only I had the time…
Another thing to note is that the Android Things Console includes a new interface to configure hardware peripherals (see below). This is to enable build-time control of the Peripheral I/O connections available and device properties, such as GPIO resistors and I2C bus speed.
Dave Smith, Developer Advocate for IoT writes:
Android Things is Google’s managed OS that enables you to build and maintain Internet of Things devices at scale. We provide a robust platform that does the heavy lifting with certified hardware, rich developer APIs, and secure managed software updates using Google’s back-end infrastructure, so you can focus on building your product.
After a developer preview with over 100,000 SDK downloads, we’re releasing Android Things 1.0 to developers today with long-term support for production devices. Developer feedback and engagement has been critical in our journey towards 1.0, and we are grateful to the over 10,000 developers who have provided us feedback through the issue tracker, at workshop events, and through our Google+ community.
In terms of securing software updates, he adds:
One of the core tenets of Android Things is powering devices that remain secure over time. Providing timely software updates over-the-air (OTA) is a fundamental part of that. Stability fixes and security patches are supported on production hardware platforms, and automatic updates are enabled for all devices by default. For each long-term support version, Google will offer free stability fixes and security patches for three years, with additional options for extended support. Even after the official support window ends, you will still be able to continue to push app updates to your devices. See the program policies for more details on software update support.
Note that use of the Android Things Console for software updates is limited to 100 active devices for non-commercial use. If you intend to ship a commercial product, running Android Things, you have to sign a distribution agreement with Google to remove the device limit.
Android Things in action
Has Android Things gained any traction in the real world? Well, at the beginning of the year at CES 2018 Lenovo, Harman, LG, and iHome were showcasing Assistant-enabled products using by Android Things.
Basically, it seems to be a way for Google to add their AI to the IoT mix, by means of the Google Assistant, accessed via Android.
For example, with LG we’re talking Smart Speakers that use Android Things to add the voice control to a standard speaker… See Google launches IoT Showcase for Android Things.
See also: Android Things assisting with AI at CES 2018.