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Google Android Things – A New OS To Simplify IoT Development

Author: Ryan Williamson
by Ryan Williamson
Posted: Jan 12, 2017
android things

Android Things may sound like a new name, but the operating system isn’t really new. Google has updated and rebranded Project Brillo, an Android-based initiative for IoT that was announced a year and a half ago at Google I/O conference. Brillo experienced a little success since its announcement and didn’t show up at the CES (Consumer Electronic Show) last year.

But it’s rebranding is a new attempt to make IoT product development even easier with "the same developer tools as standard Android," according to Google. Furthermore, if you’re an enterprise wanting to explore ways to develop compelling Android apps or products, then check out seven more important facts about the new Android IoT OS.

  1. As mentioned earlier, Android Things is a rebranded version of Project Brillo. Though Android was at the core of Brillo, the development and deployment experience delivered by Brillo was completely different from standard Android development.
  2. Project Brillo used C++ as its primary development language, whereas Android Things targets all Java developers with or without mobile application development competency.
  3. Currently, the developer preview of Android Things supports Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and the Raspberry Pi 3 for initial prototyping and developing. Google will have the additional certified devices added to Android Things by the final release.
  4. Developers can use Android APIs and Google Services to build smart IoT devices. It takes the regular Android development stack which includes Android Studio based on JetBrains and IntelliJ IDEA, its official SDK, and Google Play Services that can be applied to IoT. The IoT product development lifecycle also remains similar to Android mobile development.
  5. Though, Android Things is an Android-based OS, it cannot run along with Android devices like mobile or Android Wear. It runs in the background of the smart devices to enable them to execute complex tasks on their own. Thus making it ideal to work with complex and smart products such as locks, printers, and ovens.
  6. The smart products developed using Android Things do not directly integrate with Android devices. To enable the connection between smart products and Android phones, Android Things uses Weave, a communication system for IoT devices that Google released alongside Brillo in 2015.
  7. Android Things even integrates with Google Cloud Platform components including Firebase. They can leverage various cloud services for messaging, state management and storage.

With this rebranding, Google seems to be pushing its OS to start running on smart devices while allowing developers to quickly speed up their product development using Android Things. If you have any thoughts, ideas or suggestions regarding Android Things, please let us know in the comments below.

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Author: Ryan Williamson

Ryan Williamson

United States

Member since: Dec 22, 2016
Published articles: 30

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