Arrival of Android ‘Things’ OS for IoT Devices

The Internet of Things, or IoT as it’s handily abbreviated, has been the foremost development in the Web world in recent years. The promise it holds for expanding upon the way we use the World Wide Web for our benefit is quite considerable, and it would appear that the world’s premier technology company is as receptive to this as you’d imagine they’d be.

Here at 4GoodHosting, we’re as much of a fan of Android operating systems as anyone and like any Canadian web hosting provider we understand that a good many of you will be in either the iOS or Android camps when it comes to your OS of choice. Each have their benefits, but it would now seem that Google has beaten Apple to the punch when it comes to introducing an OS that’s tailored to the IoT.

Google has announced the general release of Android Things (1.0), a managed operating system that lets users build and maintain internet of things (IoT) devices at scale.

With this new operating system developers can build smart and connected devices for multiple purposes. Consumer, retail and industrial applications to name a few. All while able to use existing Android development tools, APIs and resources to develop these new apps for specific devices.

Android Things is classified as an embedded operating system that supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy and the Weave protocol. With it you’ll be able to promote multiple ways of communication between devices. Developers can now leverage Google’s Android partner ecosystem, machine learning capabilities, as well as Google Assistant.

It will be worth noting as well that Android Things also offers software development kits (SDKs), designed to help developers when building an array of IoT devices. Google has stated it intends to partner with hardware manufacturers to provide more SDKs.

Front and centre with this new OS is the Android Things Console. Developers can use it to download and install the latest system images, as well as manage and share OEM application across products and owners, monitor informative analytics, and have over-the-air updates ‘pushed’ as necessary.

Since it was previewed in December 2016, over 10,000 developers have provided feedback about Android Things, and most of it has been decidedly positive. The fact that more than 100,000 SDKs having been downloaded in last 18 months bears that out. In the 1.0 release, Google has added support for two new System-on-Modules (SoMs) for Android Things, based on:

  • NXP i.MX8M
  • Qualcomm SDA212
  • Qualcomm SDA624
  • MediaTek MT8516

hardware platforms

Android Things will continue to support the existing Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and NXP i.MX7D devices.

All of this of course while Google continues to lead the smartphone market with its Android OS. Their aim here is to establish their presence in the emerging IoT devices market, and they may very well be the early bird that gets the worm. With an eye to bringing Android Things products to market, Google has been working closely with LG, Lenovo, and JBL.

Android Things 1.0 is available for free for non-commercial users, allowing management of up to 100 devices via the Android Things Console. Users who need to manage more than 100 devices will need to choose paid commercial subscriptions, but it projects to be well worth that investment.

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