Google's 'Android Things' Platform Promises An Easier Path to IoT

Google has renamed its Internet of Things platform and released the first developer preview of its broader push into connected devices. Android Things relies on components of Brillo and Weave, and comes complete with its own SDK and APIs so developers can get to work.

Google this week released a Developer Preview of Android Things, which is says will "bring computing to a whole new range of devices." Using Android APIs and Google services, Google claims developers can quickly build smart devices based on the world's most prominent operating system. Android Things is Brillo reborn.

Developers interested in Android Things will have access to a familiar toolset. Google says Android Things relies on Android Studio, the Android SDK, Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform. Google expects to update Android Things with regular OS and security patches as it updates the main Android platform. That means developers will always have access to the latest APIs.

Google is also updating Weave in an effort to ensure the widest possible selection of devices is able to access the cloud and interact with cloud services. Weave manages all the cloud infrastructure so developers can focus on building their products. Weave includes a Device SDK for supported microcontrollers and it includes a management console for easier tweaking. Right now, Weave supports schemas for smart plugs and switches, light bulbs, and thermostats. Google expects to add more schemas over time, and will eventually deploy a mobile application API for Android and iOS. At the same time, Google is working to merge Weave and Nest Weave so all devices can talk with one another securely and reliably.

A handful of device makers, including Philips and Samsung, are already using Weave and Google says Belkin, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link, and First Alert are in the process of implementing it.

Google says a handful of turnkey hardware solutions are available for developers to help them get started. The options include Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and Raspberry Pi 3, which should help developers scale up with custom designs based on these blueprints. All three are compatible with the existing Board Support Package (BSP) from Google.

"Now any Android developer can quickly build a smart device using Android APIs and Google services, while staying highly secure with updates direct from Google," said Wayne Piekarski, Developer Advocate for IoT, in a blog post.

Google has refreshed its IoT developer site with new information, and has separate resources for Android Things, Weave, and the Google Cloud Platform where developers can find documentation and code samples.

Be sure to read the next Internet of Things article: Web Bluetooth API In Chrome 56 Sparks Privacy Concerns


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