Google last year unveiled Brillo, a separate operating system for Internet of Things. The OS was expected to connect different devices and let them communicate with each other easily. This also allowed developers to create innovative products.
One and a half years later, Google has rebranded Brillo OS into ‘Android Things’ with some additional functionalities. Google has released the developer preview of Android Things, so that any Android developer can quickly build a smart device using Android APIs and Google services, while staying highly secure with updates direct from Google.
Google’s blog post read, “We incorporated the feedback from Project Brillo to include familiar tools such as Android Studio, the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform. And in the coming months, we will provide Developer Preview updates to bring you the infrastructure for securely pushing regular OS patches, security fixes, and your own updates, as well as built-in Weave connectivity and more.”
Google says that there are several ‘turnkey hardware solutions’ available for developers to get started building real products with Android Things today, including Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and Raspberry Pi 3. They can now easily scale to large production runs with custom designs of these solutions, while continuing to use the same Board Support Package (BSP) from Google.
The company has also promised that with this upgrade, developers will be free to release updates at their schedule, via OTA. This OS also solves the problem of regular updates to ensure security of IoT devices, as they have a risk of getting hacked.
Device makers like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings already use Weave, and several others like Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link, and First Alert have already started working on this new OS.
Google expects a lot of new companies to get on board with Android Things and help them strengthen the vision of connected devices in the future. Android Weave also provides the cloud infrastructure, so that the companies do not have to invest in them separately.
What does this mean for developers and users?
Going forward, developers will have a larger piece of responsibility while releasing updates and pushing out images OTA. The new OS will also be able to integrate the devices a lot better, so your smartwatch and communicate with your smart car more efficiently.
Most importantly, the new OS will be standard across all devices – more manufacturers will be able to implement this operating system with ease. Solving the IoT problems is not a small issue, and Google is working hard to ensure security with connectivity.
For users, a lot of companies are now trying to get into the IoT space because it helps to integrate a lot of home solutions, connecting all devices at once. Developers have been supporting this move from Google because it is an important thing for many manufacturers.
We hope Android Things clicks with Indian manufacturers as well, as IoT is still in nascent stages here and not many devices have capability of connecting with each other.