Ahead of the Google I/O 2018, the company has officially announced its Android Things 1.0 operating system. Android Things is the name of one of Google’s IoT operating system and It is aimed at making it easier for developers to manage Android powered IoT devices. The company also aims to take care of the security issues which are associated IoT devices by promising three years of updates for every device that is launched running on the Android Things operating system. With the new Android Things 1.0 OS Google is taking the control over updates as only the company will push updates for devices running on the OS and OEM’s will not be able to build a custom skin on top of Android Things OS. Device manufacturers will only be able to make apps for the device.
Google says in its blog post that with Android Things, “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.” Google also says that automatic updates on devices running on Android Things 1.0 will be enabled by default and they will receive patches and updates regularly OTA. As mentioned earlier, Google will roll out free stability fixes and security patches for three years with added options to get extended support. In addition, when the official support ends, users will still be able to continue pushing app updates to their devices. For non-commercial use, Google has restricted the use of Android Things Console, which provides tools for installing and updating system image on supported hardware devices, for software updates to 100 active devices. Developers who intend to ship a commercial product running Android Things will need to sign a distribution agreement with Google to remove the limit.
Google also announced support for selected hardware, which includes System-on-Modules (SoMs) based on the NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212 (Snapdragon 212 processor), Qualcomm SDA624, and MediaTek MT8516 platforms. SoMs are essentially the same as System on Chips (SoC) and come with a CPU, storage, RAM, WiFi and more capabilities but are bigger than SoCs. Additionally, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and the NXP i.MX7D are also supported as developer devices and even though they won’t receive the promised updates, they can be used for prototyping and testing. Developers will also be able to use a cloud-based Android Things Console to manage their Android Things enabled devices.
Google’s IoT platform initially launched as Project Brillo, but was eventually rebranded as Android Things. It also comes with turnkey support for Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and Raspberry Pi 3.