Google announces updates to its Internet of Things (IoT) Platform

Google announces updates to its Internet of Things (IoT) Platform

Brillo Rebrands as Android Things

Fascination with technological advancements is a facet that we all likely share here at XDA.

With each new generation of Android devices, most companies push incremental changes to their hardware line-up. Some, however, take a leap of faith and introduce new devices that test our imaginations to their very limits. One innovation that has captured the minds of generations of consumers since the days of The Jetsons is known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Although the term is rather ill-defined, what most consumers who are familiar with the term think of when they see IoT is the smart, connected home. To the more skeptical among us, IoT represents a potentially terrifying future avenue of privacy violations. Television shows such as USA Network’s Mr. Robot play into those fears (Warning: Season 1 spoilers). But for others, the Internet of Things represents a shift towards automating the most mundane aspects of our lives.

Companies such as LG, Samsung, Apple, Huawei, IBM, Qualcomm, and Google are investing billions into IoT research. During Google I/O 2015, the company announced Brillo, the Android-based OS designed specifically to run on home appliances. Furthermore, Google laid the foundation for Weave, the communication layer that would allow smart devices (regardless of whether or not they run on Brillo) to inter-communicate. Many were skeptical that Google would continue supporting Brillo, especially since the company did not mention any updates to the program during Google I/O 2016. However, Google has finally announced their plans for the Internet of Things. It includes a re-branding of the initiative as well as the first preview of the operating system in action.


Meet ‘Android Things’

What was previously known as ‘Brillo’ will now be called ‘Android Things’. Google has announced that developers can preview the newly re-branded Android Things on either the Intel Edison, NXP Pico, or Raspberry Pi 3. Android Things will support running on custom designed versions of these single board computers so companies can quickly scale their testing to suit their particular needs. Much like the Developer Previews available for Nexus devices, Google will provide several updates to the Android Things Developer Preview over the coming months.

Furthermore, Google is incorporating several familiar Android development related tools to work with Android Things such as Android Studio, the Android SDK, Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform. In conjunction with these updated tools, Google is also updating the Weave communication layer to allow for easier access to cloud content and to even allow for interaction with services like Google Assistant. Eventually, Google will merge its Weave with Nest Weave to take advantage of the existing integrations available through the popular Nest home products, and to ease the development transition of existing products.

Google mentions that several popular smart home devices such as the Philips Hue light bulbs and Samsung’s SmartThings already implement Weave, so developing for the platform should be a no-brainer. The Weave Device SDK already supports cloud communication layer code for devices such as the aforementioned light bulbs, switches, and thermostats but will be updated in the future with support for additional appliance types. In addition, the company will provide a mobile application API available for Android and iOS developers – so even smartphones and smartwatches will be able to interact with smart home devices.


Source: Android Developers Blog

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