Google launches Android Things OS for IoT devices

Google launches Android Things OS for IoT devices

"Android Things is a comprehensive way to build IoT products with the power of Android, one of the world's most supported operating systems", Google developer advocate Wayne Piekarski writes in a new post to the Google Developers Blog. But probably the project has failed to grab the developer's attention. The search giant, Google has been vigorously expanding its Android platform to cover the range of smartphones. This embedded operating system contains besides the usual Android API and the library to access various Google services, a new library called Things Support Library which comes with two main features: a Peripheral I/O API enabling access to sensors and actuators through several protocols and interfaces (GPIO, PWM, I2C, SPI, UART), and a User Driver API that makes it possible to to add new device drivers to an application, useful to inject hardware events into the system, making them available to applications.

The company's latest Internet of Things (IoT) is now available as the developers preview. The newly implanted Android Things joins the Android family that includes Android Auto, Android TV and Android Wear. However Google are keen to make developers aware that there are indeed some issues in the first preview. At launch, Android Things is compatible with IoT devices and boards including the Raspberry Pi 3, Intel Edison and NXP Pico. Being an open system, the OS will also encourage interoperability. Finally, we're also working towards merging Weave and Nest Weave to enable all classes of devices to connect with each other in a secure and reliable way.

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Google's foray into IoT OS space is noteworthy because of the growing concerns over security of Internet of Things connected devices. A number of manufacturers - Belkin WeMo, First Alert, Honeywell, LiFX, TP-Link, Wink - have announced their support for Weave. Given the less processor-intensive nature of most IoT tasks, less mighty Snapdragons in the vein of the dedicated Snapdragon 2100 wearable processor could come down the pipeline, but Qualcomm has not announced such a thing just yet. In future, such Android Things powered devices will also allow voice commands with Google Assistant. The new operating system is essentially what its name suggests: a scaled-down version of Android created to run on anything from smart thermostats and CCTV cameras to lightbulbs and plug sockets.