Google wants Android to power everything, and it has a new operating system to help — Android Things. As the name suggests, its primary target is the Internet of Things market, including smart thermostats, TVs, ovens, and more.
The software isn’t entirely new as it’s more a rebranding of Brillo, an Internet of Things OS Google debuted in May 2015. The company says it “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.” That incorporation makes it easier for developers as they can use the same tools they use to build Android apps and devices.
“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,” writes Google’s Wayne Piekarski, developer advocate for IoT.”
The Android Things platform utilizes Weave, which was also announced alongside Brillo. Weave is a cross-platform language that lets devices talk to each other, the cloud, and your phone — one command acts the same to all smart devices. Google says the Weave platform is also getting an update to make it easier for all devices to connect to the cloud and interact with services, such as the Google Assistant.
“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 are implementing it,” Piekarski writes in the Android Developers blog.
The Weave SDK supports lightbulbs, smart plugs, switches, and thermostats, but Google says increased support is on the way. It’s important to note that consumers will never interact with Weave or Android Things directly as they are simply powering a product, like a smart lightbulb. Developers can grab the Android Things Developer Preview from the new website.
Google announced only a handful of partners for Brillo back in January 2016 at CES, but the company hasn’t mentioned anyone specific for Android Things.
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