Google has launched Android Things, a new comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) platform to make it quicker and easier to build IoT products using Android APIs.
In a statement, Google said the platform would enable any Android developer to quickly build a connected device using Android APIs and Google services, which would be secured through direct updates from Google.
The company suggests Android Things is a direct update on Project Brillo – its previous IoT operating system, aimed at the smart home market – to incorporate tools such as Android Studio, the Android Software Development Kit (SDK), Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform.
Android Things: Developer Preview
At present, Google has only released a Developer Preview, which is says it plans to provide updates for in the coming months. It promises to include Developer Preview updates to the infrastructure for securely pushing regular OS patches, security fixes and any of your own developer updates.
Google says that developers can already start building Android Things solutions using Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and Raspberry Pi 3. Those keen to get started can find more detail on Google’s IoT developer website.
Creating an IoT ecosystem
In its statement, Google reminded us of its plans to build an IoT ecosystem with developers, and that’s why it’s also updating the Weave platform, its IoT communications platform. It’s this solution that helps devices connect to the cloud and interact with services like Google Assistant.
Device makers like Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings apparently already use Weave, and several others like Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link, and First Alert are implementing it, but Google still wants to make the process of connecting the cloud and IoT easier.
To do so, it will be adding new custom schemas or traits to the Weave Device SDK, as currently, it only supports schemas for light bulbs, smart plugs, switches, and thermostats. It will also be adding a mobile application API for Android and iOS.
Finally, Google is working towards merging Weave and Nest Weave to enable all classes of devices to connect with each other in a secure and reliable way. So those who started with Google Weave or Nest Weave have a path forward in the ecosystem.
Clearly, this is Google’s answer to Apple’s HomeKit and Microsoft’s latest play at being the go-to provider in the IoT space. Google is not prepared to play second fiddle, and a move that makes it easier to build and connect IoT devices via Android is a smart one given its open ecosystem approach and its presence on millions of smartphones and tablets.
The search giant, officially going by the name of Alphabet, launched its smart home products earlier this year, so this is new IoT platform is a logical next step to connect devices better together.