Android Things

By 2020, there will be tens of billions of smart devices connected to the Internet. And this Internet of Things (IoT) is going to change the way we live and work. Nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years. All big players want to tap this market potential.

In Internet of Things, the “things” referenced are machines embedded with sensors that gather, store and analyze data. And since they’re all linked to the Internet, they can upload that data for further processing, download updated software and can be controlled from afar.

The data sent from these things/smart devices will be sent to the cloud, which are processed and decisions/actions are taken based on the insights from these data.

But the biggest challenge in IoT space is that wide variety of technologies, different platforms and lack of standards available. This limitation poses tough challenge for the IoT developers. Also the learning curve, time to market and technology maturity to be considered.

Google wants to put Android in the next wave of smart devices in the IoT space by leveraging existing Android development tools, APIs, and a thriving developer community. Android Things lets you build professional, mass-market products on a trusted platform, without previous knowledge of embedded system design. Android Things  is supposed to make it easier for companies to start shipping hardware, since they’ll be able to work with the Android dev tools they already know.

Google provides system images, updates and fixes, so we can focus on developing compelling products. Android Things reduces the large upfront development costs and risks inherent in getting your idea off the ground. When you’re ready to ship large quantities of devices, your costs scale linearly. In addition, ongoing engineering and testing costs are reduced by Google-provided updates.

 

Android things

Android Things development is very similar to traditional Android mobile development and involves writing apps using the Android framework and tools. All you need is a development board flashed with the Android Things OS and the required peripherals for your device.

Android Things helps to accelerate hardware solutions. Google works with with SoC partners to build Android Things certified development boards that contain SoMs (System-on-Modules) to make  development fast. SoMs integrate the SoC, RAM, Flash Storage, WiFi, Bluetooth and other components onto a single board and come with all of the necessary FCC certifications. The Board Support Package (BSP) is managed by Google. This gives you a trusted platform to develop on with standard updates and fixes from Google.

Currently Android Things supports below boards:

Intel Edison

Intel Joule

NXP Argon

NXP Pico

Raspberry Pi 3

Architecture Overview:

Android Things makes developing connected embedded devices easy by providing the same Android development tools, best-in-class Android framework, and Google APIs that make developers successful on mobile.

Apps for embedded devices bring developers closer to hardware peripherals and drivers than phones and tablets. In addition, embedded devices typically present a single app experience to users.

Android Things extends the core Android framework with additional APIs provided by the Things Support Library. These APIs allow apps to integrate with new types of hardware not found on mobile devices.

The Android Things platform is also streamlined for single application use. System apps are not present, and your app is launched automatically on startup to immerse your users in the app experience.

 

Reference: https://developer.android.com/things/index.html

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