A few weeks ago, Google announced its newest attempt to securely connect its cloud to all smart devices with Android Things, a new OS Google developed to power smart devices and the Internet of Things. Android Thing’s overall goal is to build connected devices for a wide variety of consumer, retail and industrial applications. Google encourages developers to start building their own projects because “if you can build an app, you can build a device.” The platform promises the ease and power of Android with best-in-class security, several new APIs and smooth integrations with existing developer tools including Android Studio, Android SDK, Google Play Services and Google’s cloud computing services. The platform also uses Google Weave to securely communicate between devices.
According to TechCrunch’s emerging technology writer Frederic Lardinios, Android Things combines Brillo, which was Google’s previous efforts for an Android IoT platform, with developer tools to create the IoT platform Android developers have been waiting for, since iOS developers have been able to create their own IoT projects since 2014 with the Apple HomeKit. Google envisions Android Things as “an evolution of Brillo that builds on what Google learned from this earlier project.”
Not only is this initiative beneficial to Android developers wanting to expand their skillset, but the platform could be the solution for a safer IoT ecosystem. With recent cyber attacks including last October’s Mirai-based IoT botnet, the industry is working hard to improve the connected world in 2017, and Google’s approach seems like a step in the right direction in securing our existing weak IoT market.
Google promises the platform will be an “infrastructure for securely pushing regular OS patches, security fixes, and your own updates.” The security aspect of the platform is crucial because manufacturers and companies with their own IoT projects won’t have to worry about updating the software; the Android Things team will do the heavy lifting. And when you combine a powerful OS and a strong communication tool with the high-performing router Google Wifi, (which some experts claim having a better router is the way to fix IoT) Google has the potential to change the future of IoT.
The push for a more secure IoT platform comes at a crucial time as the Google-acquired Nest products have experienced issues with hackers streaming Nest users’ personal videos from the home or office. Not only will Nest customers benefit from this stronger system, other companies including Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link, First Alert and more are expected to adopt Google’s Weave as well.
Along with the initial announcement of Android Things a few weeks ago, the team encouraged developers to test out the developer preview with a step-by-step process for building your own IoT project. Google has several hardware manufacturing partners, so developers can create their own projects using an Intel Edison, NXP Pico or Raspberry Pi 3. In the coming weeks, our Android developers will try out the hardware and create a fun project with Android Things, so stay tuned!