Android Things OS for the Internet of Things Supports Raspberry Pi 3, Intel Edison, and NXP Pico Boards

Orange Pi Development Boards

Google introduced Project Brillo a little over a year ago, an operating system based on Android, but with a smaller footprint optimized for Internet of Things applications. Brillo has now just become Android Things OS, with Google releasing a developer preview of Android Things working on Raspberry Pi 3, Intel Edison, and NXP Pico boards.

Android Things Software Architecture

The company has also updated the Weave platform to simplify connection of all types of devices to the cloud, and interaction with services like the Google Assistant. The Weave Device SDK currently supports schemas for light bulbs, smart plugs, switches, and thermostats, with more type of device supported in the future, as well as a mobile app API for both Android and iOS.

Using an Android based OS instead of a pure Linux OS should make it easier for Android app developers to create smart devices thanks to the use of familiar Android APIs and Google Services. The workflow is pretty similar to creating mobile apps, with development being done within Android Studio and you’d connect to the target board through adb. One difference is the the Things Support library that provides a peripheral I/O API for interfaces such as GPIOs, PWM, I2C, SPI and UART as well as a user driver API  used to allow apps to inject hardware events in to the Android framework.

NXP Pico Board with TechNexion PICO-i.MX6UL SoM

If you’d like to get started, get one of the three supported boards, and get the Android Things developer preview. You may also been interested in Weave and Google Cloud platform sites to respectively control capable device such as Philips Hue and Samsung SmartThings, and get your data into the cloud. Some sample code is also available on AndroidThings’ github account, and you may want to subscribe to  Google’s IoT Developers Community on Google+ for support and discussions. NXP also has a higher end Android IoT platform equipped with more I/Os and ports called VVDN Technologies Argon i.MX6UL development board.

7 Replies to “Android Things OS for the Internet of Things Supports Raspberry Pi 3, Intel Edison, and NXP Pico Boards”

  1. AIUI there are experimental, unofficial, ‘real’ Android builds for the Pis, and when Google code for Brillo appeared, some people added 2 and 2 together and decided that Google were going to port full Android to the Pi.

    Others, rightly, realised that it wasn’t Android that Google were running on the Pi, but instead an Android-related IoT OS, which is what it turned out to be.

  2. @ahrlad
    Thanks. I did not notice it even after two days. An Intel based official Raspberry Pi board would be interesting, but unlikely. There’s already an RPI3 like board with Intel processor though: UP board, and also the new UP2 board.

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