Qualcomm Inc. announced Tuesday that its subsidiary, Qualcomm Technologies intends to collaborate with Google to add support for the new Android Things operating system (OS) in Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
Android Things is a new vertical of Android designed for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. By using their expertise in Android and Snapdragon processors to support development of a variety of connected devices aimed at both consumer and industrial applications, this initiative intends to help a vast number of developers participate in the IoT opportunity.
Google released Tuesday Developer Preview of Android Things, a comprehensive way to build IoT products with the power of Android, one of the world’s most supported operating systems. Now any Android developer can build a smart device using Android APIs and Google services, while staying highly secure with updates direct from Google.
“We 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,” wrote Wayne Piekarski, developer advocate for IoT. “And in the coming months, we will provide Developer Preview updates to bring you the infrastructure for securely pushing regular OS patches, security fixes, and your own updates, as well as built-in Weave connectivity and more,” he added.
There are several turnkey hardware solutions available to get started building real products with Android Things, including Intel Edison, NXP Pico, and Raspberry Pi 3. Developers can scale to large production runs with custom designs of these solutions, while continuing to use the same Board Support Package (BSP) from Google.
Google also updated the Weave platform to make it easier for all types of devices to connect to the cloud and interact with services like 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. Weave provides all the cloud infrastructure, so that developers can focus on building their products without investing in cloud services. Weave also includes a Device SDK for supported microcontrollers and a management console.
The Weave Device SDK currently supports schemas for light bulbs, smart plugs and switches, and thermostats. In the coming months we will be adding support for additional device types, custom schemas/traits, and a mobile application API for Android and iOS.
Google is also 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 when beginning with either Google Weave or Nest Weave, there is a path forward in the ecosystem.
The design of IoT devices can be a complex task, usually requiring developers to bring together multiple connectivity technologies, sensors, data processing and storage, advanced multimedia and user interfaces, security, cloud integration, device management, as well as over-the-air upgrades and services.
Development can be particularly challenging in fragmented OS ecosystems lacking a consistent environment, software tools and support required to create applications.
Android Things is in developer preview and is anticipated to be released more broadly next year on Snapdragon processors.
Qualcomm Technologies and Google are well positioned to address these challenges. We anticipate Android Things running on Snapdragon processors will offer developers familiar connectivity environments, including cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; support for an array of sensors; camera, graphics, multimedia and rich UI capabilities; hardware-based security; Google services and cloud integration; test and optimization tools, while allowing for development of scalable, cost-effective and security-focused IoT solutions.
“Since the launch of the first Android phone, Qualcomm Technologies and Google have closely collaborated to create exciting new opportunities for developers in mobile, wearables and the IoT,” said Jeffery Torrance, vice president, business development, Qualcomm Technologies. “We are pleased to announce our intent to work with Google on this new initiative to expand the Android ecosystem. We anticipate many new and exciting IoT products will result as developers are able to bring the power of the Snapdragon processor together with Android Things.”