LONG-AWAITED TINKERING TOOL Android Things is now available for developers that want to create more secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Android Things 1.0 has finally been released officially, after being in preview for what feels like a gazillion years, following its augmented forking from Google's coding language Brillo.
At launch, it'll work on selected system-on-modules (SoMs) based on NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212, SDA624 and MediaTek MT8516.
What's really tantalising is that Google is promising to bring Android Things to a range of (mostly third-party) speakers and smart screens (that's like the Amazon Echo Show, but Googley) that are incoming from LG, Lenovo and JBL.
So why do we need Android Things? It seems like one more thing to learn.
Well, Android Things will get timely, regular security updates for three years. With the Internet of Things seen as a wild-west of vulnerabilities, that's a big lure.
Apps will receive patched regularly on release, and even if the three years is up, devs will have the option for a paid extension.
If you don't pay, your users don't lose functionality, oh no siree - you just have to push them yourself - it's just the silent background stuff that gets deactivated.
The timing of the Android Things stable release this close to Google I/O suggests that the release was brought forward because of a leak, but nevertheless, we all have to look surprised when we get the demo later in the week. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
But the question is, do we need another IoT developer platform? Probably not, but Google is playing its ace in the hole with security and that is at the forefront of a lot of people's minds, after the likes of Heartbleed.
With IoT leading to anything up to 100 devices or more in every home, a bad actor device could screw up everything from the lightbulbs to the 30 quid tablet you got the kids. No one wants that. µ
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