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Android Things

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Android Things is an embedded operating system made by Google for Android-based IoT devices.

Android Things spares resources and streamlines the OS for the company’s devices and other select Google-approved hardware kits. The OS offers an integrated update system in response to difficulties associated with individual manufacturers being responsible for updating their own phone OSs.

The IoT attack surface involves huge numbers of interconnected devices and all their connections. Security-conscious critics have expressed concerns about who will be responsible for updating the multitudes of low-cost IoT devices to protect a sea of vulnerable points. Google will provide free updates for Android-supporting IoT devices for three years through the OS’s update system. Costs will be covered by Google ads, where deliverable, and by tying into many paid cloud services Google plans to offer for IoT devices.

The OS supports low energy BlueTooth and Wi-Fi for connectivity. Because of its memory requirement of 32MB of RAM, which is substantially lower than memory requirements of standard Android at 512MB of RAM, Google’s IoT OS is still not for lower-end devices. Manufacturers of low-memory devices may have to look elsewhere or create their own options such as Huawei’s LiteOS which weighs in at a feather-weight 10KB.

Android Things is the commercial name for the project formerly codenamed Brillo.

This was last updated in June 2018

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