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Google refocusing Android Things to be all about smart speakers and displays

Google launched Android Things as a platform for all manners of IoT products. Now the company is changing direction.

Published onFebruary 12, 2019

Google announced Android Things at Google I/O 2017. In 2018, the internet-of-things platform finally rolled out in a stable form, allowing companies to create any kind of smart device they could imagine.

However, Google announced today that it is refocusing Android Things to be exclusively for the development of smart speakers and smart displays. This is a pretty significant change, as the supposed original intention of Android Things was to be much more open-ended.

In its blog post on the matter, Google mentions the success it’s seen with its partners in the smart speaker and smart display categories. We can infer this to be companies like Lenovo and JBL, both of which have made well-received smart displays powered by Google Assistant. Google makes it clear that products in those categories will continue to receive Android Things support.

Android Things 1.0 is now available for your IoT projects
Google Assistant Android

Google also makes it clear in the blog post that it will continue to support hobbyist experimentation with Android Things. This means  individuals who tinker with Android Things on hardware like a Raspberry Pi computer can continue to do so, assuming they do so with 100 devices or less for non-commercial purposes.

Now though, if companies want to create a commercial product using Android Things that isn’t a smart speaker or display, they will be out of luck. Google won’t be supporting those products any longer. Instead, Google suggests companies use Cloud IoT Core and/or Cloud IoT Edge for products in categories outside the new scope of Android Things.

It should be mentioned that if you currently own a product based on Android Things that isn’t a smart speaker or display, it will continue to work as normal. However, there won’t be more products like it coming soon based on the platform.

NEXT: Qualcomm backs Android Things with two new Home Hub platforms

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