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Google, unsatisfied with keeping things alive, is killing Android Things

RIP Android Things. We barely knew you.

Published onDecember 18, 2020

  • Google announced it’s shutting down Android Things, its lightweight OS for smart displays and speakers.
  • The company will start the process of sunsetting the platform on January 5, 2021.
  • It will then completely shut it down on January 5, 2022.

Add Android Things to the long list of Google projects that never went anywhere. This week, the company quietly announced in a FAQ for developers it will start the process of sunsetting the platform early next year.

Android Things, if you need a refresher, is a lightweight version of Android Google designed to run on smart home devices. The project got its start in 2015 as Brillo, with a focus on internet of things devices. In 2016, Google rebranded the initiative to Android Things. Then, after a few product releases, not much happened until last year when Google announced it was refocusing the project to cater to smart displays and speakers.

Related: What is Android Things?

As for how things go from here, the company will stop accepting new non-commercial projects through the Android Things console, which allows developers to roll out over-the-air updates to their devices, in a few short weeks on January 5, 2021. Then, one year later on January 5, 2022, the company will shut down the platform and permanently delete all projects and their associated data. As The Verge points out, that means developers have a year to wind down anything they’re working on related to Android Things.

It’s an ignoble end to Android Things, but then it never seemed like Google was ever deeply invested in the idea either. The company never released a device that ran on Android Things, instead preferring to build off its Google Cast platform. Goodnight, Android Things. We barely knew you.

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