Remember Android Things? Google’s platform to help power the Internet of Things (IoT) using familiar Android SDKs, APIs, and services launched all the way back at the end of 2016. If not don’t worry, the platform looks to be getting a shot in the arm, with support and some new products from a major partner.
Qualcomm is backing Google’s developer initiative with two new Home Hub platforms. The two products are based on the company’s SDA624 and SDA212 SoCs. The SoCs leverage some of the building blocks we’re familiar with from mobile but are heavily optimized to suit IoT uses. Both hubs are designed to help developers to more easily integrate Google Assistant and other Google cloud-based services into their smart home products.
The SDA212 is designed to power smart home devices and appliances which don’t require as much processing grunt work, like smart refrigerators, ovens, and washing machines, which may want to include compatibility with smart assistants via voice. The SDA624 model is the higher-end option, packing in sufficient performance for multimedia-equipped devices, such as those with cameras or a touchscreen for users to interact with. Both of them incorporate echo-cancellation, noise suppression, and “barge-in” capability so Google Assistant can even pick up voices in noisy parts of the home.
The two Home Hub platforms are also paired up with Qualcomm’s own QCA9379 wireless chipset. This offers WiFi 802.11ac 2×2 MU-MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB eMMC flash, and the company’s WCD9326 audio codec are all onboard too. A variant of the SDA624 model also supports Google Cast for video streaming, Maps for traffic updates, and Google Duo for video calls.
Qualcomm's Home Hub platforms are designed to bring Google Assistant to more everyday household products.
Android Things is all about enabling developers to prototype efficiently and bring products to market quickly. In this vein, Qualcomm is working with distributors to design and make available certified systems on a module (SoMs), reference designs, and development boards for both new Home Hub platforms. The two are fully compatible with Google’s Android Things software, along with custom Android Package Kits to help build differentiated products and experiences.
Qualcomm will be demoing products based on its Home Hub platforms at CES 2018, and developers should be able to get their hands on the boards and reference designs sometime later in Q1 2018.