Category: Android Things

All the (Android) Things at Google I/O

Android Developers May 25, 2018 #io18, Android, Android Things, android things 1.0, I/O 2018

Melissa Daniels, Program Manager for Android Things

Android Things enables you to build and maintain IoT devices at scale. We recently released Android Things 1.0 with long-term support for production devices, so you can easily take an IoT device from prototype to commercial product.

We packed Google I/O this year with Android Things content to inspire and empower the developer community, from talks and codelabs to interactive demos and a scavenger hunt. Here’s a closer look at the fun stuff we had on display that you won’t see on the shelves of retail stores.

Demos

We introduced a handful of new interactive Android Things demos across I/O, showcasing the AI and ML capabilities of the platform, so if you didn’t get an opportunity to attend this year, here’s a few of our favorites– perfect for exploring from wherever you are in the world!

Smart Flowers: Flos Mobilis

What do you get when you combine machine learning, Android Things and robotics? Flos Mobilis, a continuum robot where each flower is backed by an i.MX7D development board and a camera to run an embedded neural net model that controls the motion of the flower. This is all done offline with no data stored or transmitted.

Smart Flowers: Flos Affectus

What if a robot could respond to the way you feel? Flos Affectus is a cluster of robotic flowers that “bloom” and “un-bloom” depending on the expression detected on the user’s face. The 4 broad expressions Flos Affectus is trained to detect are: happy, sad, angry, surprised. Using a camera embedded in the head of the alpha flower, the flower cluster is able to detect the user’s face and infer the facial emotion. The flower cluster runs offline with no data stored or transmitted and demonstrates movement capabilities and on-device machine learning models.

Rosie the Android

Initially designed by a team of Google engineers for the annual Grace Hopper conference, Rosie the Android is a 5 foot selfie-taking Android, complete with machine-learning capabilities. Inspired by Rosie the Riveter, she’s a fully controllable robot that can take photos, respond to commands, wheel around and interact with those around her.

Did you take a selfie with Rosie at I/O? Redeem your unique access code at g.co/rosie

Smart Projector

Smart Projector is built on Lantern, an Android Things project exploring the relationship between surfaces and content — augmenting real-world objects and environments with glanceable, meaningful data. It leverages the Google Experiments project known as Quick Draw, using the world’s largest doodling data set that has been shared publicly to help with machine learning research.

To learn more about Lantern or to start building your own, start here.

3D Printer

This modified Printrbot Smalls 3D Printer uses a real-time subsystem that showcases the flexibility of Android Things– a microcontroller does the low-latency motor control, while Android Things handles OpenGL rendering. By keeping most of the logic on a high-level platform like Android you make development and debugging much easier, thanks to Android’s great tooling.

The future of 3D printing? Making real-time control as easy and portable as the rest of Android Things.

Codelabs

Phew! That was just the tip of the demo iceberg. With so many demos and so many ways to use Android Things, it’s easy to start imagining all the things you can build! At I/O, we helped a lot of developers get started building their first Android Things device using the Android Things Starter Kit. We’re making these codelabs available, so you can get to them whenever you need, or build your own.

Videos

Missed the I/O talks? Catch the recordings of each Android Things talk, so you can start, pause, and rewind at your own leisure. Or, just lean back and watch them all.

What’s new in Android Things

Build effective OEM-level apps on Android Things

Build real consumer devices with Android Things

Electronic design for Android Things System on Modules

Women Techmakers panel: experiences developing on Android Things

Product design: how to build better products with Android Things

Device provisioning and authentication with Android Things

Update production devices in the field with the Android Things Console

Start building!

On top of all the resources we just mentioned, we have a corpus of information on our developer documentation, and our new community website where you can see more inspiring projects and even submit your own. So, what are you waiting for? Pick up an Android Things Starter Kit and start building something today!

Say Hello to Android Things 1.0

Android Developers May 7, 2018 #io18, Android Things, Google I/O

Posted by Dave Smith, Developer Advocate for IoT

Android Things is Google’s managed OS that enables you to build and maintain Internet of Things devices at scale. We provide a robust platform that does the heavy lifting with certified hardware, rich developer APIs, and secure managed software updates using Google’s back-end infrastructure, so you can focus on building your product.

After a developer preview with over 100,000 SDK downloads, we’re releasing Android Things 1.0 to developers today with long-term support for production devices. Developer feedback and engagement has been critical in our journey towards 1.0, and we are grateful to the over 10,000 developers who have provided us feedback through the issue tracker, at workshop events, and through our Google+ community.

Powerful production hardware

Today, we are announcing support for new System-on-Modules (SoMs) based on the NXP i.MX8M, Qualcomm SDA212, Qualcomm SDA624, and MediaTek MT8516 hardware platforms. These modules are certified for production use with guaranteed long-term support for three years, making it easier to bring prototypes to market. Development hardware and reference designs for these SoMs will be available in the coming months.



New SoMs from NXP, Qualcomm, and MediaTek

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and NXP i.MX7D devices will continue to be supported as developer hardware for you to prototype and test your product ideas. Support for the NXP i.MX6UL devices will not continue. See the updated supported platforms page for more details on the differences between production and prototype hardware.

Secure software updates

One of the core tenets of Android Things is powering devices that remain secure over time. Providing timely software updates over-the-air (OTA) is a fundamental part of that. Stability fixes and security patches are supported on production hardware platforms, and automatic updates are enabled for all devices by default. For each long-term support version, Google will offer free stability fixes and security patches for three years, with additional options for extended support. Even after the official support window ends, you will still be able to continue to push app updates to your devices. See the program policies for more details on software update support.

Use of the Android Things Console for software updates is limited to 100 active devices for non-commercial use. Developers who intend to ship a commercial product running Android Things must sign a distribution agreement with Google to remove the device limit. Review the updated terms in the Android Things SDK License Agreement and Console Terms of Service.

Hardware configuration

The Android Things Console includes a new interface to configure hardware peripherals, enabling build-time control of the Peripheral I/O connections available and device properties such as GPIO resistors and I2C bus speed. This feature will continue to be expanded in future releases to encompass more peripheral hardware configurations.

Production ready

Over the past several months, we’ve worked closely with partners to bring products built on Android Things to market. These include Smart Speakers from LG and iHome and Smart Displays from Lenovo, LG, and JBL, which showcase powerful capabilities like Google Assistant and Google Cast. These products are hitting shelves between now and the end of summer.

Startups and agencies are also using Android Things to prototype innovative ideas for a diverse set of use-cases. Here are some examples we are really excited about:

  • Byteflies: Docking station that securely transmits wearable health data to the cloud
  • Mirego: Network of large photo displays driven by public photo booths in downtown Montreal

If you’re building a new product powered by Android Things, we want to work with you too! We are introducing a special limited program to partner with the Android Things team for technical guidance and support building your product. Space is limited and we can’t accept everyone. If your company is interested in learning more, please let us know here.

Additional resources

Take a look at the full release notes for Android Things 1.0, and head over to the Android Things Console to begin validating your devices for production with the 1.0 system image. Visit the developer site to learn more about the platform and explore androidthings.withgoogle.com to get started with kits, sample code, and community projects. Finally, join Google’s IoT Developers Community on Google+ to let us know what you’re building with Android Things!

Android Things Release Candidate

Android Developers April 16, 2018 Android, Android Things, App, IoT

Posted by Dave Smith, Developer Advocate for IoT

Earlier this year at CES, we showcased consumer products powered by Android Things from partners like Lenovo, LG, JBL, iHome, and Sony. We are excited to see Android Things enable the wider developer ecosystem as well. Today we are announcing the final preview release of Android Things, Developer Preview 8, before the upcoming stable release.

Feature complete SDK

Developer Preview 8 represents the final API surface exposed in the Android Things support library for the upcoming stable release. There will be no more breaking API changes before the stable v1.0 release of the SDK. For details on all the API changes included in DP8, see the release notes. Refer to the updated SDK reference to review the classes and methods in the final SDK.

This release also brings new features in the Android Things developer console to make building and managing production devices easier. Here are some notable updates:

Production-focused console enhancements

With an eye towards building and shipping production devices with the upcoming LTS release, we have made several updates to the Android Things developer console:

  • Enhanced OTA: Unpublish the current OTA build when issues are discovered in the field.
  • Visual storage layout: Configure the device storage allocated to apps and data for each build, and get an overview of how much storage your apps require.
  • Font/locale controls: Configure the set of supported fonts and locales packaged into each build.
  • Group sharing: Product sharing has been extended to include support for Google Groups.

App library

The new app library enables you to manage APKs more easily without the need to package them together in a separate zipped bundle. Track individual versions, review permissions, and share your apps with other console users. See the app library documentation for more details.

Permissions

On mobile devices, apps request permissions at runtime and the end user grants them. In earlier previews, Android Things granted these same permissions automatically to apps on device boot. Beginning in DP8, these permissions are granted using a new interface in the developer console, giving developers more control of the permissions used by the apps on their device.

This change does not affect development, as Android Studio grants all permissions by default. Developers using the command line can append the -g flag to the adb install command to get the same behavior. To test how apps on your device behave with certain permissions revoked, use the pm command:

$ adb shell pm [grant|revoke] <permission-name> ...

App launch behavior

Embedded devices need to launch their primary application automatically after the device boots, and relaunch it if the app terminates unexpectedly. In earlier previews, the main app on the device could listen for a custom IOT_LAUNCHER intent to enable this behavior. Beginning in DP8, this category is replaced by the standard CATEGORY_HOME intent.

<activity android:name=".HomeActivity">
    ...

    <!-- Launch activity automatically on boot, relaunch on termination. -->
    <intent-filter>
        <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN"/>
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.HOME"/>
        <category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT"/>
    </intent-filter>
</activity>

Apps that contain an IOT_LAUNCHER intent filter will no longer be triggered on boot. Update your apps to use CATEGORY_HOME instead.

Feedback

Thanks to all of you in the developer community for sharing your feedback with us throughout developer preview. Join Google’s IoT Developers Community on Google+ to let us know what you’re building with Android Things and how we can improve the platform in future releases to help you build connected devices at scale!

Android Things Developer Preview 6

Android Developers November 30, 2017 Android, Android Things, Developer Preview, things

Posted by Wayne Piekarski,
Developer Advocate for IoT

The next release of Android Things Developer Preview 6 (DP6) is here with lots
of new features and bug fixes. Android Things is Google’s platform that enables
Android Developers to create Internet of Things (IoT) devices with support for
powerful applications such as video and audio processing and on-board machine
learning with TensorFlow. For the specifics on what is new, visit the release
notes
. Here are a few of the highlights of what is in DP6.

IoT launcher

DP6 includes a new IoT launcher that allows the user to see the current state of
the device and change settings using a touch screen or USB input devices.
Settings such as configuring the WiFi, finding the build ID, and checking for
updates is now something that can be done interactively, making it even easier
to get started. This launcher is visible when no other developer-provided IOT_LAUNCHER
Activity is present.

Graphics acceleration defaults

Android Things uses the open-source SwiftShader library, a
CPU-based implementation of the OpenGL ES APIs. This enables common OpenGL
support across all platforms, even those with no GPU hardware. However, many
simple 2D UIs render faster if the drawing is done directly to the framebuffer
and OpenGL emulation is not used. In DP6, OpenGL rendering is disabled by
default to ensure that most apps run with the fastest UI possible. If you need
OpenGL support for 3D rendering, WebView, or TextureView, then explicitly enable
it in your AndroidManifest.xml according to the documentation:

<activity

    ...
    android:hardwareAccelerated="true">

API 27 and Google Play Services

DP6 is now based on the latest Android 8.1 developer preview, with API level 27.
Most of the standard Android samples now work on DP6. For example, the Camera2Basic
sample using the Camera2 API and TextureView now works on both NXP and Raspberry
Pi based devices (with the hardwareAccelerated flag set to true). Google Play
Services has been updated to support SDK version 11.6, supporting all the latest
features
.

Command-line flashing tool

We heard from developers that flashing and configuring a board using fastboot
can be tedious, so the Android Things
Console
now brings a new and simpler way of flashing device images. Instead
of using fastboot and adb commands manually, a new interactive command-line
android-things-setup-utility
is now provided. This tool makes it much easier to get started with Android
Things, and automates the download and flashing process.

Android Things Console updates

DP6 introduces the new partition scheme that will be used for the upcoming
production release. Due to the new partition layout, the over-the-air update
(OTA) system cannot update existing DP5.1 or earlier devices. Developers will
need to go to the Android
Things Console
, and download and flash a new DP6 build. The Console UI has
also been changed for DP6 features, and will only allow you to create new builds
based on DP6. If you have any older existing builds, they are still available
for download but will not support OTA updates. Developers are encouraged to move
all work to DP6.

GPIO pin naming

The interactive IoT launcher shown at boot now includes an I/O pinout section
where you can discover the labels of all the pins. The pin naming used by the
i.MX7 has been changed, and you should update your code to use this new naming
convention. See the i.MX7
documentation
for the complete list of pin names.

Settings and Device Update APIs

New APIs have been added to Android Things that control the configuration
of the local device and device updates. UpdateManager
gives developers control over when updates and reboots can be performed,
ensuring the device is available for the user when needed. DeviceManager
controls factory reset, reboot, and device locales. APIs are also provided for
settings such as ScreenManager
to control the screen, and TimeManager
to control the clock and time zone.

Peripheral command-line tool

We now provide a command-line tool pio
that gives developers access to the Peripheral API via the adb shell. Developers
can interactively test GPIO, PWM, UART, I2C, SPI, and future interfaces from an
adb shell, which is useful for debugging and automated testing.

Feedback

DP6 includes significant changes and improvements to the platform. Please send
us your feedback by filing bug
reports
and feature
requests
, as well as asking any questions on Stack
Overflow
. To start using DP6, use the Android Things Console to
download system images and flash existing devices, or use the android-things-setup-utility.
More information about the changes are available in the release
notes
. You can also join Google’s IoT
Developers Community
on Google+, a great resource to get updates and discuss
ideas. Also, we have our new hackster.io
community
, where everyone can share the amazing projects they have built. We
look forward to seeing what you build with Android Things!

Android Things Hackster Contest

Android Developers September 15, 2017 Android Things, hackster

Posted by Dave Smith,
Developer Advocate for IoT

Android Things
lets you build professional, mass-market products on a trusted platform, without
previous knowledge of embedded system design. With Android Things you get a
turnkey hardware solution and an easy-to-use software development platform based
on Android Studio and the Android SDK — making it easy to build designs that
scale to production. Android Things is currently in developer preview and we’d
love to see what you can build with our
latest release
.

Today we are announcing a contest with Hackster and NXP for developers to
showcase their use of Android Things with other Google developer platforms.
Project ideas should be added to Google’s Hackster.io Community by
including Android Things
as a software component, then registered through the contest page.

Idea Submissions

Submit your project ideas starting today. Ideas submitted by September 29, 2017
are eligible to receive one of 120 Pico Pi i.MX6UL Kits to use in the final design. During this phase, projects do
not need to be complete; we just want to see your amazing ideas! We are looking
for concepts in the following categories:

  • Smart Home
  • Robotics
  • Smart City
  • Industrial IoT / Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Entertainment

Project Submissions

Final projects must be submitted by Oct 31, 2017. Your project does not need to
be one of the chosen recipients of a Pico kit to be eligible for the grand
prize. Winners will receive support from Avnet, Dragon Innovation and
Kickstarter to take their ideas from prototype to production. See the contest page for more
details.

We are eager to see the projects that you come up with. More importantly, we’re
excited to see how your work can inspire other developers to create something
great with Android Things. To learn more about the benefits of Android Things,
watch the recording from the Bootstrapping IoT Products with Android
Things
webinar. You can also join Google’s IoT
Developers Community
on Google+, a great resource to get updates, ask
questions, and discuss ideas.

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