Android Things, as Google's Internet of Things development system for embedded devices, has been operating for a long time as a development platform for Google's smart terminal since its release in 2016. It is also one of the most important pillars of Google's layout in the whole Internet of Things. However, on February 12, Google (Dave Smith) posted a message on its developer blog to the effect that Android Things will serve as Google's OEM partner platform to better build smart speakers and smart display devices.
Obviously, in terms of the Internet of Things, Google's message gives two key messages:
First, Google (Android Things) should focus on smart speakers and smart displays.
Second, after launching the official version of Android Things 1.0, Google began to pay more attention to OEM partners and B-side commerce.
Android Things 1.0 Official Edition
Google's formal layout in the Internet of Things should be Google Brillo in 2015, and the subsequent Android Things is also considered the 2.0 version of Google Brillo. In terms of language, Android Things is suitable for Java; in terms of function, Android Things not only inherits Brillo's function, but also adds tools and services such as Android Studio, Android SDK, Google Play service, Google Cloud Platform and so on, so as to have the standard matching of the current mature Internet of Things system.
As far as embedded systems are concerned, Android systems are relatively mature, and have been applied to many smart devices before. Android Things is more like integrating and repositioning the applications of Android systems.
The main differences between Android Things and Android systems include hardware configuration, software updating, development architecture and interaction mode.
Hardware configuration.Android Things not only provides Java APIs, Google services, but also provides additional APIs through Things Support Library in the architecture, integrating hardware that is usually not available in mobile devices such as mobile phones.
Software updates.The Android Things framework is more closed (and therefore safer) for software updates, with software upgrades through Google itself rather than developers. Of course, Google also allows developers to monitor the process of updating wireless (OTA) software from Android Things Console.
Development architecture.Android Things provides a more unified development framework and interface.
Interaction mode.Android Things runs only one application at a time, compared to running multiple applications simultaneously on Android systems.
Intelligent speakers and smart displays become the main force of Google's IoT
As Google said in this message, it has already done something about smart speakers and smart displays, and perhaps more thanks to Google Assistant, its smart voice assistant. By the end of January 2019, the number of Google Assistant connection devices will grow to 1 billion.
Intelligent speakers and intelligent displays are undoubtedly intelligent products that have been initially verified in the current market. They have slightly improved product functions and user awareness. What's more, Google has its own proud Google Assistant, so it's not hard to understand why Google has succeeded in this area.
According to Lei Feng's previous report, at this year's CES exhibition, Manuel Bronstein, vice president of Google Assistant products, said that Google is building a Google AssistantA complete ecosystem similar to Android。
According to Foreign Media The Verge, Google's Internet of Things ambition seems to have changed from "interconnection of everything" to "consumer smart devices" and now to "smart speakers and smart displays".
Strengthen the Edge Layout
Google also emphasizes its Connection Platform (Cloud IoT Core) and will continue to strengthen its Cloud IoT Edge (Cloud IoT Edge) as opposed to closing down the Android Things operating system.
Cloud IoT Edge is composed of Edge Connect and Edge ML. It can run in Linux environment by using the ASIC chip Edge TPU, which is a dedicated hardware accelerator for Google.
According to the information released by Google, its main layout includes Edge Connect, Edge ML and Edge TPU. Among them, the main function of edge layout is to deploy machine learning model on the edge to achieve more accurate real-time prediction. Edge machine learning is based on TensorFlow Lite runtime. It uses machine learning models on CPU and hardware accelerators (e.g. Edge TPU and GPU) to run devices to provide faster prediction of key Internet of Things applications for general Internet of Things gateways.
Google's Reverse Growth
When does the interconnection take shape? There are different opinions in the industry. Smart home manufacturers have already begun to put forward the concept of house-wide intelligence, even landing applications, but the connection stability of some smart devices has not been solved; autopilot manufacturers have been road testing for many years, but still inevitably lead to traffic accidents. But the reverse growth of Google, can it bring some thinking?
Although it may also be that the problems of Google Android Things in the actual application process lead to its reverse growth, Lei Feng believes that, at least, for small and medium-sized enterprises, in the process of IoT commercial landing, it is a good choice to focus on small scenarios first for commercial landing and realize commercial liquidity, which can also play a certain role in driving the entire industry. But first, it is Google's choice to focus on smart speakers and smart displays that have opened the gap, more on OEM partners, and expand the commercial landing of the B-terminal.