Android Things

Definition of Android Things

Android Things is a discontinued Internet of Things (IoT) platform developed by Google. Built on the Android framework, it was designed to help developers build smart devices with simplified management and enhanced security. Android Things aimed to facilitate the development and work with familiar tools, ensure a secure and consistent experience, and maintain timely updates.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Android Things” in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) would be: /ˈæn.drɔɪd ˈθɪŋz/

Key Takeaways

  1. Android Things is an IoT platform that allows developers to build connected devices using Android APIs and Google services.
  2. This platform provides a familiar development environment, easy integration with various hardware and platforms, and strong security infrastructure to protect your devices.
  3. Android Things simplifies IoT development, helping developers to create smart and connected devices faster while incorporating features such as seamless and automatic updates.

Importance of Android Things

Android Things is important because it is a comprehensive operating system and platform designed specifically for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, allowing developers and manufacturers to build connected, smart devices more efficiently.

Developed by Google, Android Things provides developers with the familiarity of the Android ecosystem while offering dedicated support for a wide range of IoT hardware.

As a result, Android Things accelerates the development, deployment, and management of IoT solutions, enabling the creation of innovative products and applications across various industries.

Its significance in today’s era lies in promoting the seamless integration of technology into our daily lives, fostering the growth of the IoT market, and driving advancements in domains such as automation, wearables, and smart homes.


Android Things is a purpose-driven platform designed to empower developers and companies to build and manage Internet of Things (IoT) devices with ease. The primary goal of this innovative platform is to leverage the ubiquity of Android to transform a wide variety of smart devices into a well-orchestrated ecosystem.

Android Things simplifies the process of designing, coding, and connecting devices, allowing businesses to create cost-effective, efficient, and scalable IoT solutions. With the benefit of Google APIs and services, these connected devices can communicate more effectively with each other as well as other Android devices, providing seamless integration and enhanced operational functionality.

To facilitate this, Android Things takes advantage of Google’s extensive repository of knowledge in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and cloud services. By incorporating these cutting-edge technologies, developers can create smarter and more autonomous IoT devices capable of analyzing complex data and giving users a more intuitive experience.

From everyday appliances such as smart thermostats and security systems to more specialized applications such as industrial automation, Android Things enables a wide array of possibilities and supports the ongoing expansion of IoT, opening the door to a future where technology serves to enrich human lives, improve efficiency across industries, and ultimately bring about a more connected world.

Examples of Android Things

Android Things was rebranded as “Google IoT Core” in 2019, but during its time, Android Things was Google’s IoT platform for building connected devices using the Android OS. Here are three real-world examples of products that utilized Android Things:

Smart Home Controls: Android Things was used in creating smart home systems, allowing users to control lighting, heating, and security from their smartphones or tablets. For instance, the Hive Connected Home system from British Gas used Android Things to develop a unified app and platform for managing smart thermostats, plugs, and sensors.

Digital Signage: Android Things was used to develop dynamic, connected digital signage solutions. One example of this is the iBASE SI-626, a digital signage player that used Android Things to deliver rich content and targeted advertising to customers in retail or public environments, like shopping malls and train stations.

Robotics: Android Things was utilized in the development of robots and robotic systems. Petoi Bittle, an affordable palm-sized robot dog, was designed using Android Things to provide open-source robotics exploration and education for enthusiasts, allowing developers to access tools and resources to create their own robotic projects.

Android Things FAQ

1. What is Android Things?

Android Things is an Android-based operating system designed specifically for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It provides a platform to build and maintain smart devices, making it easy for developers to create IoT applications using familiar Android APIs and Google services.

2. How does Android Things differ from regular Android?

While Android Things shares the same core framework as the regular Android operating system, it’s optimized for embedded devices and does not include all the apps and services found on typical Android devices. Android Things focuses on seamless connectivity, easy device management, and security, making it suitable for IoT products in industries such as retail, health care, manufacturing, and transportation.

3. What development tools are required for Android Things?

You can develop for Android Things using the same tools you’d typically use for Android development, such as Android Studio, the official Android IDE, and Android Debug Bridge (ADB). The Android Things SDK is also available, which includes additional APIs for managing IoT hardware and software components.

4. Is there a specific hardware platform for Android Things?

Android Things supports a number of System-on-Module (SoM) hardware platforms, which provide essential IoT functionality, including WiFi, Bluetooth, and Android Things-compatible peripherals. Popular SoMs for Android Things include the NXP Pico i.MX7D, the NXP Pico i.MX6UL, and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Developers can also create custom hardware for their IoT applications using the Android Things Hardware Design Guide.

5. How does Android Things ensure security?

Security is a primary focus of Android Things. It follows the same security standards as regular Android, such as sandboxing for apps and verified boot. Additionally, Android Things provides automatic updates for devices, ensuring that the latest security patches and features are always available. This helps protect IoT devices from vulnerabilities and keep them up to date with minimal effort from developers and device managers.

6. What is the pricing for Android Things?

Android Things is free to use for developers, with no licensing or royalty fees. However, costs may be associated with using particular hardware platforms or cloud services to support your IoT project. It is recommended to research pricing for specific hardware and service providers to understand the overall cost of using Android Things in your IoT solution.

7. How can I start developing for Android Things?

To get started with Android Things, visit the official Android Things Developer site for documentation, guides, and sample projects. You will also need to download the Android Things SDK for your chosen hardware platform. Additionally, you can find support and share your projects with the Android Things community through forums and other online resources.

Related Technology Terms

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Embedded Systems
  • Android Platform
  • Smart Devices
  • Google Developer Tools

Sources for More Information


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