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Google’s Android Things will power a new generation of smart home devices

by Brandon Russell | December 13, 2016December 13, 2016 10:00 am PST

Remember Brillo? The project, which Google said was “derived from Android,” was supposed to run the next generation of smart home devices. But since its announcement in 2015, Brillo is now just a distant memory alongside Google Reader.

That’s where Android Things comes in, a new version of Android designed for smart home products such as speakers, security cameras and more. According to Google, via The Verge, Android Things will make developing smart products easier than ever, as the OS uses “the same developer tools as standard Android.”

Although Android is in the name, Android Things is not something consumers will ever see; it doesn’t run alongside your Android phone the way Android Wear might. Instead, the OS is designed to be a brain that allows smart devices to perform complex tasks without relying on the cloud. “Think printers, locks, and ovens more than light bulbs and power outlets,” The Verge writes.

To that end, it’s not Android Things that will communicate with Android and iOS devices. That job is left to Weave, a system that was announced alongside Brillo back in 2015.


Google’s new smart home

It’s unclear how big of a difference Android Things will make in Google’s fight to be in your home. The search giant earlier this year released Google Home, a worthy competitor against Amazon’s Echo. But that’s about as far as Google’s smart home ambitions go beyond the Chromecast.

While Android Things sounds like it might reignite the company’s smart home push, it would have been cool to see Google allow third-party manufacturers to embed Google Assistant in new devices—perhaps something we’ll see down the road.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...