Android Things lets you build professional, mass-market products on a trusted platform, without previous knowledge of embedded system design. It reduces the large, upfront development costs and the risks inherent in getting your idea off the ground. When you're ready to ship large quantities of devices, your costs also scale linearly and ongoing engineering and testing costs are minimized with Google-provided updates.
Currently, with the features of Android Things you can:
Develop using the Android SDK and Android Studio
Build a product that does not require power management (for example, low-power state when inactive)
Build a product that is connected to the Internet via WiFi or Ethernet
Use certified production hardware
Attach SoM-compatible displays, cameras, and audio interfaces and access them through the
Android framework (see production hardware)
Integrate additional peripherals through the Peripheral I/O APIs (GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART, PWM)
Use the Android Things Console to push over-the-air feature and security updates
Android Things provides a turnkey hardware platform to build on top of. Our certified development boards based on System on Module (SoM) architecture give you the following benefits to get you started quickly:
- Integrated Parts - SoMs integrate the SoC (System-on-chip), RAM, flash storage, WiFi, Bluetooth and other components onto a single board and come with all of the necessary FCC certifications. When you want to mass produce your device, you can optimize your board design by flattening existing modules onto a PCB to save costs and space.
- A Google BSP - The Board Support Package (BSP) is managed by Google, so that means you don't have to do kernel or firmware development. This gives you a trusted platform to develop on with standard updates and fixes from Google.
- Differentiated hardware - Our partners provide development boards with different SoMs and form factors to suit your needs, giving you choice and flexibility. And when you're ready, take your prototypes to products by customizing them to fit a specific form-factor, all while running the same software.
Android Things extends the core Android framework with additional APIs provided by the Things Support Library, which lets you integrate with new types of hardware not found on mobile devices.
Developing apps for embedded devices is different from mobile in a few important ways such as:
- More flexible access to hardware peripherals and drivers than mobile devices
- System apps are not present to optimize startup and storage requirements
- Apps are launched automatically on startup to immerse your users in the app experience.
- Devices expose only one app to users, instead of multiple like with mobile devices.
See the Features and API page for more information on this library.
See the Platform differences page for more information on the similarities and differences between Android Things and the Android framework.
When you're ready to start building prototypes and devices, the Android Things Console provides tools to install and update the system image on supported hardware devices. This allows you to push updates to users in the field as well as test deployments on your own hardware. Using the console, you can:
- Download and install the latest Android Things system image
- Build factory images that contain OEM applications along with the system image
- Push over-the-air (OTA) updates, including OEM applications and the system image, to devices
See the Android Things Console documentation for more information on all of its features.
When developing for Android Things, you'll use Android Studio and many of the same tools as mobile development. If you're not already familiar with Android and hardware development, our tutorials and guides will get you up and running quickly.
Get a developer kit
To start, all you need is a developer kit and the required peripherals for the device that you want to build. See Get started with kits for more information.
Once you've gotten a developer kit and have ran your first sample, learn about how to turn your ideas into reality in Prototype devices, which goes over common hardware concepts and how to take an early proof-of-concept to a working prototype.
In addition, see the following resources for in-depth documentation and code samples: