30 December 2020
Google Android Things, the stripped-down version of Android-based OS meant for the Internet of Things will shut down early next year. Google has updated the Developers blog FAQ page to inform that it is turning down the Android Things Console for non-commercial use. It will be only available to specific OEM partners building smart speakers and smart displays. The names of these OEMs include SoMs from NXP, Qualcomm, and MediaTek.
Note that back in February 2019, Google announced it would re-focus on Android Things to help OEMs build smart speakers and smart displays. At the time, the company said it will continue to support hobbyist experimentation with the OS. But, now it appears, the company has some other plans at has officially said it will end all non-commercial use of the Android Things platform.
Beginning January 5, 2021, the console will no longer allow the creation of new projects using NXP i.MX7D and Raspberry Pi 3B.
This means the Android Things Dashboard, which is used for managing projects will stop accepting any new devices or projects on January 5, 2021. Developers will be able to continue updating existing deployments until January 5, 2022. The console will then be turned down completely and all “project data will permanently delete – including build configurations and factory images.”
Android Things was announced at Google I/O 2015. It was introduced for the low-power and memory-constrained IoT devices. The OS was designed to run on devices with as low as 32-64MB RAM like sensors.
Google allowed OEM to develop products like smart speakers, smart displays. But unlike regular phone’s Android OS, Android Things wasn’t made available for any customizations by third parties. Google also adopted an approach that only it could distribute the updates to all Android Thing devices for three years.
The first consumer product with Android Things was Lenovo Smart Display that leveraged Android APIs and Google Services as well.