Google wants Android Things to be the backbone of IoT

15 Dec 2016

Smart kitchen. Image: Serghei Starus/Shutterstock

Not content with being the biggest mobile operating system in the world, Google’s Android now aims to become the backbone of the internet of things with Android Things.

In every major announcement within the internet of things (IoT) field, there are the huge numbers of devices predicted to spread across the world, ranging as high as 50bn by 2020.

But to get them talking to one another – despite it being its entire point – is a challenge that really needs to be addressed, as Asavie’s Tom Maher recently told

With its eyes firmly set on making smart devices in the home compatible with one another, Google’s Android has revealed the new name for its IoT operating system (OS): Android Things.

According to The Verge, Android Things has been developed from the previous Android-based OS for smart devices called Brillo, revealed last year.

Since Brillo’s announcement, little has been seen or heard of the OS, at least from a public perspective, but Android Things is now a platform available for developers to tinker around with.

“Now any Android developer can quickly build a smart device using Android APIs and Google services, while staying highly secure with updates direct from Google,” Android developers said in a blog post.

Need for secure devices

Unlike the customer-orientated Android Gear or even Android itself, this OS will aim to form the unseen backbone of a multitude of different devices, ranging from temperature sensors to display controllers.

Android Things could be used in devices like smart home alarms, connected refrigerators or Google Home.

One area where a readily available IoT OS could be not only useful, but necessary, is in the large number of devices released on the market that are considerably vulnerable to events like the September Mirai botnet attack.

In November, a report into some of the most vulnerable devices on the market found that within the home and office, smart cameras were some of the most susceptible to falling for a botnet attack.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic