Google abandons Android Things project

  • December 22, 2020
  • Steve Rogerson

From early next year, the Google Android Things Console for non-commercial use will no longer allow creation of new projects using NXP i.MX7D and Raspberry Pi 3B.

Android Things is a stripped down version of the Android operating system designed for IoT use. According to a Google FAQ, Google is turning down the Android Things Console from January 5, 2021.

Developers can continue to use the Android Things console to build images and serve OTA updates for their existing projects for another year until January 5, 2022. At this point, the console will be turned down completely and all project data will be permanently deleted, including build configurations and factory images.

Google says the announcement has generated a lot of questions regarding existing projects and the future of the Android Things platform, such as what happens to existing projects built using the developer SoMs. Developers can continue to manage projects, upload custom apps, download factory images and deploy over-the-air updates for Raspberry Pi 3B and NXP i.MX7D using the console until January 5, 2022.

To access latest factory images and flash devices manually, users should follow the console instructions to download their factory images and use the hardware guides for the device to flash them. Access to these images will be unavailable after January 5, 2022.

Monthly security patches for developer SoMs ended in August 2019. Google says the Android Things Console may continue to receive bug fixes and performance improvements for a limited time going forward.

The Raspberry Pi 3B continues to be a popular target for existing and new projects. While Google says it understands there are new capabilities and additional benefits in the newer models, there are currently no plans to add support for these new boards.

Users also want to know if there is a commercialisation path for existing projects. Google says the commercial hardware SoMs from NXP, Qualcomm, and MediaTek are only available to specific OEM partners building smart speakers and smart displays. Projects based on Raspberry Pi 3B and NXP i.MX7D are limited to 100 devices for non-commercial use.