Android things are dying. Wait, that’s not news, with more than a billion devices on the market, at least a few of them are going to—what’s that? Oh, excuse me, I read my notes wrong. Android Things, a Google-developed operating system for smarthome gadgets and other IOT devices, is dying. Sorry for the confusion.
Android Things sprang to life in 2016, announced as a way for both device makers and app developers to easily translate their Android infrastructure into smarthome tech. And while a few devices launched, notably the original version of the Lenovo Smart Display, Google almost immediately undermined its own operating system by using a modified version of Chromecast software on the far more popular Google Home Hub.
After trying to tighten the wide IOT focus of Android Things into just smart speakers and smart screens, Google has now announced that its Android Things Developer console won’t be accepting new non-commercial projects as of January 5th, 2021. One year after that, it will shut down the services for over-the-air updates, though it says that this is also for “non-commercial use.” Presumably those few companies that released products based on Android Things will continue to have the option to support them.
You could take this as another occupant of the Google Graveyard, or you could simply chock it up to the smarthome market moving so fast and so widely that Google needed a different strategy almost immediately. Because it’s become one of the leading vendors with its Google Home/Assistant platform, it probably made the right call … but that’s small comfort if you really like your Lenovo Smart Display.