Google has today made available the third developer preview of Android Things. This latest developer preview comes with the usual bug fixes, but also brings with its full support for Android Bluetooth APIs, allowing developers of Android Things devices to make use of Bluetooth classic and low energy (LE) in a similar way to how Android smartphones make use of the features. In addition, the third developer preview also comes with USB Host support which will in turn allow developers to enable Android Things devices to operate in a USB Host mode with custom USB devices. This is in addition to the support for the NXP Argon i.MX6UL development platform that is also now included.
For those unfamiliar with Android Things, this is what was formerly known as Brillo and is essentially, a ‘lite’ version of Android which can be used on devices that require less-demanding hardware. IoT is the prime example of such a device industry and in a basic sense, this is Android for the IoT market. With both the market and the platform still in its infancy, the Android Things platform is only available as part of a developer program and with this being the third developer preview release, a pattern of release is now starting to emerge. Google has made it clear (even in today’s announcement) that it is committed “to provide regular updates to developers” and it is now looking like every two months a developer preview is coming through. The first developer preview arrived in December 2016, followed by the second developer preview in February 2017, and now this latest one, in April 2017. So barring of any sudden speeding up of the release cycle, developers should probably expect the developer preview 4 to arrive in June. Although, before then is Google’s I/O 2017 event and it seems highlight likely that Android Things will be one of the aspects on the event's agenda.
In the meantime though, those who do want to get more involved with Android Things can download the latest developer preview 3 by heading through the link below. The build number for this preview version is NIG86E and the Play Services version included is version 10.0.0.