Google is releasing the Android Things Developer Preview 4 today to push forward with the latest advancements in the Android Things platform, giving developers new changes and improvements to work with for their Internet of Things projects and/or products. The update almost seems right on schedule as Google released the third developer preview of Android Things back on April 6th, which was nearly a month and a half ago.
A number of things have been implemented with this update release and this includes some new features, as well as newly supported hardware and a number of bug fixes too. For starters, the Google Assistant SDK is now supported for any Android Things development board which is certified thanks to the inclusion of the drivers that were needed. This means that any devices built using the Android Things platform will be able to essentially incorporate Google Assistant, and that leaves the door open for plenty of possibilities in terms of new devices that are equipped with the digital assistant software. If you've already dug around in the Google Assistant SDK developer preview and the information regarding the AIY Projects then you may already have some idea about what incorporating Google Assistant into your Android Things development board will be like, but Google provides plenty of details in their sample over on Github for those that want it.
When it comes to the newly support hardware, a new Board Support Package is being added for the NXP i.MX7D System Module, which Google states allows for higher performance when compared to the i.MX6UL System Module. Even with the higher performance though Google says that the new Board Support Package still utilizes a low-power consumption build makeup so it shouldn't draw that much power, though it's likely that because of the higher performance it will still draw more power than the i.MX6UL build. Google is also releasing production samples so developers will be able to get an idea of what it looks like when hardware and software for the Android Things platform work together. The first of these samples is called the Edison Candle, though Google does plan to bring out more samples in the future.