Android Things Dev Preview 7 Debuts Better Camera Support

Google released the seventh developer preview of Android Things on Tuesday, just over three months after last revising its embedded operating system which was announced in mid-2015 as Project Brillo before being rebranded a year and a half later. The latest experimental build of the platform debuts improved camera support, pushing the boundaries of what Android Things can work with in terms of recording resolutions and effectively allowing Internet of Things apps to leverage the full capabilities of any camera hardware they're controlling should they be programmed to do so. MIDI support is now also part of the package and comes in the form of a new MidiManager API that can be used for interfacing with physical MIDI controllers or creating virtual MIDI devices from scratch. Both of the new additions are a direct result of developer feedback, Google said, pointing to external comments as the primary reason why the new preview build also streamlines the process of naming APIs and offers better testability for Android Things apps through various tweaks.

The main focus of the new Android Things version was still placed on a range of device updates and console improvements, with Google working to facilitate product sharing by introducing multi-account support for device management and releasing new tools for easily managing multiple software variants designed for the same hardware. The latter addition is likely to facilitate the process of developing and maintaining numerous region-specific IoT devices. Basic product analytics are now also part of the package, as is support for beta channels meant to enable easier software testing on select devices.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant still hasn't provided a specific timeframe for when the Android Things platform is meant to exit its experimental phase of development, though it may share more details on the matter come its next I/O developer conference scheduled to take place in May. Android Things primarily targets low-power IoT products such as sensors and anything that can feasibly be fueled by a single-board computer such as the Raspberry Pi. The platform will be natively compatible with the main version of Android and the upcoming Android P OS is already expected to offer deeper Android Things integration.

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