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Smart Home Speakers

Google focuses Android Things to smart speakers and smart displays

Google's Internet of Things platform is shifting its priorities to just smart speakers and displays.

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The Google Home Hub.

Angela Lang/CNET

Google's Android Things is an operating system platform for developers to create low-powered Internet of Things (IoT) devices. When the developers preview launched in 2016, Android Things did not initially limit the types of products developers could build and maintain. That's now changing, however, with Google announcing Tuesday that the platform will now shift gears and focus primarily on smart speakers and smart displays.

Previously, Android Things supported devices that were based on four System on Modules (or SoMs). These boards, which included CPUs, flash storage, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities, were designed by NXP, MediaTek and Qualcomm, with the latter company providing two different SoM boards. These SoMs were certified for production by Google, facilitating the process for a company to create and manufacturer IoT devices for mass production.

Now, Google will no longer support these SoMs through its public developer platform and manufacturing partners can only build smart speakers or displays. By limiting its Things platform to just these two categories, Google is scaling down its scope and reach for other types of IoT products. However, many of the most visible products based on Android Things do fall in those two categories, including the Lenovo Smart Display 10 and the JBL Link View.

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