Last month, Google announced the final preview release of Android Things, Developer Preview 8, before the upcoming stable release. Earlier this year, Google also showcased the capabilities of Android Things for creating exciting IoT products like smart displays, speakers, and 3D printers at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) with partners like partners like Lenovo, LG, JBL, iHome, and Sony.
This developer preview solidifies the chances of Android Things becoming the official IoT platform for Google. This review focuses on the improvements related to installations of the apps and managing permissions on the platform. There will be no breaking changes to the Android Things API before the stable v1.0 SDK, which is expected to be released at Google I/O this month.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable features in this new release:
Production-focused console enhancements
There have been several changes made to the Android Things developer console with a focus on building and shipping production ready devices:
- Visual storage layout: This feature helps in configuring the device storage allocated to apps and data for each build, and helps in getting an overview of how much storage your apps require.
- Font/locale controls: These controls are a set of supported fonts and locales packaged into each build.
- Group sharing: Product sharing has been extended to include support for Google Groups.
This is a new feature added to the Android Things ecosystem, which allows developers to manage APKs more easily without the need to package them together in a separate zipped bundle. It helps you to track individual versions of your app, review permissions, and share your app with other console users. Take a look at the official documentation for more details on App Library.
This feature is quite useful to developers as it gives them more control over the permissions used by apps on their devices. When working with mobile devices, apps request permissions at runtime and the end users grant them. The early releases of Android Things used to grant these permissions automatically while booting the device. But with Developer preview 8, these permissions will be granted with the help of a new user interface in the developer console.
These are just a select few of the myriad of updates available within the developer preview of Android Things. To read the entire list of changes please check out the release notes.