Android is the Preferred Operating System in IoT
Android is a Major, Driving Force in the IoT Industry
By Srirama Sai Kiran Palavancha
IoT is defined as the interconnectedness of different smart devices over the internet. Recent years have seen a major uptake in IoT developments. With features like sensors and internet connectivity, these devices are capable of receiving, gathering, and transmitting information. With increasing popularity in the marketplace, IoT continues to see many developments – and it seems Android is the MVP within the industry. To keep up with demand, developers work towards increased connectivity of electronic devices in homes and offices. Convenience reigns supreme, as the power to easily control your refrigerator, treadmill, smart TV or thermostat from your smartphone is a hot commodity.
Yet, IoT exists as a result of the availability of a central platform on which these devices can operate. Enter: Android. But, why has Android become the major driving force behind IoT? According to IoT market trends, most smart devices run on Google’s operating system, Android. Most people are familiar with smartphones, and subsequently familiar with the Android operating system. It is currently the world’s leading mobile device operating system edging out iOS. As of 2013, Android smart phones had outsold Apple’s iPhones 4 to 1.
Smartphones were only the beginning. The expanding demand for interconnected devices and Android is leading the charge as tech companies battle for the top. As such, the world of IoT is seemingly being curated specifically for Android. Outlined below are three reasons why Android is at the forefront of IoT:
- Android is a universal front end from which developers can work
Android has risen quickly as a software platform mostly because Google (the company behind it) chose to give it away to developers and device makers. The Linux-based software is open source, therefore allowing just about anyone to use its source code and therefore customize it for use in just about any gadget they can imagine. The number of devices that rely on Android as an operating system today are numerous. With such a large number of devices run on Android it is easy to see how Android acts as a front end for IoT. It is easy and cheap to develop devices for IoT making them even more affordable for consumers.
- Apps drive IoT
A gadget is just a gadget. However, with the right app to and software to help it run and perform different tasks, it becomes much more. Apps are what make it possible to use IoT devices. Android is currently the world’s largest app platform. As of December 2016, Google Playstore was reported to host more than 2.6 million apps. It is not surprising that Android drives the IoT movement.
- IoT is being built on Java
Many IoT devices are being built on Java. It therefore makes sense that Android is driving the IOT market. Android allows for Java to be applied in a way that makes sense as opposed to the use of embedded JAVA which requires dedicated devices.
To understand the application of Android in IoT, we must understand the IoT ecosystem and Android’s role in it. The following facets represent the composition of the Android IoT Ecosystem
→ The sensor
Sensors detect physical properties such as temperature and generate digital signals. Many hardware vendors rely on specific domains such as Linux, Android and Windows. The popularity and availability of Android makes it an easy winner in this area. The fact that Android is open source and can be tweaked for use in any device makes it a popular choice for device makers.
→ Data Transfer
There must be a component that supports the transfer of data from the sensor. The two simplest options available for this are MQTT and XMPP. Android supports both of these open source implementations. The libraries can be used on Windows, Linux and Android.
There must a device or processor with an operating system that supports the components of the IoT ecosystem. This ought to be a small and portable device that doesn’t consume too much power but can provide continuous connectivity. In many cases, inexpensive Android devices are chosen for this. Android devices meet the requirements to support a wide variety of sensors. There are also various tutorials available to assist developers.
There must be a program that receives the data and stores it. This could take the form a standard Linux Server. This server receives the data, decodes it and processes it. The data can be used for subsequent analysis. There is no doubt that Android is the major driving force behind IoT devices.