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News  Industry
Android Things 1.0

Things are now stable

After eight developer preview releases, Android Things jumps directly from 0.8 to 1.0 bringing 4 new production target SoM (System on module) boards, enhanced security, fleet device management and a guaranteed automatic 3 year platform update provided by Google themselves.

This is another step on the road to global computing dominance at the point the user interacts with the device. They already own mobile, and it looks like the same strategy of giving away the hard stuff needed to get IoT projects up and running for free, is playing out nicely. They are doing the same with AI and TensorFlow, and although that runs on Android Things, it's for another discussion.

Many people were aware the dev previews of Android Things ran on the Raspberry Pi. With the release on 1.0, however, there's a clear distinction between dev boards and production ones, and unfortunately none of the Pi's made it through the stringent security/performance/compatibility requirements. The advice is to keep them for prototyping, but not for real world devices.

News  Industry
ZTE US Android ban

Trade War

Things turned sour very quickly following US President Donald Trumps sanctions on Chinese goods and services.

The impact on the mobile industry could be far reaching, since Android is enjoying a 78% global market share on handsets. Fearing losing economic power to China, the Trump administration said the measures were a response to a 7-month investigation into Chinese "unfair practices", including spying, hacking and what amounted to the extortion of US companies in order to gain access to the Chinese market.

Concern over an imminent trade war sent the Dow jones 700 points down on the news.

Many Chinese handsets use their own variation of the "pure" AOSP Android source tree without any Google services, such as Google Play and Maps. However, these are rarely seen outside China where a handset lacking such support is a difficult sell.

News  Platforms
Android P dev preview

It's time for P

So the Android P dev preview is here, and I've had a little play to see what's new. I did this bearing in mind, as usual, these are aimed at brave developers only, who most definitely are not scared of the odd bug or two they might encounter. They also must happen to have a spare Pixel handset lying around if they want it on hardware, with the rest of us having to make do with the emulator ;-) In the end I didn't encounter anything serious, and in fact found it pretty stable and usable.

Google are calling this an alpha build, and the roadmap is expected to deliver the final release "Q318". They publish a list of known issues and make it easy for developers to file P related bugs.

To get the Android P preview on your Pixel, follow the installation guide. The emulator is much easier - just fire up a current Android Studio, create a new emulator and at the "Platform" prompt you should see "Android P" appear as an option now that Google have made it available on their servers.

News  Platforms
Android P

Release date rumors

As usual, Google will release a developer preview of the next version of Android well ahead of the final version in order to let developers get their apps ready for it from the get-go. This pattern hasn't always been the case, but a couple of years back they let it be known that the aim is to stabilize releases annually.

As eyes turn to another upcoming Google I/O, talk of the next developer preview for Android P is heating up, since the previews for Android N and O both arrived in March. Evan Blass - renowned for his accurate predictions - has Tweeted he expects the date to be released then, too.

The speculation over exactly what the "P" will stand for has hardly begun.

However, it is interesting to note that Wednesday 14th March is Pi day - called because it's on 03/14/2018. A lovely day for an announcement, don't you think?