The last Android Things Developer Preview in August upgraded the Internet of Things platform to Android Oreo. Developer Preview 6 is rolling out today with several new features like an IoT launcher, Android 8.1, and a command-line flashing tool.
One major new feature is an IoT launcher that shows the current state of a device through a new user interface. Using a touchscreen or USB input device, users can configure settings like WiFi, check for updates, and access build information. This launcher is visible unless a developer offers their own UI.
Meanwhile, Android Things is now based on Android 8.1 and API level 27. Google Play Services has also been updated to support SDK version 11.6. New APIs give control over the configuration of local devices and updates:
UpdateManager gives developers control over when updates and reboots can be performed, ensuring the device is available for the user when needed. DeviceManager controls factory reset, reboot, and device locales. APIs are also provided for settings such as ScreenManager to control the screen, and TimeManager to control the clock and time zone.
Android Things in the Console now sports a command-line flashing tool that automates the download and flashing process. This highly requested developer feature is more convenient than flashing and configuring via fastboot and adb commands.
DP6 introduces a new partition scheme ahead of the final release that does not support OTA updates on DP5.1 devices and older. As such, this latest preview has to be manually downloaded and flashed.