Android needs a complex MMU to work properly

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Last updated: December 30, 2019

Android Things is one of the latest operating systems introduced for the IoT in the end of 2016, created by Google and to this date still in its development phase. It is based on the fundament of Google’s earlier OS called Google Brillo. While Brillo was based on C++ programming, Android Things is using Java to gather more developers to work with it. Android Things uses a similar ecosystem as common Android applications, so it is easy to use for developers who are familiar with Android.

Therefore Android Things supports Google APIs and services like common Android development does.~cite{ATthings}~cite{Android10}ewline There are two different types of applications for Android Things: Either with an User Interface or not. Those with an UI are useful for IoT devices that are directly accessed by the user and offer a display.

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Applications without an UI are rather used to interact within the network, to collect data and send it to the cloud.~cite{AHW}ewline     Android Things is based on a monolithic Linux kernel and its code is open source. It works efficiently in terms of threading and memory management. ~cite{Androidkernel}ewline Android Things belongs to class 2 under the terms of the IETF classification system which means that it is mainly an operating system for gateway devices in Internet of Things which is due to its hardware requirements. It needs more than 512 MBs of RAM, e.g. it supports different high-performance boards like Intel Edison x86, NXP Pico and Raspberry Pi 3.

It is build to run on 32-bit and 62-bit architectures. Because of its Linux basis it needs a complex MMU to work properly which can be found in processors like the Cortex-A and Intel x86.~cite{AHW}ewline      Android Things uses preemptive scheduling which improves the performance of devices. Scheduling is done by an API called JobScheduler which is implemented in the platform. It automatically tracks what is happening inside different devices and optimizes the usage of them. The JobScheduler also works in scalable environments and it can both take the responsibility of smaller tasks (e.g. cache clearing) as well as bigger ones (e.

g. synchronizing the database with a cloud).~cite{ASchedule} ewline      There is a possibility to use both event-driven and multithreaded programming model in Android Things. This gives a good possibility for the developer to control the usage of different threads and how the software works in them. While working with only one thread you can use the systems resources the most efficiently, but it also causes a possible jank while working with UI and makes it harder to modify more functions to the system afterwards. Therefore asynchronous model is better to be used with more complex system structure and while working with UI.

~cite{AndroidThreading} ewline  One of the main innovations in Android Things is the communication platform ‘Weave’ which uses cloud services to connect network devices with different protocols such as Bluetooth Low Energy, IEEE 802.15.4, Wi-Fi and Ethernet to ensure the communication between different IoT devices. It is energy efficient and stable. Weave is synchronized with Google Cloud platform and other device manufacturers can use Weave Device SDK to connect their devices into the Weave environment. Weave Server allows devices to communicate securely and integrates other Google services.~cite{Weave}ewline         For handling input and output Android Things has Peripheral I/O which is used to allow the communication between sensors and actuators.

There are different types of APIs to be used for different purposes. The APIs follow certain protocols such as I2C, SPI and UART.~cite{Peripheral} There is also an API for Low-Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (LoWPAN) that enables devices to scan and join close low-power wireless mesh networks.~cite{AndroidLowpan}.

ewline   Because of the high memory and hardware requirements Android Things suits well for building more advanced IoT Devices. That allows the IoT machines to have for example object recognition. In future Android Things can be used in many innovative IoT networks.~cite{AHW} 

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