Google is reportedly set to introduce its own Internet of Things platform, which it will show off at Google I/O 2015.
The operating system will be called "Brillo," and is essentially a lightweight version of Android designed specifically for low power devices with only 32 or 64MB of RAM.
The Internet of Things in general has been of growing interest for all kinds of tech companies, with a number of players releasing their own connected devices and operating systems designed to allow all of these devices to speak to each other.
Many IoT devices, however, are very small and do not require a lot of processing power to properly run. While this means they are less expensive, it also means that operating systems have to be a bit lighter and less complex than traditional mobile operating systems like Android and iOS. For example, a toothbrush really only needs to be able to analyze how a person is brushing their teeth, as well as send and receive data.
In fact, Gartner Research suggests that Internet of Things devices will get so popular that there will be approximately 26 billion connected devices by 2020, compared to 900 million recorded in 2009.
The concept itself is pretty simple. Devices are connected to the Internet and allow users to receive data related to them on their smartphones or computers. Devices can also communicate to each other: users won't have to treat every device as its own entity, but rather will be able to treat devices as one part of a network of devices in their home.
A single operating system for connected devices could be very useful for both manufacturers and users. An operating system like Brillo could help eliminate problems associated with compatibility with different platforms, and consumers will be able to buy devices with the knowledge that their fridge, which is running Brillo, can communicate with their couch, also running Brillo.
Brillo could be very important for Google too, as time goes on. While manufacturers would be in competition, the operating system would largely remain the same, backed by Google, at least in a Google-imagined-world.
Of course, things won't end up as Google would like, with a number of other IoT operating systems having surfaced over the past few years. Most recently, Huawei unveiled LiteOS, aimed at giving companies the infrastructure they need for their connected devices.
It is currently unknown what kinds of features the operating system will have and why it will be better than the others on the market.