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Operating Systems Android Google

Google Developing 'Brillo' OS For Internet of Things 227

An anonymous reader writes: A new report from The Information (paywalled) says Google is working on an operating system called "Brillo" that would be a platform for Internet-of-things devices. It's supposedly a lightweight version of Android, capable of running on devices with extremely limited hardware — as little as 32 MB of RAM, for example. The company is expected to launch the code for Brillo at its I/O event next week. This is particularly relevant now that Google has acquired Nest, Dropcam, and Revolv — a trio of "smart home" companies whose devices could potentially by unified by Brillo.
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Google Developing 'Brillo' OS For Internet of Things

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  • 32MB? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:05PM (#49760299)

    32MB? Bah. I remember the days when you could fit a whole OS in a hundred K! And 640K was enough for anyone!

    On a more serious note: The 'internet of things' hype is supposed to be about putting sensors in just about everything. 32MB is a lot of data for a sensor.

    • Re:32MB? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:07PM (#49760317)

      32MB is a lot of data for a sensor.

      Not if you're a spy agency.

    • Re:32MB? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:11PM (#49760343)

      No, the sensors are already there. The 'internet of things' hype is about giving control over machines and private information from sensors to large companies.

      • IoT is nothing of the sort. A few questionable corporations are creating that product that way but just because it says IoT doesn't mean that you need to give anyone else data.

        • Re:32MB? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @08:00PM (#49760827)

          Yes it doesn't mean, but when it says "google", your data land at their servers. And from a security standpoint, they have control.

          • That's the typically over generalized anti-Google crap we've come to expect.

            Just like Chromium and Android varieties don't communicate with Google there's no reason to expect that every device like this will either.

            Yes it's likely that many such devices will, but I'll reserve freaking out for facts and data rather than anti-corporate speculation.

            • If you don't learn from your history? Then you sir are a dumbass, because datamining [spiegel.de] is what Google does [welivesecurity.com] and if its one thing they love its gathering more and more intel on you [gawker.com].

              I mean have you really already forgotten the stink over google trying to ram G+ and real names down on YouTube? From Google Drive [time.com] to even spying on kids emails [sophos.com] the simple fact is Google is all about connecting the dots, its what they do, where their income is coming from, and the more they can gather on you the more money it can ma

        • these days, the IoT term has been hijacked to mean 'we mine your personal info along with smart sensors we convince you to buy and install inside your private LAN.'

          that's really a bad idea, of course. I'm very into IoT things right now, myself, but NOT cloud-based shit! not for me! MY iot stuff is about device to device and device to small server, ALL staying local and nothing going across to a WAN. nrf24l01, xbee, even esp8266 - all neat wireless protocols. but all meant to stay local, too.

          if your iot

          • by GNious ( 953874 )

            Started writing my own IoT library, to access various IoT-things in a generic, abstracted manner - one thing I haven't even bothered with, is cloud-based stuff.
            LAN works just fine, as does VPN'ing into your home to read stuff.

          • iot != cloud

            No. "IoT" most definately == cloud. Everything that actually respects your privacy came out before "IoT" was a thing.

            "IoT" is a euphemism for "home automation, except trojaned so we can steal your data."

        • [Home|Industrial] automation is nothing of the sort. IoT is that with marketing BS and ads plastered on.

    • Re:32MB? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:24PM (#49760395) Journal
      For comparison, here is a typical microcontroller [sparkfun.com] with a few kilobytes of RAM. No wonder the Nest is so expensive.....it's vastly overpowered for what it does.
      • In bulk it is easy to purchase microcontroller with 32MB of ram for $7 (though the closest my lazy digikey search [digikey.com] turned up was $11.50 for 24M).

        The cost of the microcontroller has a negligible cost on the nest retail price, and darn near every other embedded system sold to consumers.

        • In bulk it is easy to purchase microcontroller with 32MB of ram for $7 ... The cost of the microcontroller has a negligible cost on the nest retail price, and darn near every other embedded system sold to consumers.

          The Internet of Things isnt really about expensive geek toys like the Nest. The idea is that, a few years from now, all of our little devices will be on the Internet - including things like commodity fire detectors and cheap toasters. Seven bucks is a big deal when you're talking about something that sells for ten or twenty dollars.

    • Yeah it seems like only yesterday where whole OSes fitted on 10k.

      Oh Wait... [slashdot.org]

    • likely its the magic 32k number, which happens to be the size of the atmega 328 (arduino classic) chip!

      still, 32k is too large for many sensors. attiny chips are now in the 8k range and even that is asking a lot. 4k used to be more typical.

      android? HAHAHAHAH! google, you are teh funny. the security nightmare and complexity of android for IoT sensors? wow, I needed a good laugh today.

    • 32MB? Bah. I remember the days when you could fit a whole OS in a hundred K! And 640K was enough for anyone!

      On a more serious note: The 'internet of things' hype is supposed to be about putting sensors in just about everything. 32MB is a lot of data for a sensor.

      For today's process geometries, it isn't. One can easily have on-board flash that contains the OS, and then have the sensor's baseband work off that

    • by DamonHD ( 794830 )

      I'm more used to working with 1*k* of RAM and 32*k* of code for a sensor node.

      32MB? Goodness. I used to run a Sun workstation as a firewall on 4MB!

      Rgds

      Damon

  • It's Android.

    Yay!

    I mean Brillo, sorry Google.

  • by Sebby ( 238625 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:06PM (#49760313)
    ... spy OS.
  • by Dwedit ( 232252 )

    32MB is not "extremely limited hardware". I've programmed on devices with 32KB of RAM before.

    • 32MB is not "extremely limited hardware". I've programmed on devices with 32KB of RAM before.

      That's nothing! I've programmed on a device with 64 bytes before! Specifically a PIC12F675. I think some of the attiny and PIC10F have even fewer bytes (32?).

      But yes, typical things like radio microcontrollers (like the TI and Nordic ones) have RAM measured in the tens of k, and those are the backbone of small, low power wireless devices.

      • Not quite the same. When you consider who to connect one of these microcontrollers an an IoT device you need all sorts of additional parts. We're basically offloading the software from the OS to specific hardware / firmware combinations that handle it for us. There's a lot more than 64bytes of code running on your project.

        • by larwe ( 858929 )
          There are plenty of single-chip solutions that incorporate a micro, radio, and sufficient flash+RAM to implement an entire wireless sensor. Look at the ESP8266 for example, which is becoming very popular in makerspaces. https://www.sparkfun.com/produ... [sparkfun.com] - you can easily source a complete module for under $5 at retail. Note that the external chip is the application code, which gets loaded into on-chip SRAM at boot time. It's unclear how much RAM is in it; definitely not megabytes, though. The chip has a 64K
    • 32KB of RAM? That's luxury. Try 8KB.

      Next up: someone who's programmed devices with less than 8KB of RAM.

      • by Ignacio ( 1465 )

        8kB? Many RAM such luxury.

        It's amazing what you can squeeze into 512B of RAM.

      • Next up: someone who's programmed devices with less than 8KB of RAM.

        Yep. 128 bytes. With 4K of flash, granted. And we did have to upgrade to the 16K version eventually (still 128 bytes of RAM, we got 256 in yet another revision though)

    • 32k, Im working on an Arduino (328p) with 2k of SRAM and 32k of flash storage.

      So far, I have a webserver running on it that controls a light switch up to 10A.

      • Web server on a 328p? I'm betting it can't do any server-side scripting at all...?

        • Web server on a 328p? I'm betting it can't do any server-side scripting at all...?

          Sure you can. An Arduino WizNet adapter has the whole TCP/IP stack on it, so all you need on the 328p is the TCP client code. 32K is more space than you might think when it's all your code.

          • Im doing it on the enc28j60. It does not contain the tcp stack on the unit, you have to handle it in the CPU.

            The current code uses 27,626 bytes (89%) of program storage space and 1,543 bytes (75%) of dynamic memory.

            Handles web interfacing for the switch, network config, rebooting the unit, and offers a json API call for pulling current state.

            That is a wired connection version. I am also working on one that uses the ESP8266 wifi unit which does have the TCP stack on it. That one is much smaller code.

  • This or that [slashdot.org]
  • Sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:14PM (#49760351) Homepage

    "as little as 32 MB of RAM, for example"

    I'm getting old.

    My first full PC had 2MB of RAM.

    My first computer had only 48Kb of RAM.

    Hell, I have an "computer" next me to capable of connecting to the Internet (even to act as HTTP server, DHCP client, NTP client, etc.), controlling relays, performing some computations, etc. It has 32Kb of Flash, 2Kb of SRAM and 1Kb of EEPROM. It's called an Arduino UNO.

    By comparison, then, 32Mb is over 1000 times more than needed for IoT crap.

    • Not only various other variations of this (my first PC in particular only had 448kB of RAM, and only 64kB of that was on the mainboard) but my first computer that ran Linux was a 386DX25 with 8MB of RAM and a 120MB disk. And while I threw it away recently, I used to have an iOpener with some kind of rinkydink Linux with an ancient browser on it in just 32MB of disk. ISTR it having 16MB RAM. If anyone would like the wizztronics adapter, I have one here along with a low-profile cooler that fits inside the iOp

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:21PM (#49760377) Journal

    Google is definitely the company I want making the OS that will be in every fucking electronic device in my house, because they're so serious about my privacy.

    • You jest but I'll bite. Google most definitely care about your privacy. In the number of companies willing to share your information with 3rd parties Google is right at the bottom of the list for one simple reason, control. There are a lot of companies out there that share the data they collect. Google keeps the data and provides an API to let someone target your anonymised data set.

      Google is the number 1 offender for collecting my private data.
      Google is also the number 1 company I trust not to simply sell

  • My italian friend says 'brillo' means 'tipsy' in italian and told me about the time when microsoft created a touch calculator app (where you could use your finger to write expressions).
    They called that app 'inkulator' which in italian sounds very, very, VERY and i mean, seriously WRONG!
  • I can recall when an entire Linux -- not "pared down" -- ran in "as little as" 16MB. (No X Windows; server only.) It was the Anaconda installer that forced me to upgrade systems to 32MB. (At least temporarily; after getting Linux installed I could pull out that extra memory.) Of course, this was a "few" years ago. Nowadays, I have more memory than that in my old Laserjet. What's limiting these devices to have only 32MB? Power?

  • Correctly named? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrism238 ( 657741 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:27PM (#49760419)
    Shouldn't we call this Brillio Beta, so that we can all invest heavily in it for 2 years before Google changes their mind and withdraws it?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I bet it gets scrubbed.

  • This should be just about enough for that Pedo-Teddy they patented. Jerry's asked for a computer, and plans on becoming a l33t h4x0r.
  • 32*M*B? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mirar ( 264502 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:35PM (#49760455) Homepage

    I regularly work with devices having 32*K*B or RAM. That talks TCP/IP. (And much smaller than that, but they do very limited amount of networking, like CAN.)

    And I remember running Linux on devices with a lot less than 32MB...

    What's the challenge with 32MB? And how is that extreme in any way?

    • but they do very limited amount of networking .... snip .... What's the challenge with 32MB

      You answered your own question in the example. You want networking you either need to implement a network stack or offload that stack to another component in which case you're just cheating by moving code around and ultimately still using the same amount of resources.

      Though I admit that 32MB sounds high for what we're talking about, I'll happily callout anyone who compares it to programming a simple PIC micro and thinking they are badass.

      • by fwc ( 168330 )
        See the PIC18F67J60 [microchip.com]. I currently sell a product I developed which includes a complete software TCP/IP stack, HTTP server, SNMP server, ICMP client and server, NTP, and and so on which fits in this device which has 128K of flash and 3.808K of ram. 32MB is enormous.

        My total code + static web page storage (in a small external flash) is around 196KB. That isn't anywhere near 32MB.

        I'm in the process of moving to a PIC32 platform to be able to support HTTPS and IPv6, along with a lot of other functionali

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          3.8K of RAM results in piss-poor networking performance, since it can only hold two full sized network packets.

  • by rev0lt ( 1950662 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:46PM (#49760497)
    32MB of RAM? Many semi-modern UNIX systems can run with that amount of RAM without any modification... Many IoT applications require an OS that can work with 32KB, not 32MB.
  • I hope that's 32 kbytes of RAM, not 32 MB of RAM, because most IoT devices don't need and don't have that much memory.

    • What you need depends on the application, what you have depends on you meeting your design criteria.

      32MB memory chips cost $5 in quantities of 1. If you have an IoT application that needs a full Android OS on it for some reason then the memory won't break the bank.

      • by larwe ( 858929 )
        Yeah, but that's hardly the whole story. That $5 RAM chip is LPDDR, so you need a micro with both an LPDDR controller, and enough address space to make use of that 32MB without contorted bank-switching bullshit. It's a very significant jump in both component and design cost when you from single-chip SoCs to ASSPs that require external ROM and RAM. Package size, pin count, EMI considerations.
        • so you need a micro with both an LPDDR controller

          STM32F429 is about $5 in large quantity

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )

          enough address space to make use of that 32MB without contorted bank-switching bullshit

          In other words: any kind of ARM CPU, which is fine because they are cheap and easy to use.

      • It's not about cost, it's about power and size.

        • Yep, interestingly the Raspberry PI fits a Dual core 32bit ARM and 512MB of RAM on the same surface area as an 8bit AVR or PIC. Power wise it all depends on the devices ability to enter low power states.

          Neither of the features you mention are trade-offs that we need to have. Not at the scale we're talking about, and not with today's technology.

          • Power wise it all depends on the devices ability to enter low power states.

            Yeah AVR chips consume 0.001 mA in sleep mode (https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/309)

            and Raspberry pi consumes 320 mA when linux is idle (https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/341/whats-the-current-draw-and-supply-voltage-tolerance)

            so AVR consumes 320000 times as much power as Raspberry Pi

            • oops backwards, should say "times less power"

            • Thankyou for cherrypicking a result without any understanding.

              I invite you to power-down an AVR some time and see exactly what they are capable of when drawing your mythical 1uA. Here's a hint, you can't get that power usage using a normal system clock, in fact you can't get that usage with the clock running at all, or anything else, in fact there's very few things that can wake and AVR when it's using that little power, not even the watchdog. An Internet of useless Paperweights is what you're going to have

              • Arduinos can get by with as little as 5 uA in standby:

                https://github.com/petervojtek... [github.com]

                Part of long battery life is also to have an OS that allows the system to sleep most of the time.

                A Spec mote [berkeley.edu] takes a few cubic millimeters of space. Those are the kinds of specs we're heading for, and a 1000x difference in memory and the nature of the OS matter a great deal. Android doesn't cut it.

                That may show things like the only 3 IoT devices in my house being hard wired and thus no one could care less if they use 1uA

  • So we can keep separate internet-things kosher?
    • No, they will never be kosher. Well, there isn't any actual limitation on silicon in Leviticus, but I doubt any Rabbis will say that the consumption of internet devices will ever be kosher.
      • Ah but would it be permissible to scan both the embedded sensors for spoiled milk and spoiled meat on the same device? The story I always heard was that there was an unspoken agreement that Brillo and SOS were different colors so that you could have one to clean cooking utensils for meat and one for cleaning milk product utensils. Only glitch is that SOS pads didn't go from red to blue until 1960 or so, and the relatives who told me that were keeping kosher long before 1960.
  • 32MB? Bill Gates said nobody would ever need more than 640KB. That's not the size of the OS but the total system memory. Let's work within reasonable memory limits...

  • computers are faster and have more ram

    amazing

    can we stop already with the "I remember when" crap?

  • Cool! An OS for my pots and pans that can also scrub them clean!
  • Sensors, simple damned commands, and a TCP/IP stack should not need anywhere NEAR 32MB of RAM to run.

    Google needs to step back and re-learn some goddamned Assembler.

    • Sensors, simple damned commands, and a TCP/IP stack should not need anywhere NEAR 32MB of RAM to run.

      Google needs to step back and re-learn some goddamned Assembler.

      we should all throw out our systems with Intel core processors and go back to 8086 chips, after all they are totally capable of handling keyboard input, network connections and color displays, so really who needs any more than that?

    • by itzly ( 3699663 )

      A TCP/IP stack is simple, but there's a lot more to networking than just TCP + IP. You also need a web server, security protocols, zeroconfig, DNS, and plenty of other things.

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday May 24, 2015 @07:17AM (#49762803)

    Some devices like Nest seem to add more intelligence to things we already use, but some devices just seem to add gadgets without actually making things more intelligent.

    Where are my outlets with an integrated, network accessible power meter? Or the smart electrical panel that can have circuit priorities and acceptable power source types assigned to it so that when I run off a Tesla PowerWall I get maximum utility from the power? Or even the main power meter that lets me see my electrical utilization in real time?

    So much of the IoT just seems to be about adding new gadgets whose utility seems limited while ignoring the rest of the house which is dumb.

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