Android Things Developer Preview 6 has rolled out with a number of new features such as a dedicated IoT launcher, Android 8.1, and a command-line flashing tool.
Among the new features, the IoT launcher is considered to be the most significant as it displays the present state of a device through a new user interface.
The launcher can be used to configure settings and keep a check on new updates with the use of a touchscreen or USB input device. The IoT launcher is visible unless a developer provides their own UI.
Additionally, a new partition scheme has been introduced in Developer Preview 6 but it does not support OTA updates on DP5.1 and older devices. The most recent preview release has to be manually downloaded and flashed.
A command-line flashing tool now sports Android Things in the console which automates the download and flashing process. The highly demanded developer feature is said to be more convenient than flashing and configuring via fastboot and adb commands.
Android Things is currently based on Android 8.1 and API level 27. There is also an update in Google Play Services so it now supports SDK version 11.6.