Google I/O is a flagship developer conference held every year that brings together hordes of developers from around the globe together. The conference focusses on very deep technical discussions touching on the web, mobile, social and enterprise applications. The conference also announces key developments about the open source initiatives from Google.
This year, the event is being held on San Francisco. The first day of the conference was very eventful. Let’s go through the major highlights of the first day of Google I/O 2011.
- Before looking at the major highlights, we must discuss this. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a much awaited device and is probably the only device that can compete with iPad 2. This device is not yet available in the markets yet. But google and samsung gave away Galaxy Tab 10.1 to all the attendees of the Google I/O 2011 conference. 5000 in all! Talk about privilege..this is privilege!
- Google announced that more than 100 million android devices have been activated worldwide and everyday over 400,000 devices are activated around the globe. It also shared an interesting stat. There are now 310 android devices from 36 manufacturers in 112 countries. A quick run down against our database, reveals that there are 435 android enabled devices. May be google does not recognize some manufacturers 🙂
- Android Honeycomb has been upgraded from 3.0 to 3.1. This new version will be available in Motorola XOOM tablet over the next couple of weeks. Some new enhancements in Honeycomb 3.1 include
- improved USB connectivity to accessories like cameras, keyboards, mouse, game controllers etc., Developers can control the attached devices via the android os. So controlling robotic arm via your android smartphone or tablet is a possibility now 🙂
- Improved UI refinements.
- Imrpovements on WiFi connectivity
- Catch complete list of improvements in Android honeycomb 3.1 here
- Android Icecream sandwich officially declared as the next improvement for Android Gingerbread.
- Google announced the movie rentals on the android market place. So, you can now rent or stream movie rentals on your android smartphone/tablet via android marketplace. Google has given a url https://market.android.com/movies [looks like the url is not live yet]. Now you can pay as little as $1.99 or as much as $3.99 (depending on the popularity and recentness of the movie) and then can instantly stream movies to your android devices. The rental is valid for 24 hours once the playback starts. This is similar to the on-demand movies that we witness elsewhere such as netflix, set-to-boxes etc., It’s interesting to note that Google released the movie rentals feature on youtube recently, which can be accessed here. Google just announced that the movies rented over youtube can be watched on android and vice versa. How cool! The application categorizes movies across different genres such as Action, Adventure, comedy, drama, documentaries, family and horror. More than 3,000 movies from Sony, NBC universal are available in google movies now. Brilliant! Now, how much are the movie rental companies affected by this move now?
- Google also officially announced about Music Beta. This is currently available only to the US residents and is rolled out on an invitation basis. Think of Google music as a central repository of all your music that is scattered across many computers, smartphones, tablets or even itunes library. Once your music is synced with Google music, you can listen to your music from anywhere on any device. The music you have listened recently can be listened even when you are offline [it caches your music i guess]. Another interesting move.
- The next announcement should appeal to large section of audience out there. One of the current problems with android os is that the new versions and upgrades take longer to reach the devices due to the high amount of fragmentation and the manufacturer interference required. Google is now working on a way to make this upgrades available to the end users faster. The company is working with other device manufacturers to specifically “to adopt guidelines for how quickly devices are updated after a new platform release, and also for how long they will continue to be updated”. This is what google had to say about this “The founding partners are Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, LG, T-Mobile, Vodafone, Motorola and AT&T, and we welcome others to join us. To start, we’re jointly announcing that new devices from participating partners will receive the latest Android platform upgrades for 18 months after the device is first released, as long as the hardware allows.“. It’s ok for anyone to formulate the guidelines. At the end of the day, they had to be followed and implemented. Let’s see how this evolves. Good to see the need being addressed here.
- Android @Home initiative. This initiative will pave way for all the science fiction stuff that we see on movies to become a reality! The Android Open Accessory initiative will allow any accessory/device to interface with android-enabled devices. The devices can talk to each other (both ways). To demonstrate google showcased an exercise bike that talked with google android phone to exchange information on calorie consumption, workout history etc., The mission of Android Open Accessory is very simple “allows Android apps to discover, connect and communicate with appliances and devices in your home.” Google demoed an RFID-based device communication too..!
- There were host of other features announced such as Google Places API, Google fonts, Peer-to-Peer NFC, Improved Google charts API, Google Storage API etc.,
The opening day has been very eventful. Let’s see what is in store for the concluding day!