Google I/O Conference 2011 Highlights
Google I/O Conference Announcements: New Android, Google Music, NFC
The Google I/O Development Conference is underway at San Francisco's Moscone Center. The image onstage of the little green Android eating an apple makes Google's message even more clear than ever.
Android dominates the smartphone market, even though the iPhone gets most of the press and hipster love. Google's Android team doesn't have anyone who's Steve-Jobs famous, so the keynote was delivered by Senior VP of engineering Vic Gundotra, with the help of a giant ball maze.
Highlights from the Keynote
- Google Music enters free beta. Request an invite and you can download and store up to 20,000 songs. The service won't be free once it leaves beta, obviously.
- Android 3.1 (Honeycomb): tablet-only, and will expand to Google TV. Will be able to handle USB inputs like cameras and keyboards.
- Ice Cream Sandwich: the next version of Android for smartphones will drop in Q4 of 2011.
- Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK): configure external hardware to work with an Android device. USB only for now, but Bluetooth support coming soon. Android's ADK, like its SKD, is free. Have fun configuring Eclipse, and remember that Stuffit Expander will break the installation process.
- Movie rentals from Android Market- 30-day rental period for use on any Android device, with a 24-hour play period once the movie starts. (My Android phone would run out of power way before a movie got to the good parts)
- Project Tungsten: This is some House of Tomorrow sh*t. Use Android and the Android at Home framework to sync services in your home: music, video, alarm clock, lights, refrigerator... basically, it's Farmville IRL.
- NFC: near-field communication isn't big in the US yet, but Google wants to be ready. RFID devices are examples of NFC technology, but there's greater potential than read-only RFID tags. You could rip a CD to your laptop or phone by holding the disc up to the device: no spinning necessary. Getting that to work two ways will be the next step.
The 5,000 developers attendance all got a free Samsung Galaxy tablet: beyond an Oprah-style "everybody gets a tablet!" moment, this kick-starts actual development on the new hardware.