Zero To Google

General Hardware Scoops + Reviews

Google i/o Day 1!

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See the liveblog here for more details.

What a day it was! We saw everything from newest generation of Android (from cellphones and tablets to… exercise machine?), launch of Google Music and Movie (Finally!), and ongoing move to tackle the ever-growing fragmentation head-on. Stay with us as we go over highlights from Day 1 of Google i/o 2011.

Best Moment: When Google went Oprah and gave away 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1.

 First: Android’s monstrous growth.

400,000 activations daily, adding up to more than 140 million activations a year! 100 million devices already activated just in two and a half-year (Oh, how I miss G1)! 4.5 billion Android apps downloaded already and 200,000 Android apps in Android Market! Just amazing how fast Android grew in one and a half-year after the launch of Droid.

Second: Honeycomb 3.1 and Ice Cream Sandwich… 3.2?

Android Ice Cream Sandwich

Seriously, we have no idea what version number Ice Cream Sandwich will be.

While ICS is not launching until this fall, updated version of Honeycomb is already getting pushed into Verizon Xooms (about 250,000 of them). Updated version includes expandable widgets (like one in LauncherPro),  improved performances (so hopefully, no more lags) and an ability to accept numbers of USB devices from XBox controller to just your regular flash drive. This makes all the effort done by Asus to integrate USB into its Eee Pad Transformer basically useless (Although Transformer not recognizing USB devices sometimes, maybe it’s a good thing that Google stepped in). You can see all the features in action right here.  Also, Google announced that it will update Google TV software from FroYo to 3.1 version of Honeycomb, with simplified UI (and hopefully a full Market support). With Honeycomb designed to enhance Android experience in big screen, I think Google made a very good move here.

While Honeycomb received pretty major updates, Ice Cream Sandwich basically looks mouth-watering. Features added are very “Minority Report” like, with devices now recognizing movement of your faces (ala. Kinect). This enables one to simply zoom in and zoom out by moving one’s face around. While other features still remain unknown, Ice Cream Sandwich will be pushed into both smartphones and tablets. Google promise that apps written for Ice Cream Sandwich will support both tablets and smartphones without any need of optimization, but we’ll see how Google deliver on that promise. But Apple said that too for the iPad. (You can see all the Ice Cream Sandwich action right here)

Also, big promise to tackle fragmentation as members of Open Handset Alliance and major manufacturers of Android devices (from HTC to Samsung, although Dell and Asus are notable exceptions) promise to deliver software updates up to 18 months after launch of new device. While there are questions remaining (which we’ll try to ponder in the editorial coming very soon), this is a great move to stop “will my devices get updated?” questions and Behold II debacles.

Third: Google Music and Movies

Google is launching cloud-based music player and movie rental service. Google Music Beta, as it’s called, will allow you to stream up to 20,000 songs in the cloud (ala. Amazon Cloud Drive, albeit with more storage), with songs playable in computers, Android devices and even Blackberry Playbook. It also enables offline caching so you can hear songs even when you’re not in 3G area (or if you have a WiFi-only devices). Google Movie, available now in Xoom and in 2 weeks in Android 2.2 and above devices, will enable you to watch movies anywhere you go. It also enables you to “pin” movies so you can watch movies offline, just like offline caching in Google Music, although “pinning” a movie restricts watching the movie in devices other than the one you have pinned to. But both do sound bit disappointing when Google was widely expected to launch a full-blown music streaming service.

We also have editorial about that written up pretty soon, so stay tuned.

Fourth: Android @ Home

Labyrinth controlled by... Droid (not the robot, but the phone)?

For more, click here.

Google also showed off its Android @ home framework. It’s basically Google version of “Made for iPod/iPhone/iPad,” with Google’s SDK giving accessory manufacturers to fully integrate accessories into Android devices. One cool example was the exercise machine. It connected to Android phone to launch an app created by the manufacturer of the exercise machine, and even went on to launch a simple game with a helicopter rising and falling based on your exercise pace (really addicting, if you say so). Hopefully, we get to see a lot more of those cool examples actually becoming products. Maybe something like this, but for Android?

Of course, with Android already being a toy for all the DIY hackers and developers, it definitely looks like lot of people will jump on this. Beside, Google definitely seems like it wants to give off SDK for very little cost or even free.

So, What’s Coming Up?

Rumor is that Google will announce more details on Chrome laptops. Perhaps the company will announce a $ 20 a month renting of Chrome laptops, as one rumor suspects. Of course, I think we can expect tomorrow’s keynote and presentation to be bit more Web-oriented and technical, Google having announced everything Android today. But whatever Google reveals tomorrow, we’ll try to keep you guys up to date with the roundup and blog posts as well as editorials. So, stay tuned!

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Written by Geek Park

May 10, 2011 at 10:32 PM

Posted in android, ios, LG, smartphones, tablets

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