Google I/O 2011 – Day One Wrap-up
Today has been a big day of announcements from the Google I/O 2011 conference. It all started with the keynote, where Google had a wide range of announcements. First up was Honeycomb 3.1, which started rolling out today with a host of new features, such as re-sizable widgets and better task management. Google then went on to announce that the next version of Android will be called Ice Cream Sandwich, and will be for both smartphones and tablets, addressing some of the fragmentation concerns the community has been expressing lately.
Google also announced both movie streaming and music streaming for Android. Movies are available in the Android Market now to rent in standard and HD, and the site to apply for invitations for Music Beta by Google is now live. The service, which is free while in Beta, will allow users who get an invite in the United States to upload up to 20,000 songs into the cloud, where they can access it via the Web or their Android-powered device for now. The Music Beta app is available in the Android Market now.
Accessories are going to be a big part of Google’s strategy going forward, with the announcement of a development kit now available to make devices work with Android. To demonstrate the possibilities, Google showed a treadmill hooked up via USB to a phone, and working seamlessly together with a cardio app. They also controlled a wooden puzzle box with a XOOM tablet, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Taking that a step further, Google has officials thrown it’s hat into the home automation arena, with an ambitious plan to eventually have an entire house – from appliances to lights to the thermostat – all controlled via an Android device. Right now, the company has one application lined up, Project Tungsten, which has a lamp with the new protocols. No pricing information was given however, and with several other home automation protocols out there, it will be interesting to see where this goes.
At the Sessions
Outside of the keynote, Google had quite a few announcements as well. The Google Books API is now available in the Code Labs, which will allow developers to write applications to query information on the more than 15 million books on books.google.com including book metadata, pricing, and more., and the Places API will give developers more powerful location awareness options. The +1 button was previewed, which will be available to developers in the coming weeks, as well as new Chart and Prediction API tools.
Other announcements for Android included the release of the Guide to the App Galaxy to help developers learn how to promote their apps, measure earnings, etc. Eclipse tools which give Android developers new tools to easily build cloud-aware applications, and Peer-to-Peer NFC is coming to Android, with a demonstration of tag reading, writing and peer-to-peer, and previews of advanced peer-to-peer functionality coming in Ice Cream Sandwich such as 0-click sharing.
That was all for day one, Tuesday, May 10. Stay tuned here for a wrap-up of tomorrow’s announcements!