Google kicked off its annual developer’s conference yesterday by sharing some impressive figures: there are now 100 million activated Android devices; 400,000 new Android devices activated each day; 200,000+ free and paid apps available in the Android Market with 4.5 billion apps installed; and there are more than 310 Android devices around the world. All that in less than three years!
After two days at the conference, there were three things that got me excited:
1. Android 3.1 (Honeycomb)
Google’s new guidelines for working with phone manufacturers, as well as a single operating system for cellphones, tablets and Google TV, will mean that developers can build one app that works on all three devices, and the app will adjust accordingly. There are also some new features such as expanded task switching, resizable widgets, Renderscript (which looked very realistic in an up-close demo), USB device support (great news for Logitech), as well as the new Google Movie and Google Music products. Very cool.
This is also important for Google TV users. All Logitech Revue with Google TV units will get the Honeycomb update pushed automatically to them this summer and this update will include the Android Market. Having the Android Market on my Logitech Revue will make my TV even more connected
The Chromebook is basically a laptop that is built and optimized for the Web. But what excited me most were a few specific features: it boots up in 8 seconds, automatically installs updates, will last a day of use on a single charge (no more carrying a power cord), and your apps, games, photos, music, movies and documents will be accessible wherever you are. All this and you won’t need to worry about backing up your files, since they are stored in the cloud. And with optional 3G (like your smartphone), you can access the web when you need it. They will be hitting shelves on June 15.
3. Android@Home: Google Home Control
So Google is now officially entering the home automation space thanks to Android. Android@Home will let developers create Android apps that will allow any of your Android devices to control various things in your home, including light switches and appliances. And seeing the lights controlled by a tablet in a room with 5,000 people showed that it is on the very near horizon.
Outside of the major announcements, walking around the Developer Sandbox to experience some of the futuristic hi-tech apps (iRobots), controlling a HUGE labyrinth game board from an Android tablet, and free lunch (thanks Google!) made Google IO a memorable experience. Oh yeah – and I’m already loving Angry Birds on Chrome!