Google I/O 2011 took place this week and there was a lot of news that came out from it… Day 1 centred mostly on Android and day 2 was all about the new Chromebooks.
As well as news for the consumer there was also tools and news for developers too. There were updates to Google TV and The introduction to Google Music. Going to have a bit of a moan at this point because it’s continuing a trend of services available to the US but not to us in good ole blighty…Much like Google voice.
And it wasn’t all consumer app news. Believe it or not, this developer conference also brought actual news for developers, too. We’ll wrap it all up for you right here:
Google Music Launched
The idea behind Google music as you would expect is to store your music in the cloud including iTunes libraries and playlists. This music will then be available in any connected device.
You can’t buy music through Google Music — not so far and right from the start there was opposition from the music labels… So, not off to the greatest of starts and is reminiscent to the release of Google TV
Talking of Google TV, it will be getting access to the full Android Market — as well as Honeycomb 3.1 — this summer. New apps might mean better PR for a product some say is in a slump.
Honeycomb 3.1 update
Already mentioned it above, The Android tablet OS got a much needed update. The Android 3.1 upgrades will start with Motorola Xoom customers now and will be coming to Google TV this summer. The OS is bringing new, expandable widgets as well as support for USB peripherals, including cameras, joysticks, etc.
The Newest Android OS: Ice Cream Sandwich
After Android got fragmented between mobile (2.x) and tablet (3.x), Android 4.0 will bring it back together again and will run more besides (more on that in a bit) and be called Ice Cream Sandwich.
Goodies for Developers
App Engine is coming out of preview as Version 1.5.0 and will bring Backend support and a fast-compiling runtime for Go, Google’s homebrewed programming language. The company also rolled out a Google Plugin for the Eclipse IDE With support for Python and Java.
Working with external devices: Android Open Accessory API and Android@Home
As an open platform, Android was always meant to go beyond the mobile phone. With an ever increasing number of Android devices on the market, hardware developers would like to work with any device from any manufacturer. To accommodate this An “Android open accessory API”, an Android platform support for hardware accessories, has been released to allow external USB hardware to interact with an Android-powered device in a special “accessory” mode.
Google also announced the all-new Android@Home framework, a set of protocols for controlling light switches, alarm clocks and other home appliances through any Android device.
Day 2: Chromebooks Are Coming
OK before I get on to the real news… An announcement… ANDRY BIRDS IS NOW AVAILABLE ON THE CHROME WEB STORE. Right, glad I got that off my chest… On with the news..
The main news of the day was that the Chrome OS and Chromebooks would be available in 15 countries including the UK as of June 15th. Chrome OS has had an update with an all new file manager and offline capabilities for mail, calendar and docs apps.
Samsung and Acer will be the first companies to manufacture the devices with a 12-inch device from Samsung and an 11-inch from Acer. Both use the familiar notebook format, with dual-core Intel processors and all-day battery life, along with Wi-Fi and 3G support. The Samsung device will retail at £349 for a Wi-Fi-only version, and £399 for a 3G version. Acer’s US pricing will start at $349 (£214) but has not yet announced its UK pricing.
As well as the ability to purchase the devices, a subscription model was announced with three year deals for Business and Education. Once again UK prices still to be announced But US deals were $28 per user per month for business and $20 for educational establishments (Google Apps subscriptions come separately). With the ability to hook into enterprise Citrix or VMware infrastructures the hassle of desktop management is reduced to practically nil.
Chrome and HTML5
There was also discussion on the future of the Chrome web browser and Google’s work on HTML 5. Demonstrations included new speech APIs and Google’s GPU-based hardware acceleration for CSS Transforms, Canvas 2D and WebGL.
It should noted that the day after Google I/O announced the use of WebGL a serious exploit was exposed where remote execution could force a blue screen on a Windows device and the recommendation was to disable WebGL execution for the time being on modern browsers.