Google IO Keynote Liveblog

Coming in a bit late here (had to do a little shopping).

Proud of their new USB support for Android — keyboards, mouses, trackpads, game controllers. Seems to be saying that a touchscreen device shouldn’t rely on its touchscreen.

Tries to demo a game controller…nonstarter.

App store coming to Google TV, the product that nobody’s using.

Announces next Android: “Ice Cream Sandwich” for Q4. Very pleased to talk about “choice,” referring (correctly) to wide variety of devices you can choose from. That’s a great feature yes, but they’re idea of running one OS on phones, tablets, and notebooks seems wrong-headed; suggests that you don’t need a wrench, a screwdriver and a hammer because one tool can be made to work for every kind of fastener. Why not optimize?

“Let’s shift topics and talk about media.”

Android Cloud Services team mgr takes the stage.

Movies on Android Market.

market.android.com

Bringing purchase of books and movie rentals to Android Marketplace: buy and instantly stream them to your decices. Rentals start at $1.99.

30 day rental period and once you start watching, you have 24 hours to finish.

They’re using a Xoom tablet for demo. Works via the Web, but also via a new “Movies” app for playback has two tabs: one for rentals, and one for Personal Videos.

“Pinning” feature lets you “pin” a movie to a device; they download into the device in the background.

Carousel shows the usual Demo Darlings: “Inception,” “King’s Speech” and…Burlesque?

UI looks nice.

Part of Honeycomb 3.1 update, going out to Xoom users starting today.

Android Music

Shown off by a Google manager dressed as The Bride from Kill Bill.

(Already this keynote is a turnaround from last years, which kept firing harpoons at Apple.)

“Music Beta” by Google. App for Windows and Mac OS acts as your iTunes. (And the fact that I use that word to explain the entire concept shows you what they’re up against.)

Create a playlist in the app and it’s instantly available on every Android device you use.

They have their own version of Genius playlists (“Instant Mix.”)

“Our model literally listens to your music.” OK, but do you just mean “We analyze beats-per-minute,” I wonder.

“I never have to use a cable to add music again.” Which is a nice feature. But what about offline listeng?

1) They cache music you’ve recently played automatically.

2) You can “pin” music, in a fashion similar to the Movies app.

“If I get a brand new phone, all I have to do is sign in. All my music is right there, right away.” Again, a nice feature. But boy, I REALLY want to examine the terms of service. Am I giving Google a chance to collect metrics about my listening habits?

Beta is invite-only for start, can upload 20,000 songs for start, is free…for start. :)

music.google.com

Back to Hugo.

New Update Alliance

Verizon, HTC, Samsung, Sprint, Sony, LG, T-Mobile, Voda, and AT&T now agree to be part of an alliance to make sure that Android updates roll out in a timely and coordinate fashion.

(Good. This is the biggest pain in the butt for the Android platform.)

More

“Android was always meant to go beyond the mobile phone.”

Enter the Android hardware engineering team.

Announcing “Android Open Accessory.” New API for talking to accessories.

(Kind of like iOS’ support for external devices. Not a lot of support for iPhone and iPad custom external devices yet. Let’s see if Google can make a better case for this in their marketplace.)

Demo has the Android phone plugging into an exercise bike.

Supports USB now, and Bluetooth in the future.

Android Open Accessory Reference Design. The ADK is based on Arduino, which is an EXCELLENT idea. It gives the most popular and affordable development board work with Android.

(As always, though: FOLLOW-THROUGH. Can Android get developers and DYI’ers excited enough about this (really cool) resource to actually do stuff with it?)

“No approval process to make this hardware and release the software.” Good, repeating a valid point about Android versus iOS.

Android @Home

New framework for controlling devices in the home via Android.

“We want you to think of your home as an Android accessory.”

(Oh, no. No. NO.)

(HELL no.)

Can interface with anything that’s electrical in your home…all appliances are potentially an Android device…even dishwashers and stuff.

Demonstrates with a simple “hello world”-type app that controls the lights in the auditorium.

“Can build an alarm clock app that slowly raises the lights in the room and turns on the stereo.”

Partnering with “several industry players.”

One company making Android-enabled LED bulbs.

(OK, lights? Something a little more interesting?)

Android Tungsten. Music devices that run Android and work with Android @ Home.

He dims the lights, to show how this reference speakers and box glow in color. (Who cares?)

“Tablet can direct music to one or more Tungsten boxes.”

So it looks like they’re trying to do something like Apple’s AirPlay, but explaining it in a complicated and fussy way. (Well, this IS a developer keynote, not a consumer one.)

Conceptual demo: you buy a new CD and it has an RFID chip in it. You tap the CD to your Tungsten box and immediately it starts playing that CD.

(Not a product, just a concept. But were they demoing “Now, you only have to carry all 1000 of your CDs with you to control this box” or “it doesn’t matter that this box doesn’t have a copy onboard; it’ll ask the Internet to please send it a ripped copy, because you’ve proven you own this”?)

(I’m guessing the first one.)

(Too many pie-in-the-sky, “here’s what we want you people to do with this” demos so far. Should be more “here’s what we’ve done”s.)

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Google IO has an Oprah Moment: “YOU get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1!! And YOU get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1!!!! And YOUUU get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1!!!!!!” (freebie to all attendees)

And Lastly…

“Thank you for your support.”

(Hmm. Bit thinner than I thought it’d be. I was expecting something about Google Chrome, especially given that they had a whole big deal about the launch a few months ago…and they’ve started actually doing Google Chrome commercials in prime-time. Oh, well.)

12 thoughts on “Google IO Keynote Liveblog”

  1. Was the “One OS Everywhere” slides worrisome to anyone else. Did we trade a “Windows Everywhere” with “One OS Everywhere” monoculture? I’m still coming to terms with letting a Windows CE Uverse box in the house.

  2. Hard to believe they’d just give away those Galaxy Tabs when people are still lining up every morning to buy every single one that comes into inventory…oh, wait…

  3. Interesting. I am still google-free, and see no reason to change this status. Whenever so much stuff is based in the cloud, you’re depending on so many additional devices working perfectly, not just the one in your hand. This does not even include connection and battery issues. Clearly, I’m into simplicity when it comes to accessing music, etc. Or, I’m a techno-hermit.

  4. Thanks for the summary, Andy. The Android Open Accessory thing has me *very* interested as an Electronics nerd, but I really don’t want to go through the hassle of finding a phone that it’ll actually work with (how many phones, other than the Nexus S, will run Android 2.3.4 in the near future?)

    The focus on cloud music and cloud syncing has never really appealed to me. I come from the land of ridiculously stupid data caps (Canada) – syncing my entire media library onto a new device would take *a third* of the monthly allotment on my cable modem (60GB), and the better part of my 3G cap for the summer (6GB / month). I’d much prefer Wifi syncing to a desktop than going out to a Google server and impairing my ability to watch Netflix for the rest of the month.

    The Android @ Home stuff seems kind of interesting, but X10 has been around since the late 70s, so I’m thinking the general public will continue to not care.

  5. When was the last time Apple needed to hand ut freebies to get people excited ? I think they gave away the hockey puck mice once…and we know how that turned out.

  6. Two crucial sentences:

    “Announcing “Android Open Accessory.” New API for talking to accessories.”
    “No approval process to make this hardware and release the software.”

    Confirming Android path to the future. Apple concept can’t compete with this.

    Rest is “meh” and not important.

  7. “Can interface with anything that’s electrical in your home…all appliances are potentially an Android device…even dishwashers and stuff.”

    I’ve seen this movie. Several times. It never ends well for the humans.

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