Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 20th May 2010 18:29 UTC
Google At the Google I/O conference, Google just held its second keynote address, which focussed on Android. The talk was held by Vic Gundotra, and he unveiled a number of new features coming in Android 2.2 "Froyo", as well as some features coming in Froyo+1. The main theme of the entire keynote? Openness and choice, and a whole bucketload of not-so-subtle jabs at Apple. I'd like to apologise upfront for a possible lack of critical notes in this article - I'm still handing out the brownie points to Google for yesterday.
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Comment by phoenix
by phoenix on Thu 20th May 2010 22:21 UTC
phoenix
Member since:
2005-07-11

One of the features that really stood out is an internet-to-device messaging service, which, according to Google, is "much more than a push notification service designed to make up for a lack of basic features like multitasking". This new service can perform some interesting tricks, such as send navigation instructions looked up on your PC to your Android device - which will automatically open the navigation application and set up the route. Or, you can send a link to your phone, and the link will be automatically opened on the phone's browser. The possibilities are endless here.


I'll reserve judgment on this until I see exactly how it's implemented, but right now it sounds scary. Do you really want some random <thing> on the Internet to send a message to your phone, and have the phone start an application based on that info? Sounds like a security nightmare waiting to happen.

However, if they've thought about it long and hard enough, maybe they've come up with a way to make it safe. We'll see when it hits devices.

There are more internet-based features in Froyo, such as the ability to stream your entire music collection from your desktop or laptop computer to your phone. You can play the music on your phone as if it is stored on the device, while it's actually being streamed. Pretty cool.


Stream the uncompressed WAV? Or transfer the MP3 and play it on the phone? Hopefully it's the latter, or else everyone's data charges are going to go through the roof. ;)

Android is moving fast - very fast. In fact, it is developing at a pace that far exceeds its competitors. Android has been out there for 18 months, and has already seen seven new versions. Between now and the end of this year, we'll see two major new versions (Froyo today, Gingerbread in Q4). Apple can manage about one release a year, and already, Froyo adds a lot of tricks iPhone users (like myself) can only dream of; can you imagine what Gingerbread is going to do?


That's actually one of the biggest problems with Android: development is happening too fast.

2.2 is about to be released ... and there are still 1.5 phones (LG Eve) being sold, and new 1.6 phones (Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and X10 mini) hitting the market.

There's also a bazillion different CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, screen sizes, screen resolutions out there. On the one hand, you can get a device with the specific hardware features you want. On the other hand, it's a royal pain to develop for (especially to optimise for), as everything gets written "for the lowest common denominator".

Sure, Apple only releases upgrades once a year, and there's only 1 form factor and hardware version to choose from. But at least it's stable and easy to target.

I'll be happy when Android development starts to slow, with only 1 or 2 major updates per year, and vendors can actually start to provide updates for existing phones. There's nothing worse than buying a phone today with 1.5 or 1.6 on it, only to find out tomorrow you can't upgrade it, or you can only upgrade to 2.0.

Edited 2010-05-20 22:41 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by phoenix
by Kroc on Thu 20th May 2010 22:32 in reply to "Comment by phoenix"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

It’s absolutely frustrating that the SDK doesn’t come with any emulator templates. I just want to test stuff, I just want to select a handset model and know that it is equivalent to the real hardware, including H.264 limits—which I cannot test! Absolutely maddening.

HTML5 video playback is currently as good as useless in Android and I’ll be damned if I can test as the Emulator bares absolutely no relation to actual hardware. At least the iPhone emulator is simple and largely accurate.

head => desk.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Comment by phoenix
by ricegf on Thu 20th May 2010 22:55 in reply to "Comment by phoenix"
ricegf Member since:
2007-04-25

I believe that's frustrating to a geek, but I doubt it's frustrating to a normal person.

My wife (a normal person) has a Cliq (Android 1.5), and she's never mentioned it. I doubt she even knows what version of the OS her phone runs.

What she *does* know is that (for example) the Kindle for Android page on Amazon says "works with Motorola Cliq". THAT's significant!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by phoenix
by nt_jerkface on Fri 21st May 2010 06:37 in reply to "RE: Comment by phoenix"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I believe that's frustrating to a geek, but I doubt it's frustrating to a normal person.


Some applications have been broken by updates and some phones can't be updated to 2.1 which limits what users can buy.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by phoenix
by Shkaba on Thu 20th May 2010 23:23 in reply to "Comment by phoenix"
Shkaba Member since:
2006-06-22


...
2.2 is about to be released ... and there are still 1.5 phones (LG Eve) being sold, and new 1.6 phones (Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and X10 mini) hitting the market.

There's also a bazillion different CPUs, GPUs, chipsets, screen sizes, screen resolutions out there. On the one hand, you can get a device with the specific hardware features you want. On the other hand, it's a royal pain to develop for (especially to optimise for), as everything gets written "for the lowest common denominator".

Sure, Apple only releases upgrades once a year, and there's only 1 form factor and hardware version to choose from. But at least it's stable and easy to target.

I'll be happy when Android development starts to slow, with only 1 or 2 major updates per year, and vendors can actually start to provide updates for existing phones. There's nothing worse than buying a phone today with 1.5 or 1.6 on it, only to find out tomorrow you can't upgrade it, or you can only upgrade to 2.0.


As far as hardware landscape (ecosystem) is concerned, this is starting to remind me of MS vs Apple. I'll choose variety every time. As for, what is on offer in the market, that is hardly under Google's control as opposed to iPhone. Guess who gets my vote there ... guys that allow markets to decide which device is sold.

As for the release speed, you are right this is waaaayyy to fast but it is a normal evolution towards a stable, feature rich operating system which is when the release cycles tend to slow down.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Comment by phoenix
by stabbyjones on Fri 21st May 2010 00:18 in reply to "Comment by phoenix"
stabbyjones Member since:
2008-04-15

My HTC Hero came with 1.5, then I put 2.1 on there myself. I'm sure once 2.2 comes out there will be ROMS for 2.2 as well.

Moving quickly is Androids biggest bonus for me. Phone companies will never be quick to update once they've released a phone. (official hero 2.1 anyone?) This way i can have the latest without having to wait.

Then after a few years when my phone can't handle the newest android i'll just buy another one.

I've had it for 3 months and fully expect a solid 2 years out of it seeing as my phone is getting FASTER with every update.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by phoenix
by kristoph on Fri 21st May 2010 05:44 in reply to "RE: Comment by phoenix"
kristoph Member since:
2006-01-01

You missed the point.

The issue is that the vast majority of Android devices are 1.5/1.6 and most users do not update so most developers (like us for example) cannot really make use of 2.x features.

In fairness, iPhone OS 4 will introduce some issues for us too (because it's not compatible with the devices before iPhone 3GS).

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Reply Parent Score: 1