Android Highlights from Google IO2010

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Today’s Google IO 2010 keynote focused on all the cool stuff that’s coming to Android phones, and some other very cool Android-news.

To-date, there are over 50,000 apps from 180,000 developers in the Android Market.

Sixty Android devices have been released (or announced) since the first one (HTC Dream/G1) was released in October 2008.

Android 2.2 is Faster

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As we suspected, Android 2.2 will feature a HUGE increase in speed thanks to the JIT compiler. By using JIT to compile apps into native code (rather than running them through a translator) apps should run at least twice as fast, and potentially up to 5 times as fast, regardless of your hardware.

This translates into frame-rates much faster than 35fps.

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Web rendering has been made even faster with the inclusion of the V8 Javacript engine, which can run javascript 2-3 times faster than the previous version.

Better Battery Life?

“If your Android battery doesn’t last all day, there’s something wrong.” – unknown

Are you getting less-than-expected battery life? It’s the apps that you’re running. Sounds a lot like an article I wrote not too long ago.

Much of this may be due to apps making frequent calls to web services (Twitter, Facebook, etc.). Google is introducing a new API which will essentially allow developers to push notifications through Google’s servers, much like Gmail and Google Voice do. This should result in much better battery life, as well as more up-to-date information in apps that use the new notification API.

Better Enterprise Support

Microsoft Exchange support has been improved. Autodiscovery, security policies, GAL lookup, and Device Administration APIs are now available. To quote from the keynote: “We are now Exchange’s friend.”

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Google is adding a new API to make changing phones easier (move apps and settings easily) via app settings Backup API. Using this API developers will be able to store their app’s settings and data online, so when you flash the latest version or replace your phone, all your settings and data in apps that use this API will be restored as well.

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This is huge. In Android 2.2 you can now tether your laptop to your Android phone via USB, or turn your Android into a WiFi hot-spot.

HTML5 Can talk to your phone’s sensors

With HTML5, web pages will be able to access your phone’s sensors. We’re familiar with location awareness in the browser, now imagine websites that know what direction you’re looking via the compass, what elevation you’re holding your phone via the accelerometer, and even what your battery temperature is. This means with HTML5 websites, we could see an entirely new kind of gaming emerge.

Enhancements to Voice Input

Enhanced voice-recognition will now look for a greater set of keywords and enable searching across more data on your phone and on the web.

Using Google Translate you can now talk to your Android and Google Translate will transcribe your spoken text into written text, then speak it back in any language that Google Translate supports. That’s one step closer to Star Trek’s Universal Translator!

Adobe

“It turns out that on the internet, people use Flash.” Yes, Flash and Air will be included in Android 2.2. You can even get in line to beta test Flash 10.1 for Android today!

Install Apps on your sdcard

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Apps2SD now officially part of Android. This lets you install your apps to your sdcard rather than internal storage, saving space and allowing more apps to be installed.

Bulk-Update Your Apps

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When updates are available, apps can now be updated in bulk, no more updating each app one by one. If an update for an app includes changed permissions you will still need to update it manually, this is for your security and protection.

Better Apps are Coming!

Crash reporting will now be accessible by app developers. When you are running an app and a “Force Close” error is thrown you will have an option to send a crash report to the developer.

Market

You’ll be able to search the Market from your desktop or laptop computer and select apps to have installed to your Android over the air.

Music will be part of the Android Market. You’ll be able to buy music and send it to your Android from your desktop. Will videos be next? Is this Android’s iTunes/Zune store competition?

Media

You’ll be able to stream music from your home collection to your Android. Does it have to be on the same WiFi bubble, or will it do this over 3G? We’ll have to wait and see.

Google TV: spend less time searching for what you want to watch, and more time actually watching it. Episodes are pulled from various sources: network websites, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc. Yes, native Netflix support in Google TV. Picture-in-picture, allows you to surf the web while watching TV. Your Android phone can be used like a remote control for your Android TV via WiFi.


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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video. Read more about Joe Levi here.