Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Android at Google I/O 2010

The Android intensity at Google I/O 2010 was definitely palpable. The Android presence included all of Day 2’s keynote along with a full session track, office hours, an Android device display of over 50 phones, and (many people’s favorite) the Developer Sandbox.

Vic Gundotra kicked off the Day 2 keynote with over 20 demos of the new features from Android release 2.2, internally called “Froyo” (see this summary on the Android Developers’ Blog). The second half of the keynote was devoted to Google TV. For more details on that announcement, you can read The Google TV Story.

During the conference, there were ten in-depth sessions dedicated to Android, two fireside chats (including one with OEMs), and one session that combined discussion of Android and iPhone issues. The sessions were:

  • A beginner’s guide to Android by Reto Meier - This one featured an amazingly packed, wall-to-wall, no-standing-room-left crowd, and once it became apparent that the crowd was already quite Android-savvy, the session turned into a Best and Worst Practices talk.

  • Writing real-time games for Android, redux by Chris Pruett - A crash course in Android game development: everything you need to know to get started writing 2D and 3D games, as well as tips, tricks, and benchmarks to help your code reach optimal performance. The crowd in this session’s room showed that games are one of the hottest Android application areas.

  • The world of ListView by Romain Guy and Adam Powell - It might seem a bit odd to dedicate an entire session to one UI widget, but Android’s ListView is large, reasonably complex, and very widely used. Romain and Adam had to work hard to fit their material into just one talk.

  • Casting a wide net: how to target all Android devices by Justin Mattson - This session covered an increasingly important subject now that there are over 60 Android devices, with significant variations in their size, shape, and capabilities.

  • Developing Android REST client applications by Virgil Dobjanschi - Virgil discussed the meat and potatoes of fitting Android clients into an increasingly-RESTful Web ecosystem. No user-interface flash here, but totally essential back-end plumbing guidance.

  • A JIT Compiler for Android's Dalvik VM by Ben Cheng and Bill Buzbee - JIT stands for “Just In Time”, and it’s a technique for making compute-heavy Android programs run faster; maybe as much as four times faster. Definitely behind-the-scenes stuff, but a subject nearly everyone cares about.

  • Writing zippy Android apps by Brad Fitzpatrick - Making your code run fast requires combining good design with a large grab-bag of hard-won best practices. For any serious Android developer: this is a must-see session, so I hope you make use of the session video and slides!

  • Advanced Android audio techniques by Dave Sparks - Integrating audio into your apps involves a lot of choices and trade-offs at a bunch of levels. Furthermore, there are new media framework APIs in Android 2.2. Lots of good, detailed drill-down in this session.

  • Building push applications for Android by Debajit Ghosh - What was called “push” while it was being built is now called Cloud To Device Messaging (C2DM), and it’s very nicely integrated into the SDK; we anticipate that a lot of developers will want to use this.

  • Android UI design patterns by Chris Nesladek et al. - The Android User Experience team shared their insights on how to design great Android apps.

There were also two Fireside chats. One with a panel of Android handset manufacturers, and another with a stage full of leading engineers from the Android team. The panelists took questions from the people in the room and from over the Web via Google Moderator and Google Wave.

On Thursday afternoon, a gaggle of Android engineers held office hours; the area was absolutely jam-packed with developers full of questions about everything from low-level hardware interfaces to telephony chips up through the finer points of Live Wallpapers. Everyone had fun and went home tired.

On both days of the conference, there was a large (bright green, of course) display case full of Android devices, surrounded by the app developers and handset manufacturers participating in the Developer Sandbox. This area was crowded from the start of I/O until the security folks eventually chased out the stragglers after closing. Here is quick video of a slow walk past the big display case.

Videos and slides for each session are linked from the titles above, and you can find all the Android session videos from Google I/O 2010 in this YouTube playlist.

The Android team had an amazing time meeting the developer community at this year’s I/O, and we hope you’ll stay up-to-date on Android news by following us on the Android Developers Blog!

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