Author Archives: Vincent Nguyen


Jason Chen answers questions about Android

Right after the Google IO keynote on Tuesday, I rushed off to attend the press conference and as result missing the first few Android sessions.  It's a good thing that Ed Burnette of ZDNet, we have a few more questions answered as well as clearing up some confusion regarding the Android platform.

The Introduction to Android platform session lasted around 90-minutes.  Jason announced that the source code to Android is currently available to Google's Open Handset Alliance (OHA) partners.  The general public will get access to the source code when the first handset (that being the Android HTC Dream phone) ships.  At such time, Android will be called "Android Version 1.0."  Android version 1.0 will be available to everyone and anyone who wants to download and port Android to any phone or any other devices they so desire.  Once Android version 1.0 hits the street, you do not have to be an OHA member and you don't need to sign anything or ask for anyone's permission to install Android on any device.  The audience wanted to know when will Android version 1.0 be available.  Unfortunately, Google would not provide any specific dates other than "the second half of 2008."  When pressed, a Google source stated that it wasn't really their call alone to make.  The release date is largely up to OHA members, especially manufacturers making the phones and the carriers who will sell and distribute the Android phones.  Lets hope all 31+ OHA members don't take too long to decide when's the best time to release Android version 1.0. After his presentation, Jason opened up the floor for questions... Q. What if somebody wants to build an application that is similar to a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that can run other programs. What security implications are there for these kinds of applications? A. It's possible to do but we haven't thought about it. There is a large security team working on Android. There are languages that are working to port their bytecode to the Dalvik VM, so it won't just be for the Java language. Q. Traditionally carriers rip out things. What steps do you take to prevent somebody like Cingular from making an "almost-Android" phone? A. They could do that if they wanted because it's open source. But Android is a complete stack of software so why would you want to break it? There's value in a full stack and in a lot of applications. There's no incentive to alter it in ways that wouldn't be compatible. We want manufacturers and operators to customize in ways they can differentiate. They don't all have to have the same home screen, the same look and feel, and so forth but they should be able to run any Android apps. Q. When do developers get hardware? A. When everybody else does (when retail phones are for sale). Q. Does Android platform development follow the JSR (Java Specification Request) model? A. Android is not Java technology. It uses the Java programming language but Dalvik is not a JVM. It's not claiming to be Java tech. Q. Is support for Flash lite planned? A. Not at the moment. Q. Will there be an SDK for PPC Macs? A. Don't think so. Just Intel. Q. Will you have aesthetic standards like the iPhone? A. We're working with UI designers to put out a user interface guideline. Also android provides standard UI widgets. About Jason Chen Jason is currently a developer advocate at Google where he works on ensuring that developers for the Android platform are successful. He previously led the developer support team for Google Checkout. Prior to joining Google, Jason worked at IBM and Urchin Software.

Android phones still on track this year!

Recent rumors earlier today from a source familiar with the situation reported that "although a large number of people are hard at work on the Gphone and the open-source operating system/platform for mobile devices (Android) the actual Gphone will not be ready for release this year.

The Android Dream phone demoed during the keynote wowed me along with a whole bunch of people at Google IO as well as those that didn't attend.  As far as I'm concerned, Google along with OHA partners are on track to announce Android-powered phones this year. Google Spokesperson had this to say regarding my inquiries into this matter: "We're still on track to announce Android-powered phones this year. Some of our partners are publicly stating that they plan to ship Android phones in the fourth quarter." When asked whether Google is getting into the business of making hardware, a la the gPhone, I was given the following statement: "We hope the Android platform will spur the development of thousands of different kinds of phones. It's too soon to tell what forms these phones will take, but we've excited about the possibilities this kind of open platform will engender, and the benefits that users will ultimately enjoy. We envision phones that will feature more engaging, easier-to-use interfaces and a rich portfolio of applications -- all of which will make it much easier to do more with the phone than just voice calls or simple messaging." - Google Spokesperson Well there you have it, if Google says Android is on track to announce Android phones this year, that's good enough for me.

Google Android Application Market

A question came up during the Android Fireside chat regarding Android application distribution system.

"We’ve thought about it. It would be a great benefit to the Android community if there’s a place people can go to safely and securely download their content and have a billing system so that developers can get paid for their effort, and I have nothing to announce today, we’ve thought of it…We wouldn't have done our job if we didn't provide something that helps developers get distribution." –Andy Rubin

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cledOMNKl8Y[/youtube]

Well there it is folks, if you read between the lines, it sounds as though Google is working on an Android app store for content distribution.

Google IO2008 after hour party!

Google really knows how to throw a great party. After a long day of listening to folks talk about various topics ranging from Android to Google App Engine, all you want to do is kick back and relax with a nice cold adult beverage or shoot some pool with that new programmer you connected with at the Fireside Chat. You’ll see from the video below that Google has entertainment, music, arcades, plenty of food, drinks (lots of drinks) and most important of all, thousands and thousands of people from around the world hanging out.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p05FcwoYej0[/youtube]

In the next article/video, I’ll walk you through the “other side” of this room to tour the different groups just hanging out and chit chatting about YouTube, Google Web Toolkit, Google Data APIs, Gears, OpenSocial Application, Android, etc. As Robert of Scolbleizer.com put, “How can you tell what’s hot at a conference?” Come to the party and check out the size of the crowds around the tables.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aaSMtxRHEU[/youtube]

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Meet the leads for Android platform

Android Fireside Chat is a Q&A session that is often considered the best part of Google IO, as it gives developers a chance to ask what's on their minds as well as talk to the product engineering teams. Come tell the team what you want, discuss issues and design decisions, and hear the team's thoughts on just about whatever you ask.  In this first, you’ll get to meet the leads for Android platform.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quM0S3ZXhEw[/youtube]

More videos from the Android Fireside Chat coming soon.

That me - with the best seat in the house!

Android prototype Q&A video and transcript plus hardware details

After wowing the IO conference crowd with their Android prototype demonstration, the developers sat down for a Q&A session.  The question on everyones' lips was what exactly the demo hardware consisted of, and who made it; while the answer to the latter was under NDA, we were given some details of the former.  Based on a 528MHz Qualcomm processor, the smartphone used a Synaptics capacitive touchscreen and the UMTS cellular standard; the demo itself was carried out using a 3.6Mbps HSDPA connection.  Android's memory requirements continue to be reasonable: the prototype had 128MB of RAM and 256MB of flash.

First LIVE images and videos of FULLSCREEN Android demos!

Google's latest Android prototype is miles improved over the versions we last saw. Back at CES the GUI was clunky and the whole thing looked relatively primative; Google themselves asked us to keep an open mind and instead concentrate on the OS' potential. Now, they've brought out a device that you could, frankly, mistake for production hardware.  The HTC Android Dream phone is a worthy competitor to the forthcoming iPhone 2.0! As our exclusive demo videos show, the Android team have been putting in some long hours bringing the user interface up to the standard people expect. The iPhone sets the bar high, and leftfield rivals like Samsung's TouchWiz GUI really pile on the pressure. What they've given us is, at first glance, a blend of the successful parts of each of those, together with a dose of Google's own minimalist aesthetic. Hopefully you'll agree with us, once you've looked through the photos and watched the video, that the design is a winner. In this first video, we see an overview of the new interface and menu structure, including the clever pattern-based unlock screen. Much of the GUI can be interacted with - for instance pulling down the title bar reveals missed calls and new messages - using the familiar palatte of swipes and taps. You can also see the straightforward way to create shortcuts on the home screen; a matter of holding down your finger and then following through the contextual menus. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arXolJrLVEg[/youtube] Next up, Google's Street View gets the Android treatment with a built-in compass. That lets you pan around the location-based image, turning the handset into something of an augmented reality device. As you can tell by the applause, this was one of the most popular apps! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PRfVKzuUJ4[/youtube] Google briefly touched on their work with developers, including the latest round of entries in their Android Developers Challenge. Here you can see a port of Pacman, developed for the handset: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfruA4RzzpQ[/youtube] In this last video, a demo of Google Maps, you can see how closely the Android experience matches that of the desktop. All of the usual mapping options are present - satellite views, traffic, etc. - and, with a 3G network, load and update quickly. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBHx5jHsqiU[/youtube] Pac-Man on Android for the firs time! [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q3gGNtbxhQ[/youtube] Customize how you want to unlock Android [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGCIlAwrpvI[/youtube] [gallery]

Google IO keynote: “Client, Connectivity, and the Cloud”

Google will be announcing quite a bit of news over the next two days, starting with the opening keynote and a press conference this morning.

The keynote will be given by Vic Gundotra, VP of engineering, at 9:30am in Moscone West.  The title of the keynote will be  "Client, Connectivity, and the Cloud." After the keynote, there will be a press conference where I'll have an opportunity to ask Google spokespeople additional questions and see product demos.  They'll be discussing the news and may have some time for 1 on 1s. 9:47AM The lights dimmed and keynote is about to start!  Vid Gundotra is on stage - Engineering VP, Google Inc.  There are now standing room only! Vid is painting a picture of how Google will move forward with the "What? Why? How?" right now.  Allen Hurff, Engineering SVP is up on stage talking about what MySpace is doing with Gears.  MySpace allows for search and sort in mail and it's available now if you have Gears installed. Stay tune for tons of Android info and demos!!! [gallery]

New AndroidGlobalTime app added to the apps-for-android project

AndroidGlobalTime has been added to the apps-for-android project. It is a 3D world clock open source application developed by an engineer at Google. It's intended to serve as an illustrative of how to use the OpenGL ES APIs in your Android Applications.
Just a quick word on how to use AndroidGlobalTime. When you launch it, you'll see a spinning globe showing day and night regions. Pressing the space bar will overlay an analog clock with the time corresponding to location you're currently examining. The arrow keys allow you to spin the Earth and traverse through different time-zones while the clock is displayed. Pressing the center key in the emulator toggles between a 3D and 2D view of the earth. Pressing the L key will turn the city lights on or off. You can also zoom-out by pressing 2 and zoom-in by pressing 8. - Megha Josh
Enjoy!

Google IO: Android Community will be there – are you going?

Hey everyone - I just got my Google IO registration email this morning.  I'm planning on attending and providing coverage (video and blog) the following sessions in addition to the keynote at 9:30AM on 5/28.  If you're attending, make sure to shoot me an email or post your reply in this thread.  I'm looking forward to meeting all you "android heads" at Google IO!
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