Android Central Writers Roundtable

We're winging our way out to Google I/O development conference in San Francisco (follow us on Twitter for the inside scoop), where we'll spend a couple of days deep within the Google development community, hear a couple of keynote addresses -- oh, and likely get our first real look at the next major version of Android: Froyo.

We asked your favorite Android Central writers and Smartphone Experts editors about their homes, dreams and fears for Google IO. Check 'em out, after the break.

Phil Nickinson - Android Central editor

We need more than just a newer, faster version of the Android operating system. Iteration is fine, but we really need to see some new major features. We all know the next iPhone's going to bring something shiny this summer. And Android can and must continue to compete.

Working to curb fragmentation also is a must. One of Android's greatest strengths also is its greatest challenge -- the OS is progressing so quickly that carriers and handset manufacturers can't keep parity between devices. And maybe they shouldn't have to, but how many Hero owners are happy watching Android 2.1 from the sidelines?

The Android Market also needs a pretty major revamp. We just saw slight cosmetic changes to the Market's web page -- let's hope that's the start of something more. We need a better way to search for apps. We need to better organize apps and widgets and keyboards and themes. And while we don't necessarily need to eliminate the crappy "sexy lady" apps, we need to get them out of the main feed. The Market is a mess, to put it mildly.

As for the rumor that we'll see some sort of Android television mish-mash, that's great. But I'd rather see Android flourish as a premium mobile operating system than flounder as a mediocre embedded OS. And I've seen a mediocre embedded OS.

But if you wanna boil it down to just once sentence, I don't mind thinking short-term: Bring on Froyo!

Jerry Hildenbrand - Android Central writer

I expect it to be magical. I'd like to see native FLAC support, psuedo 24-bit color (i.e. Palm Pre), better USB host support built into the kernel, and an improved Bluetooth stack. In the SDK itself, I'd like to see better debugging tools, a unified set of legacy APIs (1.5 and 1.6 combined), and that damn https error during the setup resolved.

Ali Fazel - Android Central writer

I'd expect to see the streaming media player actually able to stream formats such as .3gp and .mp3s. I'd like to see Google release the stock Android keyboard into the market (for those of us with HTC keyboards that prefer the Android version). In my wildest dreams Google will announce an iTunes-like media and sync application that can download and sync apps to your phone ... over WiFi.

Adam Sawyer - Android Central writer

Right now I'm just curious if new android versions will run on older devices, or if they can't because of more modern hardware requirements. Also, if they plan on integrating the front-facing camera on the Evo 4G into some sort of Google video talk.

Keith Newman - Android Central/PreCentral writer

I expect to see less fragmentation going forward with Android 2.2 and up. Applications will be standalone and not built into the releases. Therefore, a device can have the latest Gmail or Talk app while it might not necessarily have the same OS version. Also, I expect to see more support for 3D gaming in Android devices, so Gameloft should start rolling out more quality games ala iPhone / Palm Pre.

Rene Ritchie - Editor of TiPB.com

Google will be as fantastic and tragic as we've come to suspect at IO. They'll give phones to all the developers (hopefully learning from GDC that international developers have no use for CMDA Droid's, okay?) They'll reveal another groundbreaking free service that will put an industry out of business, but will only be available in the U.S. They'll announce a new, sugary OS named after a tasty chilled desert that's not ice cream. This new OS will have ridiculously amazing features that are at the at the same time inconsistent and only 95 percent complete.

They'll figure out the current fragmentation that is 47 extra vertical pixels on one device, and custom UI layers retarding deployment of the latest OS on others by introducing a third development model that melds just-in-time virtual machines and native code to deliver ahead-of-time cross-compiling ... and it may or may not be Flash CS5. Speaking of which, Froyo will play Farmville but not Hulu (legal reasons). New faces will show up on the Android team with nary a snark towards Facebook or LinkedIn, though a couple towards Apple.

Eric Schmidt will hide his Blackberry. And maybe, just maybe HTC will show off a 720p version of the EVO that runs on Verizon LTE and will land six months after the iPhone HD. Boom that.

Dieter Bohn - PreCentral/Smartphone Experts Editor in Chief

Can't say I have a clear idea of what to expect form Froyo - what's leaked so far has looked fairly evolutionary. Given that, it's probably not fair to heap 3.0 expectations on a 2.2 release. I'd like to see a lot of little things, but first on my list is a cleanup of the notification area. Android should steal two ideas from webOS: individually dismiss-able notifications and the ability to toggle and *manage* WiFi and Bluetooth from anywhere on the device.

 
There are 10 comments

blakestimac says:

Dieter- if you want to quickly toggle WiFi and other settings, get the app Bar control. It's simple and allows you put stick applications, like togglewifi in the notification bar. It works like a dream. agreed though, Google does need to address this.

ryan820 says:

I'm available for editing if you guys...er...since you guys need some good editors. ;oD

sethjk says:

I'd live to see improved app switching a la palm pre. Task management is fine but actually seeing what's really running would be great.

serpico says:

Coming from a blackberry, android is already an improvement. After a couple of weeks as a new user, I have very few things missing. But the most notable is the lack of a real good music player on the nexus one. The default is ok but I don't see a genre listing for example.

Syncing music has worked ok with the Salling menu app in OSX, but I would prefer to give up on iTunes unless I really need it to buy stuff or make playlists. Third party apps are nice for desktop synchronization but it would be nice to have something native from Google. Listen is a great app for podcasts so it has replaced iTunes on that front.

I want to do more on the phone and less with the computer. Wireless syncing is the future and so far android is doing very well. Another big thing is to have the Google Navigation app work in Canada with 3G data, just save the maps and all to the SD card and let me replace my old TomTom GPS once and for all.

icebike says:

@Ali Fazel:

BOO HISSS! The last thing Android needs is iTunes. My God man what planet do you live on? iTunes defines what is wrong with the iPhone.

@Rene Richie:

Thanks for the drive by shooting. Your fanboy snark level is rising, which must mean you are worried. Yes, seriously, it shows.

afazel says:

I'm WAY late, but... iTunes? HELL no. An iTunes-like program that "just works" without destroying your computer that isn't *required* to sync to your phone? Yes please.

estebancam says:

Now now Rene, Google is in fact getting ahead of Apple in almost every way. And they don't overcharge for it either. I'm writing this on my $2,500 mac, which I bought because I was tired of Windows and it's difficulty of use.

So, yeah, Apple is great and I believe they have the second best software out there (next to webOS), but Google's Android is just so packed with features and amazing hardware that it kind of overshadows the limitations and "clunkyness" of the UI.

Apple's limitations on software and hardware will be what hurts them. I expect almost as many Evo's to be sold as iPhone HD/4G (whatever it's called). This is because Evo has built up hype, and Apple hasn't. Also, Evo has a wealth of new features; enough to bring a Palm fanboy like me to Android. Apple can keep at its game, and that's fine with me (they're good at it), but ultimately, Android will be the winning platform.

Lieutenant says:

that's where you're wrong. iPhone will sell TONS more than the evo 4g. because the iphone 4g has way more hype
http://www.google.com/trends?q=iphone+3g%2C+iphone+4g%2C+evo+4g&ctab=0&g...

misterfan says:

I'd really like to see Android shape up visually. Certainly not at the absolute top of my "want" list, but definitely up there. I've got a sharp device with some dated looking apps. (i.e. Camera App)

I can't wait to see what's in store nonetheless :)

kalleguld says:

@Ali: Have you tried AppBrain? It's pretty close to your wildest dreams (or mine, at least) in terms of app management

@Sethjk: I don't think they'll release that since it goes against the Android principle that the OS can kill a background task whenever it wants to.
Luckily, there are 3rd party task managers.