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.