Yes that is a real picture, even though it's blurry as all get out. (Never claimed to be a photographer :P) No, I didn't get a magic OTA from Phil while he was at Google I/O, it's a 2.2 SDK emulator virtual machine ported over to run on the Nexus One. I'm not the only one doing such outlandish things either. It's mostly for the novelty, and now I can say I have FroYo on my Nexus. It crashes (a lot), not much works, and it's a real PITA to do, but for those who feel the need, links, instructions and a couple more pics are after the break.
Google I/O started off a little slow on Wednesday, but boy did Thursday take over, with the announcement of Android 2.2 -- Froyo -- and Google TV. Here's what we've posted thus far. And while we're headed home from San Francisco, we're not done with the news just yet. More to come.
"The web store as a direct distribution model is really a very small part of the overall Android strategy. With the Nexus One we had the objective of bringing to market a very technologically sophisticated phone, which we did, which really set a new bar for quality. And I think you've seen a lot of the phones in the market today, that have come to market in the past few months, have been influcing, in many ways ... by what the Nexus One was able to do.
"The web store was another element of the strategy. It was, in many ways, an experiment for us. ... Android was in a very different place six months ago. ... And today, we believe that the right thing to do from a distribution perspective is different from what it was a few months ago. And so we've chosen to double down on our partnerships ... we're focusing on building great technology -- being an Internet software company -- and working with our partners on distribution."
Andy Rubin followed up with a great explanation with what goes into working with carriers. Check it out after the break.
I'm pretty sure I could probably fly myself home after spending a few minutes with Laminar Research's X-Plane Android flight simulator (this is no mere "app"), which we toyed around with at Google IO. You have seven airplanes -- Piper Malibu, Beach King-Air, Eclipse Jet-500, Piaggio Avanti, Cirrus Vision, Cessna 172 and Columbia 400 -- from which you can choose, and it features custom terrain (no Google Earth here) and even shows where lift is affecting the aircraft. It's not available yet in the Android Market because they're waiting for a few technical issues (with the Market, not their app) to be resolved. But hopefully we'll see this soon. Check it out after the break. Anybody want to navigate for me?
First question out of the gate today for the Android leadership at Google IO was about everybody's favorite subject: fragmentation. And VP of engineering Andy Rubin put things in perspective:
Some of the press has called this "fragmentation," and that's probably the wrong word for this. The better word for it is "legacy." These phones and devices ... the iteration ... is incredibly fast.
And when we stop to think about it, we like that term. It's not all fire and brimstone like you guys are looking for, but it's the way it is.
Look, that's really not going to make a lot of you happy. But that's just the hard truth: These phones are progressing extremely fast. At some point yours will be old. At some point ours will be old. And we'll all have to live with that.
A small programming note, people: Due to our regularly scheduled Android Central Podcast falling smack in the middle of Google IO/cross-country travel, we're going to push it back a day this week. So, no podcast tonight. Instead, join us Friday at 7 p.m. EDT / 4 p.m. PDT as we wrap up all the week's Android news -- including Froyo and Flash -- and we might even have a few special treats to give away. We'll be at AndroidCentral.com/live. See you Friday!
You guys keep asking, and here's the official answer: Android 2.2 -- Froyo -- is trickling out in the SDK now, but it's going to be a few weeks before we see it on phones en masse. That doesn't mean we won't see it anywhere, just that you don't need to be checking for updates (and e-mailing us) every day, m'kay? [Twitter]
The Google Voice app for Android received a nice update today, so for all those looking for Froyo from Google I/O but were bummed it didn't get pushed to you today, at least you can check out this update. The last update that this application received was a rather large one with the message syncing, which gave nearly instant notification of SMS, and this features has been further improved in the latest build. In addition to the refinement of this feature, they have added the ability to turn on and off SMS forwarding from the application, as well as fix a few other bugs. One great new feature is that now in the notification pull down, it says who the SMS is from, instead of "1 Google Voice Message" like it used to. Overall, nothing earth shattering, but a very solid release with some great new features. [Google Mobile]
Today brought a slew of FroYo toppings, and Adobe AIR is just one of them. While this might not be as exciting to some of us upon first glancing, it probably should be. Adobe AIR is an easy way for developers to take their Flash programs and package them up nice and neatly to run as standalone apps on Android 2.2. This could enable a developer to remove the need for an internet connection and the need for the browser to use their application. They've announced that the pre-release version will include a 30 day trial of the direct to publishing method; it seems like Adobe wants to get a bunch of apps translated quickly so they can strut their stuff. At Google IO they showed off a few select applications from developers who were in the closed AIR program. Stay tuned, because the Android Market is going to explode! [via Adobe AIR blogs]
We heard a bit of talk about Hulu this morning in all the Google TV hooplah. And it was reiterated later that the usual rule applies: Google TV has all the Flash it needs to watch Hulu. The question is will Hulu -- and any other only provider for that matter -- want to make itself available on Google TV. It's the exact same situation we're in with the Skyfire browser. Skyfire will play Hulu just fine, but Hulu doesn't want to be available on Skyfire, and so it blocks it.
There's still plenty of time for things to be worked out, and plenty of content providers that hopefully be lined up around the block to get on board.
We obviously have plenty of Froyo features to do deep dives on in the coming days and weeks, but there's one new feature that we want to point out that has us particularly excited: voice dialing with Bluetooth headsets. Android Central reader Luke tipped us off to take a closer look at Google's Android 2.2 rundown and right there, plain as day, they drop the bluetooth bomb:
Voice dialing over Bluetooth
Ability to share contacts with other phones
Support for Bluetooth enabled car and desk docks
Improved compatibility matrix with car kits and headsets
All of the above is quite nice, but given that Android is miles ahead of other mobile platform when it comes to robust voice support, it's good to see them finally check that box off.
With support for Flash Player 10.1, Google TV customers have access to the full web. This includes the approximately 75% of online videos and web games that use Flash, the vast numbers of rich Internet applications, and content across social networks. Flash Player 10.1 will support hardware-accelerated video playback and deliver smooth, HD (1080p) quality video on Google TV devices. We're excited that having Flash Player 10.1 as a key part of Google TV will enable an additional screen for the more than 3 million Flash developers to create content for.
Hit this link for a video of it in action. Really, the best thing we can say about the demos we saw today is that this stuff just works. Flash works. It's there. And we can't wait to try it out.
Logitech has gone ahead and put out a few details on their "companion box" for the just announced Google TV. They plan on 'leveraging [their] Harmony remote technology," which will mean you won't need a separate IR repeater to control the other elements of your home entertainment system and will mean you can still have a single remote for the whole shootin' match. Well, actually that's not true, as their set-top box will also "include a controller that's specifically designed to optimize the Google TV experience - combining a compact keyboard, remote control, and touchpad." Logitech will also apparently have their own smartphone app to control their box.
Logitech also hopes to add an HDTV camera and video calling software so you can do videoconferencing right from your couch.
We don't know the specific branding yet, nor do we have a release date beyond "later this fall." One thing we do know now, and this might depress a bunch of you, is that Logitech says their product will be US-only, we suspect the same might be true for Google TV in general.
Battery and power: We added a new capability called instance management to intelligently load and play back Flash content only after it comes within view on the web page. This capability also allows us to work in conjunction with the browser to ensure the web page is loaded as quickly as possible. ... A related capability we added is called pause and resume. Flash Player will automatically pause the content that is running when the browser is hidden from view or the current tab is placed in the background.
Maximizing performance: To take advantage of these highly integrated hardware environments, we took a very comprehensive look at how Flash Player uses the CPU, GPU, memory, and storage. The Flash Player team, with engineering cooperation across our Open Screen Project partners, meticulously optimized the machine instructions used in our virtual machine, rendering engine, and media codecs to run efficiently on mobile hardware. ... The investments we made in execution speed will be apparent in a broad range of content, from Flash applications to games to video, and everything in between. We took an extensive look at the performance characteristics of Flash Player in many different scenarios and drove considerable improvements in the execution speed.
Conserving memory: We have added automatic compression of media in memory to matchthe typically smaller screen size and color depth of a mobile device. We have also enhanced the memory garbage collection system to work more effectively, particularly in low memory situations. We made changes to more aggressively release temporary buffers and media caches for images and audio data. These changes have translated into some dramatic improvements. In some cases, you'll see content that now automatically consumes 50% less memory with Flash Player 10.1 when compared to our previous release.
Usability: Multitouch is included. It also has smart zooming and knows when to go full-screen. Text fields will know whether to use soft or physical keyboards, and the accelerometer is fully functional.
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