Monday, May 23, 2011

Google I/O 2011 ~ My Impressions

This was my second Google I/O and it lived upto it's expectations for a show that Google can only put on, although Sun Microsystems used to do that on a larger scale with JavaOne, and I attended everyone of them. Although Google I/O was much smaller than JavaOne in terms of size (Only Moscone West was used for 2 days whereas JavaOne sprawled over Moscone South and North Halls for 4 days) and sessions offerings, Google I/O topped JavaOne in terms of device giveaways and the buzz. The cutest sight around the conference floors has been the Arduino and Hansbro Bots (robots) from small to PR2 full-sized humanoids. The mini Hansbro 'droids looked cute trying to balance on 2 wheels.

Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome OS, HTML 5, Web Accessibility and Accessory Development Kit were some of the hot topics this year. Some of the goodies that the attendees got this were Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Verizon 4G LTE Hotspot plus 3 month complementary 4G data plan. In some sessions, I heard on the grapevine that attendees of that particular seesion also got ADK kits, Sony Ericcson Xperia PlayStation Portable phones and LG Tablets.

Finally the variety and breadth of Android devices from phones to tablets that were displayed in huge showcases on the conference floor was impressive (I will post a link to the pictures shortly). Android is here to stay but I don't think it's a threat to Apple! They cater to different audiences and users.

Here's some highlights that caught my eye as I attended this year's conference:

1. The Robots that were happily strolling the Moscone West floors were quite a sight since they were actually being controlled by Android Accessory Development Kit (ADK), that is Google's way of putting Android on other devices other than phones. According to, the Open Accessory is a set of APIs that let third-party devices i.e., bike actually sync up with your Gingerbread 2.3 or Honeycomb 3.0 devices to send data to and fro in both directions. It will use USB for now, with option to use Bluetooth in future, with a compatible app (CardioQuest app was used for the bike), and the best part is you will be able to write your own app using the ADK.

With this ADK, the Accessory API takes Android into uncharted territory that Apple's iOS is unlikely to explore. Arduino has been selected by Google as the hardware platform for the ADK. Here's the ADK Presentation:

2. The Secrets of the Google Pac-Man presentation was very enjoyable and I loved the doodle part of the Google logo that we see on special occasions on Google home page. The audience was in rapt attention and clearly seemed to be awed by it.

3. Ice Cream Sandwich ~ a Google concept taken from Java's Write Once, Run Anywhere (WORA) philosophy that aims to put an end to fragmentation of Android on the next wave of Android device OS versions. The Android 3.1 Honeycomb is dubbed the Ice Cream Sandwich that will port Honeycomb features to smartphones to curb the Android platform fragmentation into dozens of different versions. The coolest feature of Ice Cream Sandwich is the merger of Gingerbread (Smartphones) and Honeycomb (Tablets) to run one OS on all Android phones and tablets. Hence the buzz about Ice Cream Sandwich at the Keynote 1 this year.

4. The Honeycomb Highlights presentation was very informative and helpful in uncovering the secrets of this new platform for Tablets. I loved the New Widgets design and the UI features. The eBooks reader app makes the page turning/flipping of the book seem like you are actually flipping the pages on a real (physical) book. Also loved the concave and convex gallery of pictures in a slideshow like format.

Check out this presentation at:

5. HTML 5 was all over the place, especially in the Google TV area, and had lots of vendors touting HTML 5 applications.

6. Javascript ~ highly touted by Google, especially at this year's conference.

7. I thoroughly enjoyed the Designing And Implementing Android UIs for Phones and Tablets presentation from the perspective of a QA/QE Engineer as the UI fascinates me and I have a fascination with creating a good user experience on different devices.

8. Java Puzzlers - wanted to attend this but clash of sessions made me miss it. Having attended one last year, I am very familiar with Joshua Bloch's style and loved it last time.

9. One of the most interesting session was How to Get Your Startup Idea Funded by Venture Capitalists. It was inspiring and enlightening to hear the panel talk about their experiences and trials and tribulations. Check it out at:

Honorable Mentions (Recommendations about sessions I wanted to attend but couldn't due to conflicts):

Catch all the great sessions from Google I/O on the Google website: @deccandude

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