Hey guys! I’m live blogging from Google’s big Android keynote today. The Internet in the convention center’s Internet is fixed, so let’s go for it! Keep refreshing for the latest updates (please).
Google vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra is running the show. The jabs at Apple are numerous. He rants about us not wanting “one man from one company with one phone on one carrier”. Ha.
– I’m skipping the “Android is awesome — look at our stats” part.
– Android 2.2 (FroYo) is official! Here are the highlights.
- Speed — The new JIT compiler speeds up Android two to five times. The benefits can be seen on all hardware. This should make users of the HTC G1 happy.
- Enterprise — FroYo has 29 new enterprise features. Out-of-the-box support for Microsoft Exchange has been okay at best. Google is addressing things will improved syncing, remote wipes, etc. Depending on how good and easy-to-implement these features are, RIM and its BlackBerry phones could be in trouble.
- Tethering and Portable Hotspots — Most of you knew this was coming. It’s still awesome though. Google is showing an iPad tethering off a Nexus One. Ha!
- Web Browser is Two to Three Times Faster — The company has implemented tech from the Google Chrome browser (V8) in Android. It’s a browser speed contest: iPad vs. Nexus One. The Nexus One trounces the iPad, despite the latter having a much faster processor. Of course this is Google’s test, so what else was it going to show?
– Voice recognition will be a big part of Android going forward. The demo is pretty slick. I’m sure the effectiveness will depend on the clarity of your voice. Complex voice searches were made. Phones calls were made too, but that’s been done before. Saying a long, complex search term is much faster than typing it (especially on a virtual keyboard).
– Big cheers for the Adobe and Flash logos. Vic says, “It turns out, on the Internet…people use Flash!” Flash is shown running
– Applications can now be stored on SD cards. This was a huge flaw in the Android ecosystem. It needed to be addressed.
– App updates can now be turned off or run automated in the background.
– The Android Marketplace has been greatly improved for desktop browsers. Users can look at apps, read reviews, purchase apps, and have them beamed to the phone from the browser. That last feature is cool. I would use something like that — explore apps on my PC, make an impulse purchase, and enjoy it on my phone seconds later without syncing.
– Music on your desktop can now be streamed to your Android phone. The music has to be DRM free. That’s pretty cool too.
– It’s the advertising portion of the keynote. I’m not interested in this part. I’m sure you’re not either. I’m going to zone out for a few seconds and catch up on site comments.
– Vic is totally selling the HTC Evo 4G. He better give me one. Developers are getting it today. I want it too!
– Google TV is official! The goal is to bring the best of the web and TV together. The slogan is “TV meets web. Web meets TV.” Here are the four goals for Google TV:
- Less time finding, more time watching
- Control and personalize what you watch
- Make your existing TV content much more interesting
- Mark your TV more than a TV
– A demo of Google TV starts with the interface of a traditional cable/satellite box. Yes, it’s sucky and archaic. The Google part of the demo isn’t working at the moment (oops!). Thankfully Old School is on the screen. Will Ferrell is funny. Ah, it’s working again. It’s being controlled by a Bluetooth keyboard. Google TV has a simple search box at the top of the screen. You’ll get results from TV and the Internet. If you click on a TV search result, it goes to the channel.
– Ha! The demo is failing, but a funny Nic Cage quote entertains the audience. There’s too much nerd interference and it’s messing with the Bluetooth keyboard. They’re actually asking everyone to turn off their phones to cut the interference.
– Another example uses a search for the show House. The TV results give you the option to record an upcoming episode. The Internet results show where you can buy episodes. One result leads to Amazon.com’s online offerings of house. Jumping back and forth from live TV, TV results, and Internet results is seamless.
– Google TV has Amazon and Netflix integration for streaming video fun. Naturally, YouTube works perfectly on the service.
– The speaker’s son loves Elmo but hates all the other characters on Sesame Street. A Google TV search leads to Sesame Street clips that only feature Elmo.
– Searching for specific news clips and sports highlights can be done on Google TV just like you would on a PC. The difference is that you’re watching it on your HDTV and sitting on your couch.
– Integrating TV and Internet can lead to new ways to enjoy traditional content with picture-in-picture mode. The big screen shows TV and the small screen shows Internet content. Examples of watching gold with a live leader board, watching basketball and seeing the live impact on your fantasy team, watching American Idol and following AI tweets are given.
– Google TV as a photo viewer is shown. This part isn’t really impressive or too interesting to me.
– My initial reaction is that some of these features are cool, but some of them are just a glorified version of Web TV.
– Ohhhh, gaming implication — playing an HTML5 game through Google TV. I need to think about that one for a bit. That could be huge.
– Google TV will be initially offered on separate boxes that connect to your cable or satellite box through HDMI. They’ll all have keyboards and pointing devices.
– Google TV can be controlled with Android phones via WiFi. It’s like the future! You can speak into your phone and get search results on your TV. Wow…it is the future!
– Google TV is built on Android 2.1, uses Google Chrome, and has a full Flash plug-in.
– Android apps will work on Google TV as long as phone-specific hardware isn’t required. In addition to web applications — which Google is going large on with HTML5 — users can enjoy Android apps. That’s very interesting.