Feb 2, 2011
[Update: Watch the event!]
[Note: This is a sort of play-by-play blog so some informations may be incomplete.]
I’m watching the live stream of Google’s Honeycomb event as I type this and I’m going to share all the latest news as it happens. I’m hoping for some exciting news about the Android Market and Google Cloud Music to accompany the Honeycomb announcement (fingers crossed).
Andy Rubin has started talking and says he’s happy to announce Honeycomb. He’s now talking about Google’s cloud services (ooh I’m getting excited). Just some brief information before Hugo steps up to talk about Honeycomb.
Hugo takes the stage to talk about Honeycomb. Honeycomb was designed with tablets specifically in mind. He is giving a live demo of the Honeycomb UI. A new multi-tasking button, system tray, while dedicating the rest of the screen for apps. Scrollable Gmail inbox along with grid widgets for bookmarks, image stacks, video and books. Notifications have been redesigned for Honeycomb. A quick showing of music notifications and some Black Eyed Peas. Hugo is now talking about the work that went in to make sure existing apps run well on tablets. He is showing off Fruit Ninja with multi-touch support. Next up are application “Fragments” or “Panes” along with full featured drag-and-drop along with a Drag Manager. A quick glance of the application bar and some talk about Honeycomb’s optimized performance which will allow developers who have been doing 2D drawings to have them hardware-accelerated.
Honeycomb uses a brand new graphics engine: Renderscript. High performance 3D graphics make for nice smooth animation transitions. A couple demos showing off the high performance 3D: YouTube looks brilliant along with page flipping books that almost look real. Next is a demo of the vector graphics that were recently implemented into Google Maps. Now on to 3D music app and a new application called “Google Body.” Google Body is really cool and shows off some 3D human anatomy.
Up next to show off some gaming on Honeycomb is Thomas W. He loads up Monster Madness and Great Battles Medieval which uses 100% of both cores on a dual core device. Graphics and gameplay seem extremely smooth. All finished with the quick demo of gaming on Honeycomb and onto some media capabilities with Hugo.
To show of some media is the Honeycomb camera UI and video chat using the front facing camera. Trying to demo video chat with “Lady Killer” but he’s not around. He finds a friend and shows the Honeycomb video chatting experience (nothing real unique that I can see).
Now Louis Gump, VIP of mobile for CNN is taking the stage to show off some ways Honeycomb’s video can be used with apps. Introducing the new CNN app (free) for tablets allows for 350 stories per sheet along with audio,live video, live coverage and iReport capability (first on tablets). CNN app will be launching on the XOOM tablet.
Back up is Hugo. “Platform is only half of the story,” “The other half is getting apps into the hands of users.” Introduces Android engineering director for cloud services (this should be interesting).
Android Market Web Store
Android Market changes!! More control for developers and monetization are key issues they have been working on and they are proud to announce the Android Market web store! You can now browse, buy and install apps using the Android Market web store. Featuring a home page setup similar to the Android Market on our phones, there is an app carousel, categories, etc. App pages have been designed to be graphically rich to help developers to display apps. Using the Xenonia app page, he shows off the Hi-res banners and screenshots that developers can use.
Next up is the purchasing experience on the Android Market web store. Click on buy and you can choose a specific device to install the app along with payment options via Google Checkout. Once purchased from the web you can instantly see it start installing on your device thanks to the cloud. Friends can make recommendations and share links to apps via twitter, etc.. On your phone, these links take you directly to the app page on the Android Market phone client. Developers can also include videos on their web store app pages (not sure about mobile client). Last but not least are search function features in the Android Market web store. You can now filter searches by way of relevancy, device compatibility or popularity. Quick view of the “My Apps” page on Android web Market and then the announcement that the Android Market web store is live right now! Check it out Android Market Web Store About time!
Currency Support and In-App Purchases
Next is an announcement about currency support. Developers can now choose specific prices for different markets (US, EU, etc.). This should help with currency confusion. Developer consoles should slowly be phased to include these changes and are completely optional. Another long-time-coming announcement: In-app purchase support! To help developers better monetize, support for in-app purchases will be coming soon. In-app purchases are used to purchase things like extra levels, virtual currency, etc. Up next to show how in-app purchases can be used is Bart, GM of Disney Mobile.
Bart announces 3 key Disney apps that will be coming to Android. Radio Disney is the first one and allows kids, tweens, or whoever to stream Disney music complete with listener shoutouts. The second is Jelly car and then the hugely popular Tap Tap Revenge franchise. Using Tap Tap Revenge he shows how in-app purchase support can be used to buy new songs to play. According to Bart, 25 million Tap Tap Revenge songs have been purchased in-app on other platforms (money, money, money). Tap Tap Revenge will be coming in the spring along with the in-app purchase support.
Developer docs are going out today for in-app support so be on the lookout.
What’s this? Seems Lady Killer is making a call. Turns out to be Cee-Lo who sounds like he just woke up. Some shameless plugs and that’s it!
Wow! Let’s do a quick recap.
- Honeycomb announced!
- Android Market Web Store announced!
- In-App purchase support announced!
- Google Cloud Music NOT announced <-- insert sad face
The future is looking good! More incentives for developers which in turn means more content for users! If this wasn’t enough for you don’t worry, they will be showing more and featuring over 50 developers at the upcoming Mobile World Congress.
Thanks Google and thank you for sharing this news with me! Have fun soaking it all up!