Google is holding its big I/O developer conference today, and we’re live on the scene.We’re expecting to hear about the next version of Google TV, plans for Chrome OS notebooks, the next version of Android, and the release of Google’s online music locker.
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9:00 PT: Vic Gundotra is on stage.
9:01: It’s Hugo Barra, this will be the “Android keynote.” Three themes: mobile, momentum, and more.
Activated more than 100 million Android devices worldwide.
More than 4.5 billion app installs.
9:09: Two new services will be announced today. They will also look at the roadmap for the next year.
Mike Cleron from Android engineering is now on stage.
Android 3.1 is the upgrade to Honeycomb, it’s rolling out today to Verizon customers. Better and faster app switching.
Widgets can now be stretched horizontally or vertically.
Android devices can now act as USB hosts — so can import photos direct from digital camera to tablet. It’s really becoming a true full OS. (Whither Chrome OS?) It even supports an Xbox game controller.
And it’s coming to Google TV this summer!
Google TV will also be getting the Android Market, as we first reported.
The next version is Ice Cream Sandwich. Top priority is giving app developers the tools they need. One OS to run everywhere.
Now they’re demoing a cool head-tracking feature. The display changes based on the angle of the viewer’s head.
Here’s the Ice Cream Sandwich logo. Keep scrolling — big product news coming up…
9:19: Movies are coming to Android Market. Starting today, users can rent movies from Android Market, instantly stream via cloud, to computers or Android devices. Thousands of titles to rent.
Movies home page on Android market. It’s also going to show up in a new Movies icon on the Xoom and other Android tablets.
What about when you’re not connected to the Internet? You can still select movies and “pin” them to the device — they’re downloaded to the device in the background. Pretty cool.
Can also rent movies directly from the tablet — it takes you to the Android Movie Market.
Market on phone available to 2.2 devices in a couple weeks.
OK, now we’re about to see the second big piece of news…looks like music. The worst-kept secret in the industry.
Paul Joyce is on stage to introduce Music beta by Google.
Build a playlist based on any song — called Instant Mix. This is like Apple’s Genius almost exactly — pick a song and it’ll pick 25 songs. “Our model literally listens to your music.” Looks at how they sound, not just genre.
It’s like Amazon Cloud — store your music in the cloud, enjoy on any connected device. “Perhaps you’ve heard a rumour or two….”
Music Manager is a program for Windows and Mac that lets you add music to the service. Playlists, play counts, and ratings from iTunes are automatically imported.
Music on the Web is a full featured music manager — looks a lot like iTunes on the Web. A truly “ingenious” mix (nice play on words re: Apple Genius).
Syncs everything via the cloud — never use a cable again. (But more bandwidth usage.)
Can create and edit playlists on the phone. Instantly available everywhere. If you get a brand new phone, all you have to do is sign in.
The service is in beta today, initially invitation only to US users. Can add up to 20,000 songs to your library. While in beta service is free.
Download the music app today.
Now — new advisory board will release specs on how quickly Android phones get updated. To start, it’s Verizon, HTC, Sprint, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, T-Mobile, and AT&T. New devices will receive updates 18 months after release if their hardware allows.
This helps mitigate fragmentation.
Now hardware: Android hardware engineering team.
New program called Android Open Accessory. Lets hardware developers design add-ons to a stable spec. Demoing an exercise bike that works with an Android app to count your calories.
Open for Honeycomb and Gingerbread, supports Bluetooth now, USB coming.
Hardware and software reference design. Based on open-source Arduino platform. To help build peripherals. Demoing the ability to control one of those tilting-platform labyrinth games via an Android tablet.
Super-labyrinth demo is outside. I am so checking that out.
No NDAs, no fees, no approval process to build hardware or write the software that goes with it. Totally open.
[email protected] “Think of Android as the operating system for your home.” Looks like they’re getting into home automation. Android can connect and control appliances in your home.
For appliances that can’t connect to Wi-Fi, new protocol will connect to them. Thermostats, lights, etc. Controlling the lights on the stage.
Project Tungsten is the codename for the remote control.
Can send music library in the cloud to Android devices all around the home.
Here’s an idea — CDs ship with NFC devices in the jewelpack. Touch to device, and automatically adds entire CD to cloud library. Touch it again, and starts to play. (This is just a demo, not real today.)
Some unbelievably cool Android devices coming out now, next week, next few months.
Samsung 10.1 inch tablet. Launching in about 1 month…except for people at I/O, all of whom get one. Score. “Thanks to Samsung, all 5,000 of you are getting one, today.”
Comes with Honeycomb 3.0, will get 3.1 over next couple of weeks.
News tomorrow: at 10:45, they are announcing improvements to the Android Market.
And that’s a wrap…we’ll be continuing to bring you live coverage from I/O all day today and tomorrow.