Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Google IO 2011: Day two

Second day
If you didn't read the view of the day day, you should read that one first.


After eating something we met with Jason Van Anden. Jason worked with me while I worked in Teracode but unfortunately I never met him in person. He has an interesting project called BubbleBeats.

He told us about his plans and his future projects. It feels good to know that Android developers are getting tons of work and they are progressing!


While the first keynote was all about android, the second day's keynote was all about chrome os and chrome browser.

Good news about ChromeOS. I think that everything sum ups to this sentence: "No need to bother fixing PC and having more time for yourself". I am particularly happy for that. I am tired of fixing PC with an OS I don't use anymore. As the times passes, it gets harder and harder to find the Control Panel :(

Google decided to give out chromebooks as a present but they are sending them on June 15th. I don't know how that will work for international attendees. I guess I will need to ask Al Sutton (@alsutton) :)

Building Agressively Compatible Android Games

This talk was given by Chris Pruett(@c_pruett). He was a Game Developer Advocate for Android at Google and now he has his own company. He once again talked about his experience with Replica Island and give out a big list of things to do and not to do.

I wish I could talk to him but he was surrounded by other people.


After Chris' talk we hang around some stands which were in the third floor. There were a lot of games to try out and also some robots going around. After some of them we decided to head for Lunch. 20 mins to eat before moving to the next session. I need to say that the food was excellent. We even had a Haagen Dazs' ice-cream as dessert!

Building Web Apps for Google TV

Chris Wilson (@cwilso), GTV developer advocate gave an excellent explanation about the TV platform in general. He mentioned that we should get everything away from the boarders since the Over-scan also applies to nowadays televisions.

He also mentioned a lot of recommendations for UI design. Some of the ones that stayed in my head were:
  • Remember the user is in couch-mode. Few interaction.
  • Avoid having a lot of clicks to reach content.
  • Design your app and see it from 10 feet (3 meters) away.
  • Instead of browsing downwards, the user browses rightwards.
  • Avoid scrolling. The user is not used to scroll TV content.
  • Make sure you make the user aware of where he is standing and what options are available.

Building Android Apps for Google TV

Similar to last session, these guys gave an intro to Google TV.

They explained that the API will provide different functionalities/issues. There are two which are pretty interesting or out of the ordinary.

1) You will not be able to know what the user is watching.

Wow! Really?

Actually you can learn which channel he/she is watching but no more than than. If your app/idea depends on that you will need to ask the user which tv provider he/she is using and parse it's tv guide. While it's a big issue right now, I guess some kind of open source project will appear to solve this.

2) Android fw will start to take care of where to place your ui widgets. eg: If you place an ActionBar in your app in a Tablet device it will show in the top right corner horizontally while for GTV it will show in the left vertically. I guess this is what android ice-cream sandwich will be about. Developer placing a ui widget and android deciding how to show it correctly. Third party UI libs will need to take care of that kind of customization if they are willing to stay alive.

I actually asked Roman Nurik what he thought of different third party UI libraries. My question actually was: "Should we continue using libs like GreenDroid or we should wait for this kind of magic customizations by Android?". He replied that for now we are good to use that kind of libs. They are an excellent way of applying android ui patterns.

GTV Office Hours
After the Android GTV talk, we went to the office hours. I wanted to buy a google tv to take back home but I wanted to be sure that I was going to get the 3.1 update with the adb and stuff. We fortunately found Chris Wilson who friendly replied to all our questions. I will try to reproduce:

We: Logitech or Sony?
Chris: It depends. The sony has a bluray but the Logitech is cheaper. If it's just for development I will take the Logitech one.
We: Which one do you use at work?
Chris: Both.
We: Who's in charge of the updates?
Chris: The updates are sent by Logitech and Sony themselves.
We: If we get a gtv and start using in our country, we will get it?
Chris: Yep, you will get it while the device is connected to internet.
We: Is it possible to root the device?
Chris: Official answer: no. On the other hand, there are people who did it. It involves welding.

GTV Conclusion
In general, GTV it's a US-only device for now. I got one for several reasons.

  1. Being able test gtv apps for clients from US.
  2. We want to explore the world of widgets for GTV.
  3. Porting cocos2d-x to GTV. I still need to make it work with Honeycomb but I will definitely want cocos2d-x to run in GTV :)

Bringing C and C++ Games to Android

Since we had some time we decided to go to this session to meet up with @emmby. We reached there for the Q/A. When we entered a guy was leaving and the speaker said: "Try staying, there is a present for everyone in this room". Yep, I also got a xperia play. I guess I will need to discuss with the cocos2d-x's guys how they are willing to support this kind of device.

How to NFC
I didn't attend this session, but @mpan_ did. He said that they spoke about the api in general but for now android devices with NFC will not be able to emulate a NFC card.

After party
After the conference we went out for some drinks with ppl known by @emmby. Going out with ppl that knew SF was excellent. We went to different bars and we ate in an Indian restaurant. It was actually the most spicy meal I ever had, but I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks guys!


The Google IO was excellent. Good amount of sessions, every technology showed it's work in progress and I got an excessive amount of gifts.

Every android release is very ambitious and the next one is going to to support cellphones, tablets and tv. I think that GTV will be the next big thing. I yet don't imagine my dad using an android powered device but I do imagine him using gtv. From my point of view gtv will bring new type of users to the android community.

We also need to pay attention to tablet apps. There are very few apps in the market. The user experience of a tablet user is very frustrating. I hope to see more tablet compatible apps. I guess I should start doing that with my own apps.

There are a lot's of ideas and stuff to do in my head. I will now need to find the time to do them all.

Cheers, and happy coding :D

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