The Android Google #io14 case

26/06/2014 | Add comment

Watching Google IO every year is fun time. Unfortunately we have never had the pleasure of being there, seeing all those nice things, events, people and goodies during the 2 days conference is real spin in the direction of where we go. But then again, we have the pleasure to watch most of the topics online. Well, it’s Google. They have the bandwithz0rz.

Again, this year, Google IO is really good organized, marketed and positioned for the current and future releases of all Google’s products. Amongst them, Android and Chrome as most “important” open projects for the company. As one of the twitts stated it’s a matter of buying new mobile phone, watch, car and TV after this years’ Google IO. So many nice things and so many nice features. One of the first things that got presented and we like most here is the Android One device. Making cheap Android device is crucial for the Android ecosystem, so that other vendors such as Samsung (or any other noname) in a way stop releasing devices with LDPI density and Android versions 2.3 because they want to cover the people that cannot afford the more expensive devices. Now, with the Android One project people from the emerging markets and developing countries will be able to get a modern, up-to-date device with decent Android versions and screen sizes. All for less than $100.

Another important thing was the unification of the UI of Android. The Material project offers that and will cover all types of Google applications (Android, Chrome, TV, etc..) with unified UI and UI/UX guidelines and specification. Why is this important? Because it’s enough from the ugly Android user-interfaces and the non-usable wanna-be-some-other-platform UI modifications. Android is independent platform and has nothing to do with how other platforms work.

Battery-life will be improved independently for each device by something called project Volta. Amongts other things, the great JobScheduler (at least how it sounds).

Really special place in our hearts (<3) was put for Android Wear, Auto and TV. Projects worth gold! Everything is so smoothly synchronized between the devices (i.e. the Android watch is in full sync with your phone device) that there is really little need from you to organize how your life works.

And the most valuable and useful news announced on this year’s Google IO is the Android Auto project. If you still haven’t seen it in action, you will see it and if you’re car fan, immediately fall in love with this project. First cars with the Android Auto system integrated by default and as part of the Open Auto Alliance are expected to come during this year (before the end of 2014 actually).

Two things that we’d like to criticize are:

Little or no gaming experience improvement

What catches our eye every year on Google IO and Android development in general, is how Google won’t invest their time in improving the game-development processes for Android. While iOS has the excellent Sprite Kit, Android still doesn’t have a horse to match that race. Most of the games are to be developed by 3rd party libraries such as Cocoa2d or libgx (which are excellent libraries not to be misunderstood!). It’s really nice to see every new bit of excitement about Android’s products, but we, as development team would be really happy to see how Android improves the development experience for gamers. Hope soon we’ll get corrected about this.

Localized features

Most of Google and in general Android products are still localized that much that they are fully available only in US or more developed countries across Europe and Asia. While new features go out and developers enjoy the new benefits of the new SDKs, good part of us (developers) struggle with not having services such as Google Merchant accounts, Play Music, Books, TV/Videos, turn by turn Navigation, etc. They are available only in specific countries in the world which, you can easily conclude, Google cares the most. Hopefuly this is not the case, but Google likes us to get part of the Android ecosystem they better offer wider range of services to developers from all world countries. Otherwise, everything is hypocritical and not honest.

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