Today’s Google I/O keynote brought a few surprises along with a couple expected announcements.
Here’s a summary of the announcements made in today’s keynote.
Google Music Beta
Rumors were correct. Google today announced the launch of their own cloud music service similar to Amazon’s launched a couple of weeks ago.
The new service launches today in beta so head over to the music.google.com website to request an account.
The service will be free during the beta stage and will allow you to upload up to 20,000 songs to the cloud.
Apps for Windows, Mac, and Android devices will be available for download soon.
Google Movie Rentals
Google today also announced the launch of a movie rental service a la Books. You will have access to Movies on the Android Marketplace by tapping the Movies tab on your device or computer.
The Movie app for Android devices will become available soon.
Rentals start at $1.99 with a 30 day watching period and 24 hours to watch the movie once you’ve started.
The coolest feature you will find with this new service is the ability to “Pin” movies on your Android device so that you can watch them offline.
Ice Cream Sandwich
The next version of Android is Ice Cream Sandwich, slated for a Q4 release later this year.
The new features in Ice Cream Sandwich are as follows:
- One Android OS for all device types (Tablets, Mobile Phones, Google TV)
- Easy to build applications for all device types (make it easy for developers to write for multiple devices)
- Virtual Camera Operator, a feature which allows Android to detect faces and movement. This feature will be added as an API for developers to use
- Completely open source.
Google calls this their most ambitious Android project yet, let’s see how it turns out. This version of Android will merge all devices under one OS.
Android 3.1 Update
The next update to Honeycomb 3.1 for tablets will bring:
- Better app (task) management.
- Movie Rental apps for Android devices (next couple of weeks).
- Integration with Google’s new Music service.
Other features will be announced in the next couple of weeks when it is released to the public.
Google has assembled a group of manufacturers and carriers to come up with guidelines that will ensure updates to Android are delivered in a timely manner.
This will greatly reduce Android’s fragmentation.
Android Open Accessory
Imagine being able to plug in your Android powered phone to your exercise bike and playing a video game as you exercise…using your pedaling as the interface.
Wouldn’t that be cool? Google’s new Android Open Accessory initiative aims to do that and more. They are providing API’s and an ADK that will enable hardware developers to integrate things like heart rate monitors, TV’s, and other devices with your Android phone.
Learn more about Android Open Accessory.
Android @ Home
Control lights, your Air Conditioner, and more with Android @ Home’s concept of the Android powered home.
The Android team announced a new wireless protocol that would connect these devices along with the announcement of Project Tungsten.
Tungsten appears to be a toned down version of the Apple TV that would serve as the center of the Android @ Home concept.
Did you watch the keynote? What do you think about the direction Google is headed with Android? Please share your thoughts below.