May 30, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Google Android fans have learned a few things about Android and its accessories at Google I/O. The first thing we learned – we should have been there if we wanted to get our hands on the HTC Ion, a free, unlocked version of the HTC Magic (Sapphire).
Plenty of sessions and geekery occurred that may eventually trickle into great things. Here are some highlights of the bigger Android stories emerging from or during Google I/O 2009.
Google demoed some neat tricks from Donut, the next build of Android in development. Attendees got a sneak peek at the cross-application/phone data searching and translation features that will appear in later builds of Android. [read more]
Android is growing
The most obvious news is that Android continues to grow. A presentation slide revealed the following data about Android’s progress after seven months of availability:
- 10 carriers in 12 countries carry an Android phone
- The Android Market has 4,900 apps
- The average user downloads 40 or more apps
- Android ranks #2 in US mobile web browsing
- There are 3 platform releases, and counting
We’ve learned most of this already, but the nearly 5,000 apps tidbit struck me. Is that number reflective of full-blown apps or does it include e-books and aHome themes crowding the Market (probably)? Either way, be sure to read our suggestion for how to make it easier to find great apps.
The biggest announcement to come out of I/O is the introduction of Google Wave, the latest platform to get tagged as a revolutionary product. Wave is poised to be a big deal in online communications, and the 4,000 attendees got beta accounts. [read more]
The competition that brought Android some of its best apps is returning once again. Developers interested in creating a great Android app can enter the ADC2 for a chance at a $250,000 top prize and more. Consumers can look out for a chance to register as a judge. [read more]
Multitouch and apps on the SD card are not coming anytime soon.
The G1/HTC Dream and Magic could really use more storage space. Being able to install apps on the SD card would really help address that problem, but you won’t see that in Donut, if ever. We’ve long known that there are some roadblocks to adding this feature to the G1, and Google confirmed that there are no immediate plans to make this happen.
Androidandme points out that with new phones coming with more internal memory, the incentive to do this will diminish even further. And though we know Android kind of has multitouch, Google is not expecting to implement it into the G1 any time soon. [source]
Android will have 18 to 20 phones this year
I’m not sure if this was announced at I/O, but it’s still worth noting. Google’s Andy Rubin says that there will be up to 20 Android phones this year on several carriers across the world. Rubin didn’t provide details about product names, carriers, or countries joining the Android gang. That number seems pretty high, especially since the year is nearly half over and the Magic is the only phone released so far.
Does that mean we’ll see a slew of 17-19 phones in the next 6 months? Or is it more likely that Rubin’s estimate is so high because of variations of phones based on slight differences; i.e. the HTC Magic in Europe vs. the Magic in Singapore or the Mytouch in the U.S. Even under that scenario, we could be in for an interesting 6 months. [source]
Spotify is working on an Android app that will bring the music streaming service to phones in select countries. The app was demoed at I/O and a video demonstration appeared on YouTube shortly after. [read more]