20
May
Last Updated: July 24th, 2011

Today is Day Two of the Google I/O 2010 conference, and the Android universe is celebrating and rioting in the streets (in a good way - like Mardi Gras). In addition to speed (2x-5x faster than Eclair), support for Flash Player 10.1 Public Beta/AIR Developer Pre-Release, and native tethering/ hotspot support, there are a number of changes that will make your Android life easier.

Update by Artem Russakovskii: You guys are all correct - there should be no gingerbread icon here unless Google actually confirms that this is what is indeed happening.

If a feature will not be available right away, as many of you pointed out, it doesn't mean that it will have to show up all the way in the next major version, especially now that many applications are decoupled from the OS.

I apologize for jumping to drastic conclusions like that - everyone was still light headed from the flurry of announcements that today's keynote was.

Cloud Syncing

You're online. You're browsing your favorite Android website, and you see an awesome app that you want to download. But your phone is charging in the other room.

Currently, you have to go get your phone, go to the Android Market, find the app, download/install, and then you have the app. Today, Google announced that they are changing the game (again).

Beyond Froyo: with the new Android Marketplace that will be accessible online from any PC, you can sign in, see all your installed apps on all your Android devices, find the app you just fell madly in love with, and download it directly to your Android phone OTA (over-the-air).

The ability to literally send apps to  your phone is incredible and incredibly easy. But, Google hasn't stopped there. You can send a lot more than just Android apps to your phone.

Beyond Froyo: Today, Google announced that you will also be able to send music to your phone OTA,  via their upcoming Android Marketplace music store (think iTunes in the cloud).  Additionally, their recent acquisition of SimplifyMedia will allow you to...get this...stream your ENTIRE (non-drm'd) home music collection straight through the integrated Android music application on your device.  SD card nearing capacity? Not a problem when you're living in the cloud, baby!

But they go even further.

Cloud To Device Messaging

Froyo: Your friend tweets a link. You open it up on your laptop, but you don't have much time, and you decide it would be much better if you could access the site on your Android phone. Google is making that uber-easy.

Now, you just send the link to your phone OTA, and it opens up immediately, without you ever having touched your phone.

Froyo: Same goes for Google Maps. Pulled up directions to the restaurant for dinner tonight on your PC, but you're running late? Send it to your phone, and you're on your way. Couldn't be much easiser.

In addition to sending data to and from your PCs and Android devices, you will also be able to input information directly into your Android in a new way.

Expanded Voice Recognition Controls And Browser Intents

Currently, if you want to Buzz a new photo from your Android phone, you have to open up the camera, take a picture, then pull up the browser, then attach it and, finally, Buzz it. Google is streamlining this process immensely.

Beyond Froyo: Now, browsers will be able to have direct access to your Android's hardware. For instance, Buzz will be to open up the camera, allow you to take a photo, and then you can Buzz it straight from the web app itself.

Streamlining is apparently a key word for Google today, because they also demoed an Android phone taking voice input from a user in order to complete a task.

Beyond Froyo: So, instead of opening up the browser, searching for a restaurant, finding the phone number, and calling it, you can simply tell your phone who to call, and it will do all the intermediary steps for you. Time will be saved. And lots of it.

Unfortunately, as indicated by the Gingerbread Man from Shrek, much of these innovations won't be available until 2011 at the earliest - many blogs are now reporting that Gingerbread has a tentative Q4 2010 date release date, and if that's the case, we'll get these goodies by the end of the year. But, when it gets here, it will be more than worth the wait.

What new capability are you most excited about?

  • Helge Ringberg

    wow really bummer that some of these awsome features wont be avail untill gingerbread. Sucks that they would announce it today giving us hopes :(

    • Chris Dehghanpoor

      Haha, I feel the same way. I was REAL excited about Froyo, and then they tease will all of this stuff. The music library sharing is SLICK.

  • Yorick

    Why would you say these features are for Gingerbread? :s

  • Meko

    My understanding based on tech blogs such as Engadget, Gizmodo and AndroidCentral is that Ginger* is coming Q4 this year!

    NOT 2011!

    • Chris Dehghanpoor

      Thanks! I've updated the article to reflect this information.

  • fuz

    I agree with Yorick

    These were showcased today all as Froyo features, he never mentioned anything about Gingerbread.

    Also, on the Android Developer site (on the SDK page), it says that Froyo will be available in the coming weeks.

    • http://androidpolice.com Chris Dehghanpoor(Associate Editor)

      Hi Fuz,

      These were showcased during the Froyo keynote as being included in a future release of Android. Basically, it was a sneak peek.

      Specifically, the enhanced dialer features, the new webapp/browser developer intents that allow deeper access to the hardware, and the streaming music/wireless app store capabilities were specifically mentioned to be in a "future Android release". Gingerbread was not specifically named, but considering the progress already done on these features, I wouldn't say it's a far fetched assumption.

  • anakin78z

    What's the url in the browser? :)

  • staba

    @Fuz If you actually watched the keynote you would have heard these things are indeed for gingerbread. This article is correct.

    • Ron Amadeo

      @staba
      Nope, Gingerbread was never mentioned during the keynote.

      This post lists OTA app installs and Music downloads as Gingerbread features. But if you look here:
      http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.2-highlights.html#DeveloperServices you see that the OTA APIs are part of Froyo, and that this article is garbage.

      • Chris Dehghanpoor(Associate Editor)

        Hi Ron,

        I appreciate the feedback on the article.

        I'd like to address your statement that these features are included in to Froyo.

        You're correct in saying that OTA APIs are available in Froyo, but you're incorrect in saying that the music streaming and application installs are to be included in Froyo.

        If you rewatch the keynote carefully, which you can now do here: http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleDevelopers#p/c/CF01A789E62F2454 , you'll notice that the music streaming, OTA app installs, and browser intents that enable hardware access are all mentioned during the 'sneak preview' of the Android version planned after Froyo.

        It's true that they don't mention Gingerbread by name, but seeing how mature the applications were that they demo'd, I think it's a fair assumption to say that they will be included in the next update to Android.

        The specific features that you pointed out on the Froyo feature page allow access to the OTA API, but do not actually include the previously mentioned previewed features. Even if it did, it would still only cover the OTA app installs, as the music streaming and browser intents would not be classified as 'Android Cloud Device Messaging'.

        If you still feel that we're incorrect, we'd love to issue a correction if you can point out where in the video they mention that these features will be included in Froyo - it's possible I may have misheard the comments.

        • Ron Amadeo

          (WordPress says my comment is spam?! I'll try splitting it)

          The problem with this article is that you took the phrase "I want to go a little bit beyond Froyo" (here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8unC9bA4O8#t=1m00s ) to mean "This feature requires Gingerbread".

          "Beyond Froyo" and "Requires Gingerbread" are two different things. It could mean, "We will patch this in later" by updating an app. It could mean "The web site/back end/itunes plugin part of this isn't done yet" (for the case of OTA installs and streaming music). It could mean a million different things, but you speculate, decide it means "requires Gingerbread", and state it as fact.

          I feel this speculation is wrong, Vic could have easly said "The Version of of Android after Froyo" or "Gingerbread" but he didn't.

        • Ron Amadeo

          >as the music streaming and browser intents would not be classified as ‘Android Cloud Device Messaging’.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBQFXRW5ZiE#t=2m55s
          (Map Demo) Quoting parts of Vic's keynote starting at 2:55: "The Chrome extensions is in the upper right hand corner and that SENDS IT TO HIS PHONE... We send an Android intent... in other words when he says SEND TO PHONE... Keep your eye, when he clicks SEND TO PHONE, on the android device"

          From this segment, we can conclude that Chrome extension button is called "Send to Phone" Correct? Vic

          flatly stated that this button will send an intent to your phone. The page I linked: http://developer.android.com/sdk/android-2.2-highlights.html#DeveloperServices says "Apps can utilize Android Cloud to Device Messaging to enable mobile alert, SEND TO PHONE, and two-way push sync functionality." So "Send to Phone" (sending an intent to your phone over the internet) is in froyo.

          An intent will let you do ANYTHING on an android phone. It will let you install something; It will let you download a song, open the music player, and play it; it will let you turn the phone off. Intents are basically how every android app does everything. (if you would like to dispute this, let me know and I will show you the actual intent for almost any function) Here is the whole list of intents, it's massive: http://developer.android.com/reference/android/content/Intent.html .

          I believe the android part of everything shown in the video (except maybe the web hardware access) is finished and in Froyo, and "a little bit beyond froyo" means all the other stuff that will make this work (web sites, servers, content, w3c standards, etc) isn't finished yet. In fact I think I have flat out proven that OTA installs and streaming music has no reason to require post froyo updating at all. But thats not the point. I could be wrong. The point is you stating these things will require gingerbread when you really have no idea.

  • Chris Dehghanpoor

    @Ron

    RE: The spam issue - I've been having issues with that myself. I'll ping the editor regarding that.

    Now, on to your counterpoints. While it's true he said 'a little beyond Froyo', I think assuming he means it's coming to Froyo, but after it's released is just as big of a reach as saying it's coming to Gingerbread. I guess, at this point, it's speculation on either side until we get concrete confirmation from Google.

    Regarding the other issues, I'll address them feature by feature:

    Streaming music:

    I don't think you and I are on the same page here. While it may be possible to send a song to the phone using the cloud messaging API, that's not the same thing I was referring to. I was referring to Vic showing off the ability to stream your home music collection seamlessly and within the Android music app. This is being done using technology Google picked up when they acquired Simplify Media, as mentioned in the article. I do not believe this will be ready to go when Froyo comes out. Obviously that's speculation on my part.

    OTA Market installs:

    This is a point I'm willing to concede - it seems like the cloud messaging API should have everything needed for this to work already built into Froyo, and the only thing delaying it is the launch of the actual website. Again, we're not sure either way, but this is more likely than the other features to be built into Froyo.

    Web apps accessing hardware:

    I agree with you on this - I don't think we'll see it in Froyo.

    Again, without further information from Google, there's really no right or wrong way to interpret Vic's statements. His comments were (purposely?) vague, and could easily be taken to mean shortly after Froyo is released(though you don't often see them doing this), or included with Gingerbread.

    It's definitely fair to say this article posturing that the features will be included in Gingerbread and not Froyo is speculation, but I think it's unfair to say that the article is garbage or that the speculation is flat out wrong, because when it comes down to it, neither you nor I can answer the question definitively.

  • Ron Amadeo

    What I meant was that it's wrong to speculate and post it as fact. You don't know the answer definitively but the article says you do.

    A million web sites are covering this event. The fact that no one other than you has mentioned Gingerbread should throw up a red flag. Many features are added to android in between updates (a million maps features, pinch zoom, etc). Some features could just be waiting on the rest of the ecosystem to make them work.

    No one knows, but your article says "Android Police knows for a fact these features require you to update to Gingerbread for them to work" That's false.

    • Chris Dehghanpoor

      You're correct. After re-reading the article, it should have been presented as speculation rather than fact. This has been corrected, and thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • TST

    There is an app, subsonic, which allows you to stream all your music from your PC to your phone

  • http://www.reddit.com friendly-mister-narwhal

    Responsible reporting with corrections when you've made a mistake? I don't think you understand AndroidPolice.com. You're supposed to steal bad info from other sites and then repost it without doing any of your own research or confirmation.

    What am I supposed to do, trust you and think you're reliable!

    :) Thanks!

    • Chris Dehghanpoor

      ;) (This was sarcasm, right? :P )

      Yeah, while I was persistent in the comments regarding this story, what I should have made clear is that, in hindsight, this was a fairly speculative story and to imply that it's fact was incorrect.

      We try to make sure we bring the most accurate information possible to our readers, so if you or anyone else notices something potentially incorrect PLEASE LET US KNOW! Ideally this wouldn't happen to begin with, but as I proved yesterday, things slip through the cracks.

      You can contact myself or another editor (or just the tips email) by taking a look at the contact page.

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