15
May
Last Updated: September 3rd, 2011

This is the latest in our Weekend Poll series. For last week's, see How Important Will Customization Be In Determining Your Next Android Purchase?

Google I/O 2011 is all wrapped up, and boy was it eventful. In case you missed them the first go-round, we provided a handy-dandy list (with videos embedded) of the keynotes and Android sessions from both the first and second day. The first keynote, especially, was really quite fascinating and provided a good review of where Android is headed. But at 55 minutes, it's probably a bit much to ask people to watch something quite that long (alternatively, you can read my on-the-fly notes). So fret not, reader, we've got you covered with this two-in-one recap and poll post. Let's take a look at what's coming:

  • In case you missed it, Honeycomb is being updated to 3.1. The update has already started rolling out for the XOOM 3G and WiFi, and should be coming down the pipes to other devices soon. (Hopefully.)
  • Looking out a little longer-term, the two branches of Android (Honeycomb and Gingerbread, or tablet and phone in layman's terms) will be merged into one - known as Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS for short). They say they're taking the best of both worlds and merging them into one. Details beyond - including version number - are unknown at this point.
  • A powerhouse of carriers and manufacturers have come together with Google to form the Rebel Android Alliance. The promise: deliver Android updates to devices in a timely manner - and support devices for 18 months after release (so long as the device is up to snuff). Between ICS and the Android Alliance, it looks like Google really is serious about fighting fragmentation.
  • Android@Home is one of the coolest new things we've seen come out of Android in a while - maybe ever. It can't be aptly described in words, so I'd suggest watching this part of the Keynote. Seriously - it's damn cool. I know some of you will refuse though, so in a nutshell: they want you to be able to control your home using your Android device. They say they  have worked with partners to create a cheap piece of hardware that connects to every part of your house - lights, appliances, everything. A more specific (and cooler) implementation: tapping a CD to a Project Tungsten stereo device, and having the entire CD instantly copied to your Google Music library. Yup... it's awesome.
  • What's Google Music, you ask? That seems like a silly question; it's certainly not Google's take on chess, is it? It's their eponymous service for hosting and streaming music via that cloud - but it's a bit more in-depth than that. Your music is stored and streamed via the cloud - no wires or syncing needed. You can create, modify, and control playlists, including an "Instant Mix" feature which "... literally listens to your music... [uses] machine learning... [to create a] truly ingenious mix."
  • You can now rent movies from the Android Market. As with Music, it's cloud-based, but you can "pin" movies and watch them offline. You can also watch them via the browser - very cool.
  • They also demoed "0-click" wireless streaming between devices using NFC.
  • The Android Market is growing like gangbusters - especially outside the US. It's also received a ton of new features, and more are in the pipeline. They've also increased the max app size to a whopping 4GB and tweaked the controversial 15-minute return policy. See the highlights post for a broader overview of the Market growth and improvement.
  • Google TV will be updated to Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), and gain access to the Android Market.
  • I know you'll find this hard to believe, but it turns out Android is popular. Hugely popular. Over 100 million Android devices have been activated, and that number grows by 400,000 every. single. day.
  • In addition to early access to Google Music beta, I/O 2011 attendees received special-edition Galaxy Tab 10.1s. I have nothing nice to say here.
  • They also announced Android Open Accessories - or using Android with other stuff. This is similar to Android@Home, but focuses on accessories (believe it or not). For example, they used a cheap Arduino board hooked up (via motors) to the game where you guide a marble through a maze, and controlled the board using a XOOM. Another example: they hooked a Nexus S into an exercise bike and used the pedaling motion to control a simple game on the NS. Here's the relevant part of the keynote.

So, of all the announcements from I/O 2011, what has you most excited? Sound off in the poll and comments below.

I/O 2011: What Are You Most Excited About?

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Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • http://android.jamtheman.dk JamTheMan

    I can't find a bullet with the ADK, which I personally loved the most...

    So I guess it is Android@Home for me...

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      We've added the Android Open Accessory bullet point.

  • L Boogie

    This is a step toward android greatness and the final step would be its consistent real world application to the Android user base because we've heard the talk now, it's time to implement action.

  • http://twitter.com/anujahooja Anuj Ahooja

    Android@Home not only sets Android apart from other mobile OSes, but also is the start of a mobile household. I spoke with a few fellow developers when I was at I/O and the ideas we were shooting back and forth really got me psyched. Really a vision of the future - I can't wait to see what innovations come out of it.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, I'm super psyched to have a Google connected home. Sonos is dead.

  • Álmos

    Everyone was excited about Ice Cream Sandwich, because 99% of Android users and developers are using phones, not tablets. Still, they didn't show anything of ICS yet, just it's logo, it's name and a release date almost a year from now. :(

  • sfsdfsdf

    Ice Cream Sandwich - yes, looking forward for that
    Android Alliance - well I think I will stick to Google phones anyway (still on N1 and lovin it)
    Android@Home/Project Tungsten - at the very moment interesting concept but nothing more (and likely expensive than *normal* stuff)
    Google Music - US only now plus not fond of streaming,
    Honeycomb 3.1 - no tablets, meh
    Google TV is getting Honeycomb - same as above, no tv
    Movies in the Market - like that but US only now so f.off
    0-Click Streaming - meh nfc

  • pedro

    Chromebook. Why wasn't that listed?

    • Aaron Gingrich

      ... Because that's Chrome.

  • Markus

    Google opened the Tasks API
    Hope for Great Apps!

  • richardyarrell

    Ice cream looks to be great espically if it brings the platform together. Google music is kool and so is the movies in android market. This is a great time to be an android lover.

  • jbonics

    Forget the crap until perfect. PUT A UNIVERSAL REMOTE IN A PHONE that's what I really need. "Yes your phone spys on you but it can turn on a lightbulb or a blender" no thanks

  • Chris

    Put me down for Android@Home. It's just a concept now, but hopefully by the time I'm done with college and looking to find a more permanent place to live, it'll be ready for prime time.

    After that, more details on Ice Cream Sandwich would be nice, although even with the Android Alliance, it'll be a while before it hits devices on the market, and there aren't a huge number of details out yet.

    Google Music has the potential to be great if they can finish up negotiations with the major records. It may take a while, but getting a few onboard early could lead to the Apple approach wherein Google ends up with enough leverage to start pushing the labels in the directions it wants with more force. Until then it's just another glorified hard drive with a basic player interface, albeit with the support of one of the biggest names in the tech business and integration with a large swath of the handset market.

  • paul Atreides

    Nexus 3 anyone?!