07
May
2013-05-03_19-32-04

We are gearing up for I/O here at AP, and with the release of the I/O Sessions schedule, we've got an even clearer idea of what Google has in store for us.

Google I/O is a traditionally developer-oriented conference, but it's also always been a huge source of news about upcoming products. I/O is the one time of year when Googlers are allowed to show off their projects, so there's lots of news out there; you've just got to pay attention.

Didn't get a ticket to I/O? No problem! You can still join the geek party and watch all the action live (or not live, whatever) on YouTube. With something like 32 different Android-related sessions, the list can be a little overwhelming, so we figured it might be a good idea to pick out some of the potentially good ones.

There is, of course, the keynote speech, which is where all the major stuff is announced, but besides that, here's the stuff I'll be keeping an eye on:

Wall-To-Wall Gaming

games

Gaming looks to dominate Google I/O this year, with 5 of the 32 Android sessions related to getting your game on. That's more than any other topic. If I were to take a guess, judging by all these sessions, I would expect I/O to feature a huge gaming launch. The most obvious of which is

Mobile Multiplayer Made Manageable

If you've been reading AP, you should know all about the work-in-progress Google gaming service: Google-hosted real-time and turn-based multiplayer, in-game chat, achievements, leaderboards, invitations, and lobbies are coming. We know this from an APK Teardown, and it seems like Google _knows_ that we know, and they aren't even trying to hide it anymore. "Mobile Multiplayer Made Manageable"? Just come out and say that you're launching a gaming service.

New Developments in Mobile Gaming

Hey, mobile game developers! Wondering what Google's been working on to make life better for you? Drop by the New Developments in Mobile Gaming talk and hear about the latest features we've been building to give your mobile games a little extra moxie.

Same goes for this one. "Hear about the latest features we've been building" sounds like we'll be getting new details about whatever Google has been hard at work on.

The three other gaming talks, if you're interested, are here:

Low-Latency Audio?

iOS absolutely destroys Android when it comes to the selection of audio production apps. The reason for this is something called "audio latency." Say you're making a piano app; audio latency is the amount of time between tapping a key on the screen, and a sound coming out of the speaker. If even a half-second occurs between a screen tap and the sound playing, you're going to be thrown off rhythm, and something requires precise timing, like playing music, will basically be impossible.

iOS has great audio latency, so it has lots of audio production apps, and Android has crap audio latency, so it has no audio apps. So if you're at all interesting in making or using audio apps, you'll want to tune in to the "High Performance Audio" talk:

It’s not that hard to play a background soundtrack in your mobile game app, or to play short clips of sound in response to user actions. But how about responsive reliable audio, that doesn’t glitch, works well across a range of devices, and doesn’t eat up your user’s battery? Oh, and is lower latency too? It turns out that’s not so easy. We’ll share our own experiences with the Android platform and apps, discuss the problem areas and the work we’ve been doing in the platform, and give some techniques you can apply now in your own apps. We assume you’re familiar with OpenSL ES and audio terminology.

For a news junkie like myself, the important sentence here is "Discuss the work we've been doing in the platform" which means they have new audio latency stuff to announce.

We've also seen a Googler by the name of Ian Ni-Lewis post on Stack Overflow that "Google is not done improving Android latency yet" and that we should "keep an eye on new releases."

An Android@Home Session? Maybe?

While something titled "Agile UX Research Practice in Android" my not sound like an Android@Home talk, the biography of the two presenters should certainly raise some eyebrows:

Miki Konno

Miki is a user experience researcher on the Android team, focused on Android@Home.

Bethany Fong

Bethany is a user experience designer on the Android team, focused on Android@Home.

These are literally the first sentences of the two presenter bios. I'm intrigued.

In the Android UX team, it is critical to get user feedback frequently and consistently so that we are able to iterate and develop the best-in-class designs for our users. We will discuss how the team applied "Pulse Studies" (iterative research sessions) in order to put new ideas, designs, and concepts in front of users on a regular basis; it requires minimal advance planning, it can have an immediate product impact, and it can meet urgent needs. We will illustrate how we accomplished this collaborative process by presenting rich examples and case studies. We will also demonstrate usability study role playing in order to give you tips and tricks on how to adopt this process for anyone who is interested in getting user feedback in a quick and impactful way.

The description states that they're going to talk a lot about how the team designs and iterates stuff, and the team is clearly the Android@Home team, so maybe we'll get a peek at just what they've been up to, assuming it isn't announced at the keynote.

Next-Gen Google TV

google-tv-logo

There's going to be a Google TV session! The title, "Android: As seen on TV!" is particularly interesting, because it's hard to think of GTV as "Android" anymore, since it is still based on the ancient Honeycomb version. GoogleTV is usually called "Google TV," not "Android." Maybe I'm reading too much into things.

Regardless of the Android version, the description promises this talk will deliver the goods:

Google TV gives developers a consistent Android platform to create and deliver applications, games and high quality media on the largest screen in the house. In this session we'll show you how to unlock the potential of the current Google TV devices and explain the new features of the next generation Google TV platform.

"Explain the new features of the next-generation Google TV platform"? Yeah. Now we're talking! I'll be glued to this to find out what goodies the new GTV has in store. At least... I hope that's what they mean.

Google Glass!

EJlfpLV

Glass is the new kid on the block in Google land, but it's showing up big time at I/O with four sessions. "Voiding Your Warranty: Hacking Glass" sounds really awesome. I'd love to see what ideas Google throws out there for the quickly growing Glass hacking community.

Glass is ready for hacking! See what is possible with the hardware platform and how you can gain root access. Learn how to run your own experimental applications. Disclaimer: you'll be stepping into uncharted and unsupported territory!

"How to gain root access" sounds interesting, because currently the only way to do that is with an old Android 4.0.4 exploit.

I'd also like to see "Building Glass Services with the Google Mirror API" because, currently, it doesn't seem like you can do all that much in Google's "non-root" Glass sandbox. So it'll be interesting to see what type of apps they expect people to develop.

Chrome

Chrome_Logo

Did you think Android is a big deal over at Google? Well Chrome (and apps) outnumbers it with thirty-seven sessions. Chrome has basically become shorthand for "the internet" over at Google. "The Chrome Packaged Apps State of the Nation" session sounds particularly interesting, because packaged apps are all about turning Chrome into a Windows-slaying OS with actual apps that aren't just bookmarks, like the new Google Keep Chrome app. Chrome is a little easier to keep track of due to it's open development, and sure enough, the team is promising "what's ahead on the roadmap."

"A More Awesome Web: Features You've Always Wanted" is the "What's new in HTML5" talk that's held seemingly every year, and I always find it entertaining. If you're like me, you spend a lot of time on the internet, so consider this a sneak peek into the future of the internets.

Fireside Chats

2013-05-03_19-50-44

One of the most fun parts of I/O is watching a panel of all-star Googlers from the Android division take questions from the audience. Sometimes a question unearths a nugget of future information, sometimes it gives insight to what the Googlers are currently thinking, and sometimes the developer is just really, really angry and it's fun to watch everyone squirm.

Either way, it's always a fun time, and it's nice to see some of the more prolific Googlers in the flesh - especially the awesome people that help out AP once in a while. <3 Besides the killer Android panel, it should be worth checking out the Google+, Chrome, and Glass fireside chats, too.

That it for the Google I/O sessions that immediately jumped out at me. I'll be glued in front of my computer from the 15th to the 17th. I/O can't get here fast enough!

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • PhineasJW

    Absolutely can't wait.

    • ThatBabyAintMine

      Here here

  • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

    I'm not sure the low-latency audio thing implies new features. If I remember correctly, it was actually a quietly-hyped function of Jelly Bean already. I suspect this session isn't necessarily about a newer feature as it is refocusing on something they may have failed to document well enough, or present in an understandable way, to most of their developers. This is an attempt to focus in, make it clear, and provide tricks they've learned about how to best utilize it. From what I recall, the few developers who were aware of it were pretty excited about it in JB. Also this may simply be because initially not enough phones HAD JB, so now that its market share has increased enough they feel it's time for developers to start safely assuming they can develop for it.

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

      Low latency audio is still a mess as it's very unreliably working across different hardware. We'll be definitely seeing something new from Google, hopefully methods to address this inconsistency reliably.

      • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

        Sure. I'm just pointing out that those "methods" don't necessarily imply new features of a new build of Android and could easily be tips, tricks, and techniques for handling those problems within the current framework. Whatever approach, let's just hope it makes a difference.

  • John

    Sweet. Can't wait to be completely unproductive at work for the 2nd half of next week.

  • Sergio

    Anything about Android Desktop? No? Not yet?

    • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

      That's Chrome OS.

      • Melissa Peterson

        I think Sergio is referring to Android x86, which is Android that is made to run on regular desktop computers. It's not official software though.

        • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

          Yep. But they won't do 'Android desktop' because they have Chrome OS.

  • DeadSOL

    I lurve Google! <3

    • kofiaa

      funny seeing you around here

      • DeadSOL

        Hey, kofiaa!!! :D I always read AP articles. They're the best! :D

        • Tomi Golob

          What is funny to me is your nickname...there was once an ISP named SOL and I was one of the first subscribers (dialup,Motorola 28.8 modem external bittcchh!!) ,but they killed that name after a few years. Get it ? dead SOL ... Now it's called SiOL (radical change huh?)

          • DeadSOL

            LOL!!!! That's quite a co-incidence! :D

          • Tomi Golob

            LOL I know right... I just had to tell you :))

  • thistimearound

    My Chromebook just salivated a little. Still holding out hope for Google Games: a collective resource for all games on G+, Chrome, and Android. Do Want.

  • nebula

    You should add a banner on the top of android police with "Google I/O 2013: Ron was right", right after they introduce the multiplayer service

    • http://twitter.com/trickedoutdavid David Margolin

      this... 9000x this

      • Tomi Golob

        No,because I hate sucking-up to the moderators...don't kill me

  • Robert G. Ingersoll

    I'm counting on AP to decompile every single track and feed us with byte sized bits of information so we don't miss anything.

    • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

      It's the kind of thing you know that only AP will do for you :D If this were a paid website I'd probably pay.

  • saltyzip

    Excited I be!!

  • marcusmaximus04

    On the audio side of things, Idk about audio latency, but Android's SoundPool class is the absolute easiest to use, flexible sound API I've ever used. It was practically trivial to get multiple audio sources playing at once, with 3d positioning(via adjusting volume for left/right sides independently) and Doppler effects in my current game.

    Here's hoping whatever latency improvements they make find their way to SoundPool as well(I realize OpenSL is mentioned... I tried that before SoundPool and found it to be far more needlessly complicated and less flexible)

    • Jim Crossley

      Yeah that's fine for games, but it's more music apps where latency is key. Ios has some amazing performance tools (to the point where I might have to get an iPad, I know, Ew.) Whereas the small range on Android all suffer fun latency.You can't even run a simple dj app on Android the way it is. Looking forward to lower latency and hopefully many more music apps

      • Jim Crossley

        *from latency, not fun latency, but close.

  • Freak4Dell

    Glad to see that GTV session. I completely missed it when I was looking over the session schedule last week. Here's hoping for something good.

  • http://twitter.com/seanvoice Sean Caldwell

    Excited to see if they can top last years keynote. My bags are packed...see you in 8 days.

  • JG

    If anyone found out they can't attend after all & have a ticket to get rid of.... ::raises hand:: Think of this guy :)

  • John O’Connor

    I didn't even realize you weren't going to make it this year Ron. It would have been great for you to do a live glass hangout during/through I/O

  • Kokusho

    Can't wait ! I love games and I'm working on one! I'm so eager to see what's in store for my Nexus 10 <3

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    I would not hold my breath over low-latency audio, because they mention OpenSLES. With OpenSLES you're uploading your sound samples to audio subsystem, and trigger their playback, it's low latency, good for games, and even has some built-in filters and effects.
    But audio apps require continuously pushing their own audio stream, because they do all effects and filters themselves, pre-uploaded samples are not enough for them, so as of now the only option is to route audio stream through Java AudioTrack API, which is slow, and will always be slow.
    The only real solution will be to add PulseAudio server to Android internals, or something equally radical.

    • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

      Plus, it doesn't mention a word about recording, which is absolutely horrible in Android.

    • http://profiles.google.com/rejeanpoirier Rej Poirier

      OpenSLES is already present (as of Android 2.3.4) and supports generated/streaming audio. (It's what most synth apps use already).

      It still doesn't let us go low enough. (~50-100ms), but I don't know why it can't.

  • Tomi Golob

    But...but...I want the ARP fix for the Nexus 4/Android 4.2.2 ...I want that friggin unified messaging app that everyone is screaming about...they better not make a special app just for hangouts!! *shakes fist* why,why won't they make an unified messaging app that handles SMS and talk/hangouts/g+ messenger ? WWWHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYY?? *desperate cry of agony and yet with a halftone of hope*

  • http://twitter.com/ToysSamurai Toys Samurai

    Regarding any gaming improvements -- if they require a new OS version, it will be months, if not YEARS, before we can see any real improvement in the marketplace.

    • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

      I'm sure they thought that one out.... They will most likely add some api's for the service...

    • vitriolix

      It will likely be linked to Google Play Services and hence support all the way back to 2.3.x

  • Mandeep Singh

    I wish google lives up to expectations

  • Vardan Nazaretyan

    Can't wait for the I/O. All this seems interesting, especially the Gaming thing.

  • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

    GoogleTV, integrated with Android@Home, and Googles new gaming servive would be boss!!! I hope they release a NexusGTV, everything the Nexus Q was and more... I'm excited about what ever they have Planned for GoogleTV... Had one since beta... Sony Blu-ray still use it every day!!!

    • Tomi Golob

      Meh...I find blue ray not worth the money. I can still watch in 1080p movies on a single DVD...maybe I'm getting old or something but BlueRay to me just isn't worth the hassle

      • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

        I've only used the blu-ray on it, maybe 10 times... I mostly stream MKV files using Plex for GoogleTV... I went with the Sony, cause I don't trust Logitech, and the quality of their products... I do with Sony, and it seemed like my suspicions where right on... I also notice after getting my Sony, that people that have the Logitech GTV were less happy than us, who got the Sony...

        • Tomi Golob

          Makes sense. Regarding streaming,hell yes. DLNA is the best invention in home multimedia entertainment. MKV ftw! My TV supports DLNA streaming of MKV *THANK GOODNESS* (and all the more popular formats) ...I was lucky because I bought the TV without checking which format it supports for direct streaming. But knowing Samsung I felt sure it would support MKV. I was glad to find out it did :)
          Yeah ive seen the reviews of Logitech GTV. Most of the reviews were less than stellar

          • Google_Is_The_Higgs_Boson

            If Google updates this platform, and release a NDK for developers, we could get some XBMC action as well... I guess we'll know in the next couple days what's happening with this platform... It's most def a do or die situation for the platform...

  • Alu Zeros

    I have a feeling its going to be an incremental upgrade vs a full upgrade