Google's I/O conference, in usual form, kicked off with an explosive start. The day's news saw the revelation of things we've been waiting to see for months. Things we've heard rumor of, wished for, and even (quite accurately) predicted. With all the things we saw, it only seems right to round up all the day's news in one place. Grab a snack, because we've got a lot to talk about.
|Liam Spradlin||Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.|
Coinciding with the announcement of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, Android developers can now pull down a new revision of Android's SDK tools – revision 20, along with a new version of the ADT Plugin, also r20 (which Eclipse users will need to use SDK r20).
The revised SDK tools bring several improvements. One of the notable additions to the SDK tools is System Trace (otherwise known as systrace), a tool (included in Project Butter) that helps monitor system activities, allowing developers to pinpoint graphical rendering or other issues.
One of the bigger changes we saw in the jump from Gingerbread/Honeycomb to Ice Cream Sandwich was in the camera app. ICS not only brought a streamlined, more subtle design to an app that so badly needed it, but also introduced zero shutter-lag, meaning the time between pressing the shutter release and capturing a photo was pushed down to (almost) zero. In fact in many cases, the time between touch and capture is imperceptible.
Another major enhancement we've just learned about with the announcement of Jelly Bean is called Project Butter. Butter (so named likely due to the colloquialism "smooth as butter") represents a new, more efficient processing framework for Android's latest and greatest iteration, making the OS much faster (allowing animation up to 60fps). Android 4.1 also makes apps more responsive, reducing touch latency and "anticipating where your finger will be at the time of screen refresh."
"How is such an enhancement possible?" I can almost hear you wondering.
"Android has always put you in control when it comes to staying notified and connected. Now you can take action directly from the notifications shade," says Android's updated "What's New" page. Indeed, today's Jelly Bean announcement saw a number of improvements to the already handy notification system we've come to know and love in previous iterations of Android. Not only can the new notifications system display larger, richer notifications, developers can create actionable notification with interactive controls for telephony, music, and more.
Viggle, which pairs a great idea with a funny name, is an app we covered last month during its beta period. The TV check-in app, which has already seen great success on iOS, recently landed in the Play Store though, finally out of beta.
For those not familiar with the app, Viggle essentially listens to your TV's audio (at your command), and figures out which show(s) you're watching by comparing the audio it heard to a database, rewarding points depending on the programming (for instance, promoted shows get more points).
For those looking forward to 2012's playing of what is widely considered the oldest (and most well-known) tennis tournament in existence, the official Wimbledon app hit the Play Store recently, bringing live scores, results, schedules, and more.
The app, despite its somewhat all-over-the-place UI, provides a ton of functionality, not only giving users information about the games, but also about players – Wimbledon's official app gives users player profiles, video previews, highlight reels, features, interviews and "golden moments" photos.
Verizon has just uploaded the official support documents for the RAZR / RAZR MAXX Ice Cream Sandwich update (which by the way will be build 6.16.211 – the same build that recently leaked). With the docs going live just moments ago, users should expect the update to officially start rolling out any day now.