While it doesn't affect those of you who have no idea what FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is, today's Android 3.1 announcement (see the SDK release here) will make a lot of people who gave up MP3s for FLAC files happy. Forget happy - think ecstatic. Unlike MP3s, FLAC is a lossless codec, meaning it does not degrade in quality after compression, making it the perfect solution for audiophiles who really care about the quality of their sound.
Google didn't leave us waiting long for the Android 3.1 SDK; hot on the heels of this morning's unveiling, the software development kit for the latest version of Honeycomb has landed. With it comes a boatload of new APIs (no wonder the API level is now 12) - most notably resizable widgets, improved animation frameworks, and, last but certainly not least, a host of options for interacting with USB devices.
A ton of Android news has already come out of Google I/O, but this time Google TV is thrown into the mix. GTV is set to see an OS update to Android 3.1 (Honeycomb) which means two things: developers will be able to create apps that will run on Honeycomb tablets and Google TV using the same SDK, and the Android Market will finally be a part of Google TV. Unfortunately, Google TV will not receive the Market update before the Honeycomb update, as they will both be released as one, OTA update.
Well, we all saw it coming. After giving away phones the past two years (HTC Magic G2 in 2009, HTC Nexus One/Motorola Droid and HTC EVO 4G in 2010), Google I/O attendees will be leaving with shiny new Limited-Edition Samsung Galaxy Tabs. Here's our little (big) guy:
The Tab 10.1 will be available to the masses on June 8, but I/O attendees will be receiving it first. The Tab 10.1 of course will be running Honeycomb (and will be getting the upgrade to 3.1 in a few weeks), have a 10.1'' screen, 1Ghz dual-core processor, and sport 32GB of onboard memory.
When Google announced its new Movies service today, some of the details of the service's launch were omitted in the information overload that is I/O. But now that we've had a minute to regain our composure and, you know, investigate, we've got some exciting news about Google Movies: you can start renting and watching right now (note: only the United States is currently supported):
The catch is that you'll only be able to do it from your personal computer (via the Web Market or YouTube in the browser) or on a Motorola XOOM in the Videos app for the moment (we're assuming that means it's limited to Honeycomb Android devices for the time being).
Shortly after Honeycomb dropped, we were told that the next version of Android would bridge the gap between tablets and phones. That bridge was officially announced this morning at Google I/O: Ice Cream Sandwich.
Ice Cream Sandwich will be the newest version of Android, and it's going to bring the goodness of Honeycomb to phones, along with Gingerbread features to tablets. The update is due out in Q4 of this year, and the goal is to unify the Android experience across devices, which is a huge step towards ending fragmentation as we know it.
Conferences like Google I/O give companies a chance to update curious parties will all their major goings-on, but also allows them to flaunt their stats a little bit. Android's success is noted by just about everyone these days, and Google's decided to keep on proving it by providing its latest activation and app figures.
Main statistics being discussed were:
We've had leaked betas of Google's Music 3.0 app for Android for what seems like time eternal now, but Google has finally chosen to make the app public. At least part of it, that is. It sports the same interface as the beta we've all come to know (and love?), but lacks one key feature, mysteriously: a settings menu. That's probably owing to the fact that the previous betas we've seen all contained sync (Google Music) options in the settings menu, and unless you're a beta-invitee (don't worry, none of us have gotten ours yet, either), these options will presumably remain hidden and otherwise inaccessible.
Google just announced during the keynote presentation that Honeycomb is officially being updated to Android 3.1. The update will begin rolling out today for owners of the Verizon Motorola XOOM 3G - no word yet on when the WiFi model and other 3.0-rockin' tablets will receive the update, though.
They mentioned a few key improvements they've made with 3.1, though we're sure they only just scratched the surface. For example, they've improved multitasking to now allow more apps to run simultaneously.
At Google's I/O Keynote Tuesday, it was announced that Android may be worming its way into your house in the near future - not just through your phone, tablet or TV, but through other appliances, as well. Android@Home is a system meant to be used as a conduit between your devices and appliances win your home, like the lighting or music systems.
As it was demonstrated for the keynote audience, the presenters had linked various lights to an application in the tablet, dimming them or turning them off as they performed different actions.