Google I/O 2011 has officially kicked off with the very first keynote having ended just moments ago. Here's a quick recap of all the exciting revelations that have come so far including an update to the Android tablet OS called 3.1 Honeycomb, the confirmation of the much anticipated Gingerbread successor Android Ice Cream Sandwich, and much more. Continue after the cut for the full recap.
Google started off the keynote highlighting some impressive figures, mentioning that there are now 100 million activated Android devices, with 400,000 new Android devices activated each day, plus 200,000 free and paid apps available in the Android Market with 4.5 billion apps installed. In the past two and half years, Google has shipped eight releases of Android and now there are more than over 310 Android devices around the world.
Android 3.1 Honeycomb
The update to Android 3.1 Honeycomb brings a new task switcher that lets you scroll through a list of your most recent tasks. They developed a unique technology that automatically manages your resources for you, meaning that it will automatically shut down and restore apps transparently to reserve memory. Widgets can now be resized, stretching both horizontally and vertically.
Google TV Getting Android 3.1 Honeycomb, Plus Android Market
Although mentioned only briefly, the news of Google TV getting Android 3.1 Honeycomb is quite significant for the platform. Developers will soon be able to develop apps for both tablets and Google TV using the same SDK. Additionally, Android Market will be arriving on Google TV starting sometime this summer. All updates will be coming over-the-air for existing customers.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich
The much anticipated Android Gingerbread successor was confirmed to be Android Ice Cream Sandwich. This new update is set to launch in Q4 of 2011 and strives to be a unifying platform that works everywhere, regardless of device. They will be taking of lot of good UI elements, including the holographic UI, the new launcher, the new multitasking UI, richer widgets, and advanced apps of their Honeycomb tablet OS and making them available to phones.
Google Adds Movies To Android Market
This announcement falls right in line with the recent development with YouTube securing 3,000 new movie titles for its movie rental service. But this announcement reveals that movie rentals will now be available on the Android Market. Movies can be rented to watch from your phone or tablet. And given the earlier news of Android Market coming to Google TV, movies can certainly be rented to watch there as well.
Google Music Beta Live Now By Invitation Only
Google's much rumored cloud-based music service has finally launched in beta form. Having experienced delay after delay and failing to negotiate terms with record label companies, the service went ahead anyway with an official announcement and demo. The service works more like a digital locker where you can store and stream music. Music can be streamed to any of your Android devices simultaneously, and a cache of your most recently played music, can be played on any of those devices even while offline. Several playlist features are also included with perhaps most notably the "instant mix" feature that automatically generates a playlist for you based on your current song preference. So you just pick one song that you like at the moment, and it will generate the rest of your playlist. Request an invite here.
Android@Home: Google Home Control
This framework lets developers create Android apps that will allow any of your Android devices to control various things in your home, including light switches and appliances. Along with this they demoed a new home theater system called Project Tungsten. What was especially neat besides being able to control the system with an Android device, was the ability to swipe an NFC-enabled CD case in front of the system to have it start playing music. They have partnered with LightingScience to create compatible appliances that may debut as early as end of the year.
And for the lucky attendees, including part of our SlashGear team, gets to walk away with a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. We'll keep you posted on the rest of the developments coming from Google I/O, so check back for more updates.