Google remade its annual developer conference, I/O, to focus even more on programmers this year, eschewing the usual barrage of consumer product announcements. So what did this audience of hard-core software geeks want to hear about?
Ways to talk to Google hardware, judging by audience size at various panels, town hall meetings and tutorials. Developers mobbed sessions related to Android, Google’s mobile operating system, which sometimes runs atop Google handsets. They even jammed up a talk titled “Writing Custom Views for Android,” involving software methods with names like “onInterceptTouchEvent” and held in one of the largest rooms on offer; dozens of developers sat along the walls, unable to find proper seats. A Q&A session with Android developers was liveblogged on at least two separate websites.
Ditto for Google Glass. Programmers could not get enough of the wearable heads-up-display, filling up sessions like “Developing for Glass” and “Fireside Chat with the Glass Team.” But all that gawking won’t necessarily translate into action: Glass isn’t available to the public yet, and it’s reportedly going to cost close to $1,500 when it goes on sale by the end of this year. That contrasts sharply with Android, a free operating system installed on many of the cheapest smartphones. It was hard to tell how many people in the Glass meetings were just satisfying their curiosity about the sci-fi-feeling platform.
Still, Google has detailed official and unofficial ways to write Glass software and made hardware units available to developers under an “Glass Explorers” pilot program. At I/O, it showed off apps from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Evernote. It was enough to make the case, however tenuous, that Google is making waves with its hardware present (Android) and hardware future (Glass).
Compared with all the enthusiasm around Glass and Android, sessions on Google+, YouTube and Google advertising tended to look underwhelming — pick a chair, (almost) any chair.
It’s interesting that a company that made its name on web services and web apps seems to be attracting developers primarily to its hardware-related products. But kudos to Google for seeing this shift to native apps coming — and for managing to keep both camps inside one conference center.
via Ryan Tate (http://www.wired.com/business/2013/05/glass-and-android-win-io/).