If there were any doubt of the breadth of vision Google has for Android, Google IO laid those to rest.
In the first 50 minutes of the keynote, Hugo Barra demonstrated Android powering lights in a home, selecting workout regimens on an exercise bike, transferring photos directly from a camera to a tablet over USB, watering a garden and managing multimedia in the living room. There were 10 robots roaming around Moscone, powered by Honeycomb tablets.
The most amazing demo was a 3D scene that recognized the position of a users head and eyes. As the user moves around, the scene moves with him, giving the feeling that the tablet is a window into another world. All of this will be available to developers.
The atmosphere was electric. There were a huge contingent of fanboys, not Apple but Android.
Front and center at the startup alley, game developers broadcast richly textured games onto 27 inch monitors via HDMI from a Xoom tablet. Another rendered 100 independent soldiers firing arrows and launching catapults on a French battlefield at 30 frames per second.
The most exciting part of Android is its rawness and flexibility. Android is availing all the processing power, hardware acceleration and inexpensive integration into all kinds of devices to developers, carriers and OEMs of all kinds. The first wave of tablets, robots and farms are proofs of concept and are predecessors to life changing devices.
Android can be twisted to do so many things. Because of this capacity, Google is pushing the OS to achieve ubiquity, seemingly always part of Rubin’s grand design. I came away from the keynotes and the conference wondering how many different touch points Android will have on my life in just 12 or 18 months.
After the conference, I attended the TapJoy Android event where developers small, large and publicly traded mingled. They discussed the challenges of app distribution, monetization with second grade payment options, and piracy, all the while pointing to the tremendous download numbers (11M per day), activations (400,000 per day) and reduced cost of devices (Tata announced a free smartphone with 2 year plan in India by EOY). There’s an unmistakable feeling of swelling momentum behind Android.