Rich Miner — Google
Rich used to work for Orange before he co-founded Android.
Tom Hume also has good notes for Rich's talk.
- We have hit a tipping point with openness being a major catalyst
- Mobile phone operators tend to behave somewhat like lemmings…
- (re: unlimited data plans)
- Have probably been pushed a little faster & harder than they would have liked it (iPhone)
- Rich spoke about history of working at Orange, trying to launch SPV
- Difficulties sorting out bugs — HTC didn’t have access to code, Microsoft said it would take months to fix…
- App discovery was non-existent
- Compared number of mobile phones to number of cars, PCs, landline telephones…
- Unsurprisingly, there are more mobile phones by several orders of magnitude
- Even for Google, it was crazy to get apps signed on lots of operator networks
- Google Maps for Mobile should be able to launch directly from your address book, but this is not possible in J2ME
- It’s possible to access your address book, but only on a subset of phones that support the relevant API, and even then you have to implement your own search
- Showed slides from Android (the company) when being bought by Google:
- Hardware costs going down but software costs staying the same
- Existing Smartphone OSs aimed at enterprise & high-end, Android aimed slightly lower
- Android architecture — all available as open source: source.android.com
- Linux kernel for hardware drivers
- Libraries on top — SQLite, WebKit, OpenGL…
- Android Runtime on top and to the side
- allows access to all the data and services on the phone
- App framework on top of both
- Then actual provided apps on top of that
- Android marketplace is totally under control of developers
- No human intervention between developer publishing and appearing on the marketplace
Mauricio Reyes recorded the Q&A if you want to see the video.
Q: What about the UI?
- Need to focus on consumer focussed user interface
- He didn’t quite answer the question, other than say it’s an important issue…
Q: What are plans to generate as much hype as iPhone?
- Not looking to replace iPhone — iPhone is already a good Google experience
- This is a 1.0 device from HTC and T-Mobile
- There are lots of others in the pipelines — there will be lots more arriving soon
Q: Once there are lots of different handsets, how will apps run on all handsets?
- cf. JavaME from Sun — there was no reference implementation, so each JVM behaves differently
- Instead Android has a single reference implementation so each device will have the same underlying software stack and apps will make the same calls
- Are working on a conformance test — for OEMs to run and carriers to use before accepting a test
- Google are also going to pick reference apps that challenge the platform (in a good way) and will highlight those as app tests
Q: WebKit and Gears
- At the moment, Gears is tied to browser app, not WebKit core
- This was a mistake and will be changed
- Will therefore be able to have a WebKit component in your app and still access Gears stuff
Q: Widgets for home screen not in current SDK
- Home screen is just an app
- Just ran out of time in development — have had lots of requests to add them
- Haven’t made a roadmap yet
- Since it’s just an app — can replace with something else — and some OEMs may do so