Friday, September 2, 2011

Android Developer Lab - Los Angeles

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Android Developer Lab, Los Angeles, that was held today. The focus of this event was honeycomb development. Google is well aware of the lack of apps for Android tablets and is presenting this lab in several cities hoping to encourage developers to build more apps. This was the first Google sponsored event that I attended. As a recovering C# programmer, I had attended an large number of Microsoft events, so I was curious to see if Google was a good host.

The event was held at the Sheraton Delfina Santa Monica Hotel. Things got off to a good start. I drove up to the hotel to ask where there was parking for the event and was politely told by the valet, that Google was providing valet parking for everyone. If you live in a city where parking is plentiful, you might not appreciate this, but in southern California, parking is always a problem and one that I didn't have to worry about.

The event was held at the penthouse level of the hotel. Excellent view and lots of space. I arrived early but there was already coffee, pastries, and fruit waiting. I grabbed a cup of java and joined some Google employees in a rambling discussion of tech.

The session got off to a bit of a late start but with LA traffic being always unpleasant, allowed more people to arrive without missing anything. The talks went fast and there was an enormous amount of information flying across the slides. Unfortunately the slides weren't available online, and there was no way I was going to be able take notes fast enough. So I just pulled out my favorite note taking tool, my Nexus One. It is much easier to snap photos than to write notes.

The first sessions covered some of honeycomb new programming paradigms focusing on fragments, in general, allow an activity to manage multiple view panes. We also discussed loaders, drag and drop, Renderscript, and more.

As a coder, I generally find non-coding session boring. A marketing session presented by Natasha Bock, became an exception to that. She gave a clear set of do's and don'ts for enhancing your apps standing in the marketplace. Explained how things like the editors choices are made. And did something that I always like to hear, ask for suggestions on how to improve things in the marketplace

After a fine lunch, we were given a quick introduction to Google TV. The next release which is coming soon will be compatible with Android 3.1 - not 3.2. IMHO - that not that big of deal since 3.2 was a minor upgrade anyways. More surprising was that the current crop of Google TV devices, like the Logitech Revue, will be capable of upgrading.

The final session was a developer lab. The goal of this session was to take a Android 2.1 app and turn it into a tablet app. In order to make sure that everyone had a tablet, they gave everyone in the room a brand new T-Mobile  G Slate with Google.

  • Premium Tablet Features
    • 4G and Wi-Fi capable
    • 8.9 High Definition Touch-screen
    • Dual 5MP Camera for 3D or HD Capture
    • Front Facing Camera for Video Chat
    • 32 GB Internal Memory
    • NVIDIA Tegra 2 Dual Core Mobile Processor

The lab was very fast paced and ran out of time. Luckily, all of the information in session was available online. It was interesting to watch the progression from Android 2.1 to Android 3.0. I planned to step through the session from beginning to end in the morning, to make sure that I have it all down.

Even without the free tablet, I would rate this event extremely high. It filled my head with a lot of new information and new ideas. I can't wait to get started and I will keep you all informed of my progress.