This last week I had the awesome opportunity to attend Google I/O at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The event was a two-day Google technology conference showing off some of their newest creations they’ve come up with along with some new gadgets other companies have made using their technologies. One of the largest components to the conference was the discussion of Android on phones, tablets, and TVs. Second to this was the exciting updates their doing with Chrome; including their new “Chromebooks” which are notebooks running their Chrome OS. The exciting new technologies Google is coming out with and making possible is the reason for this con and a reason I wanted to attend. On top of this though, they awarded all attendees the first day with Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets. The second day they gave everyone not only a Samsung 4g MIFI device which runs on Verizon with a three-month contract, they also announced that on June 15th all attendees will be getting a Chromebook. What an awesome and unexpected award for just going to an event I wanted to attend anyways. All in all, the conference was not only fun and exciting, but also informational.
Every hour or so the conference had a bunch of “break out” sessions. During each of these times there were a number I wanted to attend, but since I don’t have a clone or time machine, I was only able to attend one during each. My big interests going into the con involved finding technologies that could be used for Viewpoint Construction Software, but also my own personal growth. The con didn’t go in detail during the sessions, but I did get some good points on where to start developing in the different areas.
I didn’t get a ton of info specific to android development, but what I did get was a large interest in creating mobile applications. I think creating some mobile applications would be fun, interesting, and useful. Android development is primarily done using Java, but there are those who are allowing development to be done using C# or other languages that are similar. This is great for me since I haven’t really touched Java for over five years. C# though I use almost daily. Unlike an iPhone, to create an application for an Android, it just takes having an environment like Eclipse to create the Java app and to compile and build the APK to be installed. Once this is done it is just a matter of running it on an android device. The idea of this is that it allows for anyone to really pickup on developing for Android.
On top of just creating an Android app, Google has a number of APIs that developers are able to use to create their applications; allowing for developers to use the Android contact list, phone dialer, system resources, Google Maps, docs, etc. The list really goes on and on. There are new APIs created all the time for developers to apply to their system. This again is a huge resource which allows for quick application creation without a ton of rewritten code. And of course, there are lots of examples out there on the interwebs.
NFC, or Near Field Communication, is a set of short-range wireless technologies allowing for Android devices (or others) to be placed on other NFC devices (even stickers) and allow the user to get whatever is stored or being shared. Unlike QR tags which only store one piece of info, these can be reprogrammed allowing for a breadth of application. Thought it was very cool and excited to see what people decide to invent using this technology.
Coding for the Cloud
Cloud computing is something that a number of companies are getting into. This new technology allows for tons of data to be stored over the cloud (or a bunch of computers with storage) and be leveraged for application development. The idea behind the “Chromebook” is to use the cloud to store all the users’ data allowing for the hardware to be changed without having to worry about reinstalling since it is all out of the users worry. My big concern for the cloud is security of people’s data and also persistency. Is the data backed up? If it is, how often is it backed up? Are users able to put important documents into the cloud and not have to worry about someone else hacking into their private data. What about companies that use this and the private data they have.
Either way, cloud computing sounds very exciting and creating apps that work with the cloud sounds like a lot of fun.
At VCS, we have some software that is quite complicated and narrowing down an application for mobile is going to be difficult. However, I am certain we will be able to find something that allows us to stand above the rest. I’m not whether it’ll be built for Android, iPhone, Blackberry or any other, but what I do know is that we need something that’ll allow us to compete with our competitors and a mobile app is something that I see our customers wanting, if not now, very soon.
For more info, check out the following presentations:
For many more sessions from the conference, head over to the Google I/O site here.
Here are some pictures and video from the conference: