Google I/O 2011 Pithy Rundown Of Highlights

Google kicked off the I/O developer conference on Tuesday at the Moscone center in San Francisco USA. The two day event has attracted a lot of audience with nearly 5000 passes for the conference being sold in the first hour of availability. Thousands of enthusiasts also tuned in to the proceedings via online streaming. The conference is being attended by developers and enthusiasts alike. Google has made some very interesting announcements regarding their future plans and products, some of which had been speculated for a long time. We will give you a rundown of the most important highlights.

Google Music Beta:

This particular service had been a long time coming and has been officially unveiled at the Google I/O conference. Google Music Beta is a cloud based music service which works similar to Apple’s iTunes and is being considered as a direct challenge to apple’s superiority in the music store business. The service is not available on the iOS platform but if rumors are to be believed, Apple is gearing up for their own Cloud based music service offering.

What it essentially does that it gives you the option to take your entire music collection on the cloud, making it possible to be accessed anywhere via computers, tablets or mobile devices. Users can upload up to 20,000 tracks and arrange them in playlists. A feature called as Instant Mix lets users create playlists based on their music preference, somewhat similar to Apple’s Genius feature available in iTunes.

For the time being the service is only available to the Users in the US and is invite based, which can be requested via their website. The service is free initially but eventually would possibly require a subscription.

Android 3.1 A.K.A Ice Cream Sandwich:

Google announced the latest version of Android at the I/O conference. They are calling it Android 3.1 ice cream sandwich. The biggest change is that it will be a unified OS, meaning that all mobile devices and tablets running on Android will be under a single umbrella.

Key changes and new introductions include tweaks to the UI, re-sizable widgets, Virtual Camera Operator technology that automatically focuses on people participating in video chats and the ability to connect and use peripherals such as game controllers on the devices and a fix for the notorious fragmentation glitch faced by the Android users.

Honeycomb Update:

Google also announced an update for honeycomb, in an attempt to fix problems present in the previous version. This update is not being limited to tablets only and will be available for Google TV as well.

In hope of fixing the memory limitation problem, Google has included an enhanced task switcher which would prevent the devices from running out of memory. Another tweak  gives devices the ability to act as USB hosts for USB input so that the devices may interact with external peripherals.

This is good news for Motorola Xoom tablet users as they can expect to receive the update over the air and fix some of the annoying limitations with this update.

Movie Rentals:

Google also announced a Movie rental service via the web version of the Android market, but for the time being the service can only be utilized by Motorola Xoom tablet owners in the US. Hopefully this limitation would be overcome with the release of Android 3.1 Ice Cream Sandwich.

A Movies tab is visible on the Android Marketplace from where users can rent movies. The working is similar to popular movie rentals with new releases costing $3.99 to rent, while older releases cost $2.99. The standard 30 days time limit is applicable from the time of purchase to watch the movie.

With the release of the movie rental service Google has made another foray into Apple’s domain, but whether it turns out to be a serious threat, that remains to be seen.

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