Feeds

Google opens Android kimono

For about 10 minutes

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Google I/O The second loudest cheer was for the opening of Google App Engine. The loudest was for a compass built into an unnamed mobile handset running Android.

This morning, during an extended keynote speech at Google's I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Android engineering director Steve Horowitz demonstrated the fledging mobile OS on a mystery handset with a Synaptics touch screen, showing off several applications for the first time. Among these was a version of Street View that moves through Google's virtual world in response to the physical movements of the phone itself.

"With a flick of the finger, you can navigate around," Horowitz said, as he used the device's touch screen to wander through Street View. But then he switched to "compass-mode," tapping into the device's built-in compass and accelerometer. He could spin through those virtual streets simply by spinning his phone. "This is one of my favorite new features on Street View," he said, as applause erupted from several hundred developers. "The device can actually track my movements."

Google Android Demo

What Android might look like

Google bills Android as an "entirely open source world-class mobile stack." But at the moment, it's not open source. Google is privately developing the platform in tandem with more than 30 mobile-industry partners, and it won't open things to outside developers until version 1.0 is released "in the second half of this year." No, Google wouldn't get more specific than that - even when pressed.

So the demo from Horowitz provided a rare glimpse of the Android stack, designed to give you "everything you need to build a mobile phone from the ground up."

Before opening the kimono on his Street View compass mode, Horowitz demoed a "customizable unlock screen." Think the Jesus Phone unlock screen - except you've got more options than a finger swipe. "You can choose what your unlock pattern is," Horowitz explained. "You can use a simple gesture or you can have a more secure pattern" - such as tracing the letter "E" on your touch screen.

Horowitz also showed off Android desktop icons for quick application launch; a "status bar" that centrally displays new emails, missed calls, and calendar appointments; and a mobile version of Pac Man.

All this was demonstrated with touches to a touch screen. But at a press conference following the Horowitz keynote, Android project leader Andy Rubin told reporters that all these applications would also work with a BlackBerry-esque track ball.

Naturally, certain phones will handle certain apps better than others - a device without a compass can't do compass mode - but Rubin pointed out that Android is designed to work with practically any phone. "Even phones without screens," he said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.