Feeds

Google opens Android kimono

For about 10 minutes

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

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. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.