Today we‘ve checked out new developments in the Android world and beyond at the the german Android conference droidcon Berlin 2012. It is the Android conference for the German speaking world. A lot of attendees came from Austria, Switzerland and other countries as well. Compared to last year the conference has gotten bigger – but not necessarily better. Sadly, a lot of talks were aimed to market/sell a product or framework. We would have preferred if there where more dedicated technical talks. Anyway, a conference is always a good way to get a compact impression of the current trends and a great way to network and meet interesting likeminded people.
Here is what we’ve found interesting:
PhoneGap, the famous HTML5 WebApp framework is now owned by Adobe and renamed to Cordova. Phonegap/Cordova 1.5 is now also an Apache Incubator project and you can use it free of charge under the Apache License. This framework is the way to go if you want to build HTML5 apps. Whatever IDE you’d like best, there is support for Eclipse or MS Visual Studio. When building a WebApp with Phonegap, the core www folder of the project that contains the app logic will always remain the same.
The guys from Telecom Labs (T-Labs) presented Magitact, a cool new way to interact with your smartphone without even touching the screen. Magnetic gestures do the trick. Though still in beta, very impressive app showcases (play guitar strings, drum apps).
LG presented their Real3D SDK, which enables developers to build real 3D screen content (cool for games, we think). Of course you need special smartphone hardware to display the 3D: we saw the 3D content on the LG Optimus 3D Max Android smartphone. BTW, LG clearly favours Android (around 10 Android smartphones, 1 Windows Mobile smartphone out there).
Christian Kurzke from Google pointed out, that GoogleTV needs a very different UX/UI design compared to smartphone or Tablet apps, in oder to be useable on TV sets. Just think about it, there is NO touchscreen and so no swiping or tapping gestures like one is used to on a tablet can be used. The interaction is done with a remote control, which is a really different use case. So if you want to build an Android app that runs on smartphones, tables and also TV sets, you really need to reconsider the layout 3 times and pay your UX designers 3 times. A good codebase will use Android Fragments right from the start (in contrast to using Activities). That way, you will be able to rearrange UI elements (Fragments) on every platform for the users’ needs.
We also attended an interesting talk about Vodafone’s implementation of the new RCS-e/joyn standard, which will enable smartphone users to use file sharing, video sharing, real time chat, Voice over IP and peer 2 peer networks “right from the start without registration across all operator networks”. This can be achived b/c the IMSI number from the smartphone is used as an ID whereas the complete service is run in the backend of the network operator. The new service of Vodafone will be opened to developers via an API called JIBE, is still in closed beta. Besides the best end-user marketing video on the droidcon the guys from Vodafone showcased a very interesting real time multiplayer game that uses joyn. Really responsive and fast! Once this is out of beta, it could be a really interesting new operator service to use for your own apps. We’ll definitely keep an eye on joyn!
Interesting to hear, that both Telecom Labs (Magitact) and Vodafone (RCS-e/joyn) plan to establish revenue share business models for their provided services. We will see, if and how this will work out in the end…
The droidcon 2012 closed with an Apple bashing talk of Sasha Pallenberg, a (tablet) hardware guru living in the androidified Taiwan, who stated that “Android tablets will outsell iPad by the end of 2012“. According to Pallenberg, Alibaba.com shows that there are more than 200.000 android tablets out there! These impressive numbers must come from the huge low-cost Android Tablet market in Asia.