27 April 2009

Android 1.5 at Google I/O

I admit, I've been talking big about Google I/O in my last few posts. But I'm entirely serious: Google I/O is going to be the Android developer event of the year, no doubt about it. I want to take a few minutes to explain why.

The most exciting aspect, to my mind, is the technical content. We have 9 sessions listed now on the Google I/O sessions site, and we're working on still more. (And that's not even including the fireside chat with the Android Core Technical Team.) I recently sat down with some of the speakers to discuss their topics, and found that this is very solid material. Here are some of the sessions I'm excited about.

My background is strictly in engineering, and I never had the chance in college to take any design courses. So one session I'll definitely be at is Chris Nesladek's "Pixel Perfect Code". He's going to start with the basics, and give us an overview of the theory of UI design, and then explain the principles that we use when designing the core Android UI. If you like the UI updates that you've seen in the Android 1.5 "Cupcake" user interface, then be at this session.

My particular team works intensively with developers to help them build and launch applications. Justin Mattson is going to share some of the hard-earned debugging and performance techniques that we've picked up in our work with partners. He's going to walk you through some actual, real-world apps on the Android Market and show you how we squeezed the bugs out of them.

Now, they told me to focus on only one or two sessions in this post, but forget that. I can't resist! I have to tell you about a couple more, like David Sparks' session on the media framework. One of the most common questions we get asked goes something like "dude, what is up with all these codecs? AAC? MP3? OGG? MPEG? H264?" David's going to answer that question—among many others -- and explain how the media framework is designed and operates. Armed with this new understanding, you'll be able to make smarter choices as you design the media components of your own apps.

And last (for today), I want to mention Jeff Sharkey's "Coding for Life—Battery Life" session. A statement like "it's important to code efficiently on mobile devices" is deceptively simple. It turns out that what constitutes efficient code on, say, the desktop is sometimes woefully hard on battery life, on mobiles. What I've learned to tell developers is "everything you know is wrong." That's why I'm looking forward to Jeff's session. He's going to go through a whole basket of tips and tricks, backed up by some nice crunchy numbers.

And of course, these are just the technical sessions (and not even half of those.) We're also going to have quite a few folks representing some of our app developer and Open Handset Alliance partners at Google I/O, but I'll save those details for another post. I'm also looking forward to turning the tables, and giving some of you the floor. Besides the fireside chat where you can ask the Core Technical Team all the thorny technical questions you've been saving up, there's also a Lightning Talks session just for Android developers, and an Android Corner mixer area in the After-Hours Playground.

I'm also excited about a few surprises we've lined up... but I can't say anything about those, or they wouldn't be surprises, would they?

So, there you have it. Excitement! Drama! Surprises! It's like a movie trailer, but without the awesome voiceover. I hope it worked, and that you all are looking forward to Google I/O as much as I am. (By the way, I'm instructed to inform you that you can save a bit of coin by registering early. You might want to hurry though, since early registration ends May 1.)

Happy Coding!