Sunday, May 23, 2010

My take on Google I/O - 2010

Sunday afternoons are usually my preferred time to catch-up on my Youtube subscriptions. I put that to good use today, by checking out Google I/O - 2010.

Vic Gundotra's interpretation of I/O (as in Google I/O) as "Innovation in the Open" pretty much set the tone for the event. As expected Google bundled a slew of new technologies like Open Media Project, GoogleTV, GWT 2.1 + Roo and renewed support for existing technologies like HTML5 and Google Wave etc. In the process Vic Gundotra and team took every opportunity to make subtle innuendos at apple's perceived "closed-technology" stack, skillfully showed solidarity with troubled tech players like Adobe and Opera and lined-up an impressive panel of venerable CEOs for support of GoogleTV.

To me, the launch of Android 2.2 was the key announcement. Here are the salient features of Android 2.2:
- New JIT compiler to the Dalvic VM - resulting in 3X speed
- Tethering
- New APIs - Cloud-to-device messaging, data backup
- Updated web browser - with V8 engine, HTML5 support, Support for Flash 10.1 and access to more and more native apis
- 20 new enterprise oriented features, integration with MS Exchange server
- Updates to AppStore : Installing apps directly on SD Card, AppStore accessible from PC
- AdSense for Mobile Apps

My take, Google continues to maintain it's leadership position to define the future of the Web.

Some may argue that Google has lost focus by trying to attempt too many things at the same time. But to me there is always a method to the madness. Having already attained absolute control of online advertising, Google is lining up products aimed at the way people will consume the web in future i.e Mobile (android), entertainment (GoogleTV, YouTube) and traditional PC based access (with Google Wave, Google App Engine) etc. Many of these technologies are bound to fade into the oblivion, but I am sure at least one of these technologies will stand the test of time and that would be a Game Changer.

Hail Google!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Designing Android GUI - Unit of measurement

Android supports multiple units of measurement (such as Pixels, inches, millimeters, points etc). However the following two units of measurement are critical for a good design:

- Density-independent Pixels (dp) - an abstract unit that is based on the physical density of the screen. These units are relative to a 160 dpi screen, so one dp is one pixel on a 160 dpi screen. The ratio of dp-to-pixel will change with the screen density, but not necessarily in direct proportion.

- Scale-independent Pixels (sp) - this is like the dp unit, but it is also scaled by the user's font size preference. It is recommend you use this unit when specifying font sizes, so they will be adjusted for both the screen density and user's preference.

As a best practice, never use anything but sp or dp unless you absolutely have to. Using sp/dp will make your Android applications compatible with multiple screen densities and resolutions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Google I/O 2010 - Live on Youtube

Google I/O 2010 is coming to San Francisco on May 19-20 2010.
Both the keynote talks will be streamed live on GoogleDeveloper Channel on Youtube.

Grapevine is abuzz over potential release of Android 2.2 (Code name Froyo) during the I/O. Among other things there is talk of GoogleTV as well. We will wait and see.

Here is the complete agenda.