Home Live Blog: Google Shows Off Honeycomb, Updates Android Market

Live Blog: Google Shows Off Honeycomb, Updates Android Market

Last week, the Google Android team sent out an invite promising an “in-depth look at Honeycomb, Android ecosystem news and hands-on demos,” so here we are at the Googleplex in Mountain View and we’re ready for these hands-on demos. In the mean time, we’ll be live blogging the announcement and bringing you the latest in mobile and tablet OS news from the big G.

Last night, we predicted that today’s event could unveil the long-awaited Google Music, an Android Market redesign or an official announcement that Google would be forking the Android OS. Today, there’s no more time for speculation. Here’s what Google has to say, live.

The event has ended, but read on for a recap.

The big news today at Google is a long-awaited update to the Android Market, in-app purchases, and developer tools.

9:58 a.m.: Everyone has taken their seats and we’re told the event will start in five minutes. Stay tuned!

10:02 a.m.:And we’re live.

We’re going to get a demo of the Motorola Xoom tablet running Honeycomb (the tablet-only release of the Android OS) and then Chris Hugo will talk about new features on Android Market.

“We consider ourselves the shepherd…” of Android. “With open source, you don’t really know what people are going to do with it. The innovation doesn’t happen in this building, it happens all around us.”

Xoom demo will show how the cloud ties everything together.

10:05 a.m.: Creating a platform that allows developers to iterate as quickly as possible has been Google’s goal.

Three buttons – back button, home button and multi-tasking button – show previews of all background tasks.

Showing off “stack widget” with multi-touch.

10:08 a.m.: “We’ve spent a lot of effort to make sure existing Android applications work on the tablet.” Showing backwards compatibility of Android applications by playing Fruit Ninja, an app that was developed “before Honeycomb

even existed.”

Google wants to encourage developers to build for tablets, however.

Offers “application fragments,” which allow developers to re-use functionality in apps and between phone and tablet.

10:13 a.m.:Honeycomb Performance

“We’ve spent a lot of time on performance.”

Developers can take advantage of hardware-accelerated graphics with “one line of code.”

10:17 a.m.: Thomas Williamson CEO of War Drum Studios takes the stage to show off 3D graphics on Honeycomb.

10:18 a.m.: Up to two people can play the same game connecting using Wi-Fi. Interactive environments, 3D graphics, etc.

“The high performance Honeycomb provides allows us to do that.”

10:20 a.m.: Now we’re going to talk multimedia capabilities.

Camera allows control of flash and various image settings. Can flip to front- or back-facing cameras.

Honeycomb supports video chat using the front-facing camera.

“We’ve spent a lot of time building image stabilization to save bandwidth” for video chat over cell networks.

10:23 a.m.: Showing off full-screen video chat technology that’s “part of Honeycomb.”

“Of course, there’s probably no one in the world that knows how much video changes the world than CNN.”

Introducing Louis Gump, VP of mobile at CNN.

We’ll be launching an Android app, he says. “It’s no secret that tablets are becoming a force in the marketplace. CNN has decided that mobile is a core strategy. We want to be there for Android users around the world.”

10:27 a.m.: Mobile “CNN iReport” on the tablet allows users to snap pictures and post directly to the Web. “It extends the invitation to everyone to be part of the news.”

10:31 a.m.: “The platform is just one half of the story. The other half of the story is how to get these applications into the hands of users.”

Here comes the Android Market update.

“The changes we’re making are for both users and developers,” including ways to monetize and promote applications for developers.

10:33 a.m.: Announcing the Android Market Web Store.

“Up until now, the way you would browse and install applications is using the market on your phone.”

Users can purchase and install directly to their devices from the Web.

Showing categories that allow users to browse through apps (more than the top featured, paid, etc).

Clicking on an app brings a user to an application details page that offers overview, user reviews,”what’s new” and permissions, including current version, Android OS requirements, update date, full description and screen shots.

10:37 a.m.: Showing how you can purchase apps on the Web. Click “purchase” and when it completes, users gets a notification on their phone that the application is being downloaded.

“There’s no wires, there’s no synching with computers, none of that sort of nonsense.”

New Market allows people to easily share apps with links to app descriptions, rather than relying on QR codes to find an app.

10:40 a.m.: Links to Android market act differently for different devices. On a computer it takes you to the Web Market. On a phone, if you click on a link from Android Market, “it understands that this is a link to an application on Android Market, so it takes me to the Android Market client on my phone.”

Now it sounds like we’re going to talk about app discovery, something Android Market has been sorely lacking.

Users are able to search the market and filter results by price, device compatibility and by popularity or relevance.

10:43 a.m.: Android Market website is live right now at android.market.com

App sellers can now set specific pricing or different currencies.

10:45 a.m.: Final thing? “Something that’s very exciting to us at Android Market.”

“Support for in-app purchases is coming. Developers will be able to sell a variety of virtual goods directly within their applications.”

This could be in-game currency, features or other in-app purchases.

Disney is here to show off in-app purchasing SDK.

10:47 a.m.: Disney: we’re bringing three key apps to Android platform. Radio Disney, Jelly Car (the “original physics game”) and Tap Tap Revenge (“our most successful franchise”).

Tap Tap Revenge has been downloaded more than 50 million times with more than 25 million songs sold.

10:51 a.m.: Showing off in-app purchasing by buying a song in Tap Tap Revenge.

“We got the latest code for in-app billing five days ago.” (The point being that it took less than a week to integrate in-app billing.)

10:53 a.m.:That’s all folks. A general preview of Honeycomb and a much-needed update to the Android Market. We’ll have a more in-depth look at the Android Market soon on ReadWriteWeb, so stay tuned.

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