Google's Android demo shows app store, tweaks iPhone formulas

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Attendees at Google's I/O Conference this week were greeted with an Android phone interface that shares yet more common ground with the iPhone from the company's close neighbor Apple, including the first evidence of a dedicated app store.



The search engine giant's project lead for Android, Andy Rubin, dropped hints at the event that his firm's commitment to open development access doesn't preclude it from creating an official marketplace for Android apps. Instead, he argued that the concept could be essential for promoting the mobile operating system and its partners.



"It would be a great benefit to the Android community to provide a place where people can go to safely and securely download content and where a billing system would allow developers to get paid for their effort," The Register heard Rubin say. "We wouldn?t have done our job if we didn?t provide something that helps developers get distribution."



While details of just what this would involve are still murky at this stage, the Google manager's live demonstration of the latest version of Android revealed a conspicuous "Market" button already in place -- albeit one not explored during the presentation.



Even so, the addition creates an unusual similarity between Google's commercial platform and that coming with Apple's iPhone 2.0 firmware in June. Where most mobile app stores are operated independently of hardware or software, such as Handango, both the Android Market and the iPhone's App Store will be controlled by the same companies responsible for their respective operating systems.



Google's open platform is believed to allow installations of apps without official blessing, however, in contrast to the official certification process necessary for iPhone software.



The Market icon in Android. | Image credits: AndroidCommunity



Although one of the more conspicuous similarities, the I/O gathering also revealed a few familiar, if improved, interface elements initially seen in Apple's hardware.



Of note are multiple home screens accessed through the same swiping gestures as those introduced with Apple's January firmware update, though with an extra twist: while Apple's screen is limited to application icons and web shortcuts, the Android front-end uses the extra space for links to particular contacts and even immediately viewable widgets like clocks.



Even the slide-to-unlock motion, which is a simple left-to-right affair with the iPhone, expands to a nine-point system with Android that lets users secure the phone with a memorized pattern.



And while Google has regularly declared its pride in offering Google Maps with the iPhone, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company has reserved some of its best features for its own platform. The accelerometer that largely governs just screen rotation in the iPhone can now be used in a new Street View mode that rotates the point of view simply by changing direction in the real world.



Google itself won't produce handsets and is leaving that responsibility to established handset makers like HTC and Samsung, many of which are expected to produce a mix of devices that will kick off Android's debut late this year.



Android's new home screen.



Street View in Google Maps.



Google Maps on Android.



Android's new slide-to-unlock system.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 90
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,603member
    Crappy zoom feature, straight out of Microsofts piss poor attempt with Deepfish.



    No multi-touch no sale



    Also the gesture lock is just a pin. whoopity doo, 9 points (9 numbers) joined by a line, its a glorified pin number.



    If they truly wanted to create a great mobile OS they should have been more creative and original instead of taking a sheet of carbon paper to the iPhone. Come on, are Google the new Microsoft? Start your copiers now.
  • Reply 2 of 90
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    I'm wondering what is going to happen with the maps app on the iPod touch and iPhone. If Google are creating their own devices with this in mind, then why would they allow access to the competition?
  • Reply 3 of 90
    banalltvbanalltv Posts: 238member
    Messy looking icons.
  • Reply 4 of 90
    zandroszandros Posts: 537member
    This is embarrasing for Google. About as pathetic as those who insist on skinning their Ubuntu to look like MacOS X but fail horribly.
  • Reply 5 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    The gesture lock is something I would have thought Apple woulf have come up first. It's simple, clever and certainly is outside the box. I think I should have an option for using FileVault on my iPhone and a password option as long as I desire, not just a simple PIN.



    There are plenty of choppy, poorly executed code demoed for Android that can mocked, but that can be rewritten and icons can redone. This is the closest Apple has seen to any device that could be called an "iPhone-killer". I'm sure Apple is going over Andorid with a fine tooth comb looking for anything they can borrow.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    I'm wondering what is going to happen with the maps app on the iPod touch and iPhone. If Google are creating their own devices with this in mind, then why would they allow access to the competition?



    Because Google isn't selling Android.
  • Reply 6 of 90
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    All of you dismissing Android because of icon aesthetics and missing feature should realize that Android could be the next Windows 95 that wipes Apple out of the mobile business.



    Windows 95 was "good enough" to most people. Android could be "good enough" to most people also. And if people can get cheap phones with Android on them, Apple could be in trouble.



    Mind you, there seems to be a huge reversal recently. People are buying Apple products in droves with little regard for price. Seems like people have finally awoken and seen the light (thanks to iPods and word of mouth).



    There's nothing about the iPod that couldn't have been said about the Mac 10-15 years ago. Macs were clearly a superior product...but nobody knew that. A series of events allowed the iPod to break this curse and make people more aware of Apple products (including the Mac).



    Still...Apple has to be careful and not let Android become "good enough". I think Apple's doing a good thing patenting many iPhone innovations. Anything to stop people from directly copying the iPhone look and feel is a good for Apple.
  • Reply 7 of 90
    I thought the gesture-driven login and compass oriented street view were really, really cool.
  • Reply 8 of 90
    boogabooga Posts: 1,081member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kim kap sol View Post


    All of you dismissing Android because of icon aesthetics and missing feature should realize that Android could be the next Windows 95 that wipes Apple out of the mobile business.



    Windows 95 was "good enough" to most people. Android could be "good enough" to most people also. And if people can get cheap phones with Android on them, Apple could be in trouble.



    Mind you, there seems to be a huge reversal recently. People are buying Apple products in droves with little regard for price. Seems like people have finally awoken and seen the light (thanks to iPods and word of mouth).



    There's nothing about the iPod that couldn't have been said about the Mac 10-15 years ago. Macs were clearly a superior product...but nobody knew that. A series of events allowed the iPod to break this curse and make people more aware of Apple products (including the Mac).



    Still...Apple has to be careful and not let Android become "good enough". I think Apple's doing a good thing patenting many iPhone innovations. Anything to stop people from directly copying the iPhone look and feel is a good for Apple.



    I had similar thoughts, but the differentiator, I think, is that the iPhone is an iPod. Apple's done extremely well with the UI, and all the Android phones are going to look kind of similar and pedestrian. It will still be the iPhone users that have something special.



    I do wish Apple had taken the iPhone opportunity to dump Objective-C and Cocoa and gone with a more modern API, and that's one area that Android will have a HUGE advantage over the iPhone in. You'll have droves of developers who have years of experience in the toolchains, languages, and systems involved.
  • Reply 9 of 90
    mr.scottmr.scott Posts: 124member
    "The accelerometer that largely governs just screen rotation in the iPhone can now be used in a new Street View mode that rotates the point of view simply by changing direction in the real world."



    Having a hard time visualizing this? Someone care to take stab at explaining this? Sound like the technology that?s already in a GPS unit? too me anyway.



    Thanks
  • Reply 10 of 90
    jas777jas777 Posts: 1member
    Apple could develop a "Boot Camp" for the iPhone as it has done with their Mac computers. That would negate many from even considering another smart phone vender. Imagine being able to dual boot your iPhone to either Mac OS X or Android.
  • Reply 11 of 90
    muncywebmuncyweb Posts: 157member
    Looks like an iPhone with a bunch of extra junk added. Gives messy people the opportunity to clutter up their cell phone screen until it's completely unusable. Kind of like they do their houses...lol.
  • Reply 12 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I had similar thoughts, but the differentiator, I think, is that the iPhone is an iPod. Apple's done extremely well with the UI, and all the Android phones are going to look kind of similar and pedestrian. It will still be the iPhone users that have something special.



    I do wish Apple had taken the iPhone opportunity to dump Objective-C and Cocoa and gone with a more modern API, and that's one area that Android will have a HUGE advantage over the iPhone in. You'll have droves of developers who have years of experience in the toolchains, languages, and systems involved.





    Strongly agreed, I see apple's advantage as being control over the hardware integrating with the UI. But google and the open market will move extremely faster in pushing new innovative ideas to the user, rather then waiting on the apple approval.



    if you look at what google has been able to accomplish simply w/ text messaging, its great. I'm very interested in what they'll come up w/
  • Reply 13 of 90
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,426member
    This could be history repeating itself. 1984 Apple come out with a computer revolution called a Mac and Mac OS and keep it to themselves. Microsoft come out with a poor imitation but allow it to run on anything anyone wants to make. They are cheap and nasty but sell like hot cakes. 2007 Apple come out with a phone revolution ...
  • Reply 14 of 90
    albeikalbeik Posts: 6member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr.Scott View Post


    "The accelerometer that largely governs just screen rotation in the iPhone can now be used in a new Street View mode that rotates the point of view simply by changing direction in the real world."



    Having a hard time visualizing this? Someone care to take stab at explaining this? Sound like the technology that?s already in a GPS unit? too me anyway.



    Thanks



    Watch it here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PRfVKzuUJ4
  • Reply 15 of 90
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JAS777 View Post


    Apple could develop a "Boot Camp" for the iPhone as it has done with their Mac computers. That would negate many from even considering another smart phone vender. Imagine being able to dual boot your iPhone to either Mac OS X or Android.



    I'm sure the hackor community will do this, but I see no reason for it. The reasons to dual boot a PC are not the same for a cell phone.
  • Reply 16 of 90
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I do wish Apple had taken the iPhone opportunity to dump Objective-C and Cocoa and gone with a more modern API, and that's one area that Android will have a HUGE advantage over the iPhone in. You'll have droves of developers who have years of experience in the toolchains, languages, and systems involved.



    Sadly, Android is C code under the hood and developers only get to write in Java. I think Apple's approach is going to pay off much better than Java on Android.
  • Reply 17 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Booga View Post


    I had similar thoughts, but the differentiator, I think, is that the iPhone is an iPod. Apple's done extremely well with the UI, and all the Android phones are going to look kind of similar and pedestrian. It will still be the iPhone users that have something special.



    I do wish Apple had taken the iPhone opportunity to dump Objective-C and Cocoa and gone with a more modern API, and that's one area that Android will have a HUGE advantage over the iPhone in. You'll have droves of developers who have years of experience in the toolchains, languages, and systems involved.



    It shouldn't be that big of a deal for Amazon to create a Google app to download music directly to Android-enabled phones.



    If anyone is of the opinion that open-source is superior to closed systems, then I would be very concerned if I were in the Apple camp. We're seeing "Microsoft vs. Apple" all over again, this time on the phone.



    I have little doubt that iPhone2 will be a big winner, but the gap is getting narrower. Steve... get more product out there on more carriers and soon!
  • Reply 18 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr.Scott View Post


    "The accelerometer that largely governs just screen rotation in the iPhone can now be used in a new Street View mode that rotates the point of view simply by changing direction in the real world."



    Having a hard time visualizing this? Someone care to take stab at explaining this? Sound like the technology that?s already in a GPS unit? too me anyway.



    Thanks



    In the Android demo, they were demonstrating a "compass" feature that linked the Street View mode to the phone. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me. It's almost like having a HUD overlay viewable on your future Android phone.
  • Reply 19 of 90
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Google has almost guaranteed Android dominance with their approach. I can't think of a reason why a phone manufacturer wouldn't want to take advantage of Android to fight off the rise of iPhone. All other interfaces I've seen are horrors of poor design.
  • Reply 20 of 90
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    In the Android demo, they were demonstrating a "compass" feature that linked the Street View mode to the phone. Pretty brilliant, if you ask me. It's almost like having a HUD overlay viewable on your future Android phone.



    Really? I found that feature to be completely retarded. What's the point of having a street view when you're physically on the street and can witness how it looks. Unless you're not on that street. At which point it's just a gimmick feature...instead of using a finger to spin yourself around in the street view, your entire body spins.



    I may just point and laugh when I see people looking at their Android phones and spin around in circles instead of using a finger to change the street view.
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