Ina Fried

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Honeybread Ice Cream? Gingercomb? Google’s Android Strategy Should Become Clearer on Tuesday as I/O Begins

Although Google often uses its I/O conference to unveil all-new products, one of the most eagerly anticipated pieces of this year’s event is expected to be what the company has to say about Android.

The company unveiled the latest version of its operating system, Honeycomb, back in February, but that flavor runs only on tablets. Gingerbread, which dates back to last year, is the latest phone version.

There is due to be a lot of Android on day one of the two-day event at San Francisco’s Moscone West convention center. Expect to hear about where Google is headed on both the tablet and phone side of things, as well as how these efforts eventually get reunited into a major update of Android.

The company also plans to announce a test version of its Google Music product, a locker-based service similar to the one Amazon announced at the end of March. The service will upload one’s music collection from a PC or Mac and then play it back via an Android device or Flash-capable Web browser. Unlike Amazon, however, Google’s service won’t initially be broadly available nor will there be a way to purchase new music.

As for Android itself, Google said earlier this year that it was holding off releasing the source code behind Honeycomb because the software wasn’t tested for use on phones. Instead, it said to look for an open source release once Honeycomb is updated to include telephony (or, perhaps once the phone code was updated with the Honeycomb features).

“Android 3.0, Honeycomb, was designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes and improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization,” Google said in its March statement. “While we’re excited to offer these new features to Android tablets, we have more work to do before we can deliver them to other device types including phones.”

There is some reason to think that at least an interim update to Android will be announced at I/O, given that Adobe announced the final version of Flash 10.2 for Android, but noted that it won’t really work on Honeycomb devices until a forthcoming, and as yet unannounced, update to Android.

And, naturally, everyone at the show will be waiting to see what, if any, Android hardware they get as a reward for showing up at the event.

Meanwhile, Google isn’t announcing its plans for Google TV 2.0, but as Mobilized previously reported, the company is having a couple of sessions aimed at getting developers to get their Android code ready to run on TV sets. More details on the next version of Google TV are due in the coming months, with the goal of getting new hardware on shelves in time for the holidays, at the latest.

The company isn’t expected to announce any new major social products, but is expected to talk a good deal about Chrome (and Chrome OS) on Day 2 of the event, which is expected to attract about 5,000 attendees. And, of course, All Things D will have live team coverage starting at 9 am PT Tuesday.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik