The second day of Google’s I/O developer conference seemed to lack in content compared to the first day. It seems as though the first day was geared more towards the direct consumer where the second day was more Developer-centric. However, there were still some items of note that I’d like to mention in this summary.
Opening up the Keynote was a demonstration of Google Chrome and its upcoming improvements. There is a definite performance boost with more HTML5 and WebGL support. This was demonstrated by running the Fish IE Test on a non-WebGL version of Chrome vs. a WebGL-laden Chrome. This test was created to show off the speed of IE9, and was used yesterday to show off the speed of WebGL with Google Chrome. We see an immediate performance improvement when 1000 fish are rendered at 25 fps. WebGL also opens up the possibility for 3D rendering; we may start to see more graphically-intensive games in Chrome.
We can’t talk about Google Chrome without also talking about Chrome OS. There are major improvements to the browser’s OS brother and it is starting to look and function more like a real Operating System according to what we are used to. There is now a File Manager so you can browse the local file system, as well as USB flash drives and external hard drives. However, there was no mention on whether or not you could browse network drives.
Native Music and Video playing was added and media will play in a separate window as you continue to browse. This is separate from Google’s Music cloud player that was demonstrated the previous day, and it wasn’t clear if the native music player supported the Google Music Beta or not.
Chrome OS also supports famous web streaming apps out of the box: Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, etc.
Google Chromebooks were announced to be released June 15th. Currently, there are two manufacturers that have models being released on that day. Both Samsung and Acer will be offering Wifi only and Wifi + 3G models, with Verizon stepping in as the 3G provider. Both manufacturers are powering their Chromebooks with Intel’s Atom Pine Trail platform with a dual-core N570 processor. They both come with a 16GB SSD mSata hard drive and they both weigh 3.26 Lbs. They both come with an HD webcam: Samsung’s is 1MP, Acer’s is 1.3MP. Samsung is touting a 12.1″ WXGA display with a resolution of 1280×800 and Acer’s has an 11.6″ WXGA screen with 1366×768 resolution. Both models will boot in about 8 seconds and have a battery life of about 6 to 8 hours.
With what they are offering, and with the improvements to the Chrome OS, these Chromebooks appear to be powerhouses for cloud computing. It may be a while before we see this hardware being bogged down.
Chromebooks for Business and Education
Google is offering a subscription model for Businesses and Schools. With a 36-month commitment, businesses can purchase Chromebooks at $28 per month per user, whereas schools can purchase them for only $20 per month per user. This subscription includes full warranty support and free hardware upgrades. Since this if offered by Google and not the Manufacturers, I believe that this subscription model will apply to all future Chromebooks that are released.
We can’t forget the most important announcement of them all. Angry Birds was released for Chrome and is now available in the Chrome Web Store. It includes a special Chrome level, so if you use Chrome, and you are an angry bird, then you MUST check it out.
The Google I/O conference definitely left me feeling overwhelmed. There is so much to take in, and I probably missed a chrome-load of announcements; I’ll try to make up for that with upcoming posts.
Here are a few other items that were talked about during day 2. Let me know if you’d like to know more about any of them:
- New Google Tasks API
- In-App Payments for Chrome Web Store
- Java Port of ROS
- Google Chrome Box