Android Poised to Invade the Home

Google I/O kicked off Tuesday morning at the Moscone Center in San Francisco with a smorgasbord of new Android-related developments, including the announcement of Honeycomb 3.1; the new “Ice Cream Sandwich” OS (slated for fourth quarter 2011); and updates to the Android market, including movie rentals (starting Tuesday) and Music beta (by invite only, and free while in beta).

More than 5,000 developers (and a few civilians) packed the conference center for Google’s State of Android address. This year, Google also added global scale to the event, with live viewing parties in more than 110 cities, including Cairo, where more than 1000 people watched the conference at 2 a.m. local time.

Keynote speaker Hugo Barra, Android product management director, kicked off the morning with a little wistful reflection on Android’s past. He whipped out a T-Mobile G1, the first Android phone, which debuted two and a half years ago. “What did Google know? We’ve never been in the mobile space or the OS space?” he said, before telling us just what Google knows.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Android by the Numbers

Android software is on 310 devices in 112 countries. “Talk about choice,” Barra said to an audience who knew when to start clapping. At last year’s I/O event, Android celebrated an activating milestone of 100,000 new phones every day. Today, as Kevin predicted, the company is activating 400,000 a day.

Some of the important announcements include:

  • 100 million Android devices have been activated worldwide.
  • The Android market now has more than 200,000 apps.
  • Android users have installed 4.5 billion applications. It took the company two years to see one billion installs, then fie months to get to two billion.
  • Android Market is being extended to Google TV. Android also announced a new movie-rental service through Android Market.
  • Google Music Beta will store music in the cloud, will work for all devices and will be free while in beta. With offline caching, users can access music even when they’re not connected.
  • Android Open Accessory creates platform APIs for standard devices, such as phones and lightbulbs. With this, Android joins the ever-growing list of protocols (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Insteon, X10) competing for attention in the connected home.