No, we did not get any new hardware announcements (the Galaxy S4 is not “new” nor is the platform running on it, 4.2.2 Jelly Bean), nor were we treated to any grand new software announcements. A lot of developers were surprised by this too, but there was no sense of angst. Google Play Music All Access was a big announcement and it is clearly a full featured service. Google Maps showed a whole lot of enhancements as well.
True to what we learned in the face of many rumors, Google put the focus on the developer, and there was no shortage of interest with over 6,000 in attendance at the Moscone Center and literally hundreds of thousands following the event from around the world. From the three-and-a-half-hour keynote to start things off, to the final coding session and fireside chat, many conversations struck tones that will quickly leave someone behind if they do not speak the language.
The energy was very high and there was a lot of interest in Glass, though to be honest we did not see as many people wearing it as we thought we might. Not surprisingly, Nexus devices were everywhere amongst the developers, mostly Nexus 4 handsets but also a lot of Samsung Galaxy Nexus devices too. The laptops of choice were definitely Apple MacBook Pros, although the devs were working on their new Chromebook Pixels too.
There was really only one area where there was common grumbling among everyone there: Wi-Fi connectivity. That spoiled the fun for just about everyone. It was not that no one could get connected, but the network would drop people due to demand and so it was a point of frustration. That still did not stop the creative juices from flowing however and based on the environment that Google has built, developers have been given some amazing tools to work with.
We have no doubt that all corners of the world are going to start seeing an expansion of available applications in the Android and Chrome ecosystem. During the keynote, items that looked obscure to the untrained eye drew raves from crowd – that is indeed a good thing.
We cannot wait to see what comes out of this conference. There will be increased accessibility as well as new features added that use discrete location data that will have the ability to interact with the Google platform as a whole.
Do we wish that a new generation of hardware or software was part of the picture? Yes and no. Yes, because we always love new gadgets and features. No, because the depth and technicality of some of these new tools give developers a host of new resources to apply with a familiar platform and familiar and still fully capable hardware.
Check out the cool pics. We are looking forward to next year!