After following the Google I/O coverage, we decided to take a quick look and sift through some stuff to see what was most interesting. There were quite a few things, but we really want to cover the stuff that stood out and that matters most to mobile OS users.
1) Android Ice Cream Sandwich
This is Google's upcoming mobile OS update. It's designed for phones, tablets and even computers. The most important part is this: It's about ending Android fragmentation. Fragmentation is an issue that has plagued Android for some time now. It's annoying to developers and it can be annoying for users. This is a major step for the mobile OS, and is something that has helped Apple along the way when it comes to development.
2) Standardized Updates for Ice Cream Sandwich
We think this one is good enough to have its own section of this post. Another major problem with Android, which is just a side-effect of the fragmentation, is the non-standard updates. Android users don't always get the updates they need/want. It's up to the carrier and manufacturer.
3) Movies in the Android Market
The Android Market now has movies. You can rent for two dollars a flick. It works much like iTunes: 30 day rental period, but once you start watching, you have 24-hours to finish your movie. You can choose to stream, or "Pin" the movies to your device. This will download them in the background and let you view them later, for instance while on a plane. Looks like Apple is going to have to bring down movie rental's prices a bit (for instance, at the time of this writing, The King's Speech can be rented for $4.99 in HD or $3.99 in SD). You can start renting today at market.android.com.
4) Google Music
This has been in the works for some time now, according to the past report we read. It seemed to be at a standstill as the labels and Google tried to work out a deal. This is just music on the cloud. While the other stuff we talked about was already available to iOS users, this one is one of those cases where Google beat Apple to the punch. It's really little more than a place to store your music collection. There will be a desktop client for both Windows and Mac (Ouch. Apple, you'd probably be wise to hurry up.) Google will also one day have an online music store, much like iTunes. that's all still being negotiated though. You can upload your music library, do offline listening and all music is pushed between devices.
5) Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1
The Galaxy Tab finally looks like a tablet that can be considered an iPad competitor. At least it does at first glance. Last year's model just looked like a slightly bigger phone. This one is 8.6mm thick and weighs 565 grams. The screen is 10.1 inches. It has a 1GHz dual-core processor. 32GB storage with 1GB RAM. It runs on Honeycomb.
Google Strong, Plays Catchup in Some Areas, Goes Beyond in Others
A lot of this stuff is already available with Apple's platforms. Google is ahead of Cupertino when it comes to the storage locker and as far as movie rental pricing goes. That's a good thing. We hope Steve Jobs says "Well fine then! 99-cent movie rentals for everyone!" We don't know if that will happen, but maybe $2 can become a standard for digital movie rentals.