Netflix addition, "Ice Cream Sandwich" highlight busy week for Android

Google's I/O conference unleashed a flurry of Android news this week, including some long-awaited new applications and updates to the operating system itself.

RELATED: Google's Android tablet update: Four PC-like features

Here were the biggest Android stories of the past week:

* "Ice Cream Sandwich" gets official: Google is hoping that its soon-to-be-released Android update, dubbed "Ice Cream Sandwich," will be the One Ring of Android updates; in other words, it will be the first version of Android that will unify the multiple versions of its mobile operating system. Google's goal in designing "Ice Cream Sandwich" will be to make an operating system that can adapt to the multiple types of Android devices, whether it's a smaller-screen phone like the Droid Pro, a large-screen phone like the Droid X or a tablet like the Motorola Xoom. Fragmentation has been a problem for Android application developers, who have complained that they have no way of knowing whether the apps they design will work effectively across multiple platforms. There is no timetable for when Ice Cream Sandwich will be pushed out to Android devices, but it's likely to come sometime this summer.

* "Honeycomb" gets an upgrade: Google also released an update to its Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") tablet operating system this week, with several features intended to make Android tablets function more like PCs. Among other things, the new Honeycomb will allow for both USB and Bluetooth HID connectivity for keyboards, mice and other personal computing staples; an expanded list of recently used applications to provide users greater access to their favorite applications; and stronger Wi-Fi connectivity to allow Android tablets to remain connected to hotspots even when the device screen flips off. These Honeycomb updates have come two months after Google announced Honeycomb would get Flash support, thus giving users access to videos and games used widely across the Web.

* Netflix coming to Android: Yes, Android-loving movie fans, you no longer need to rely on your friends' iPhones to get a mobile Netflix application. The app is slow-rolling out to Android phones and is so far only available on the HTC Incredible, the Nexus One and Nexus S models, the HTC EVO 4G and the T-Mobile G2 smartphones. According to GigaOM, Netflix is only launching on a limited number of devices due to the issues with Android fragmentation (see the impetus for "Ice Cream Sandwich" posted above).

"Because the platform has evolved so rapidly, there are some significant challenges associated with developing a streaming video application for this ecosystem," said Netflix product manager Roma De, according to GigaOM. "One of these challenges is the lack of standard streaming playback features that the Netflix application can use to gain broad penetration across all available Android phones.

* Google adds more input into Android Market: Google is trying to create a lot more visibility for a wider variety of apps on its Android Market by ranking the top mobile applications by country, by having a "trending apps" section featuring apps whose downloads have grown rapidly and an "Editor's Choice" list with picks from various members of the Google staff. In case you're curious, the top trending app as of this writing is Tetris Deluxe while the top "Editor's Pick" for this week is Air Attack HD.

* Flash 10.3 out for Android 2.2 and above: And finally, Adobe released the 10.3 version of its Flash Player for Android this week, thus patching some of the security issues Adobe found in earlier versions of the software. Supporting Flash has been one of the key features that both Android and Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS have touted to differentiate themselves from Apple's smartphones and tablets, which don't currently support Flash.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World's Anti-malware section.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MotorolaGooglewirelessAndroidNetworkingsoftwarePhonesconsumer electronics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Reed

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?