The third Android Developer Conference is wrapping up today in San Francisco, and attendees have plenty of new information to digest as it closes. Show highlights included Sony showing off an Android-based watch, Epson demonstrating new Android-based goggles, and Googlers Chet Haase and Romain Guy discussing the latest in development tools from Google.
Haase and Guy are both software engineers at Google, where they focus primarily on Android UI work. To that end, the first thing they discussed was Google’s recent public reveal of its UI standards. Said Guy: “A lot of you have been asking for guidelines, so finally we launched a website () where we give you the guidelines. These are the same documents we use internally to do all the applications for Ice Cream Sandwich.”
But Google has also released new tools since the last time Haase and Guy spoke at AnDevCon in November. Google’s Android SDK now includes Lint, a static code-analysis tool. “This is a tool you can use inside Eclipse or in the command line to tell you what’s wrong with your code,” said Haase. “It gives you hints about things that are wrong or could be wrong. There are ways you can intro it to your build process. When you export an APK from Eclipse, it runs by default and it tells you about things that will break at runtime or will cause errors.”
Another new tool is the GL Debugger, which has yet to actually be released by Google; Haase insisted that the tool would be included in the next release of the Android SDK. The GL Debugger allows developers to peel the wrapper off of 3D and 2D art-rendering calls to the system. The software sits between the CPU and the graphics driver of a device, and can be turned on to spit out every draw request in their full textual glory.
GL Debugger is quite similar to a host of other 3D and 2D art-debugging tools for Android and iPhone: ARM, Intel and PowerVR all produce similar visual tools. But GL Debugger is different because it is aware of the underlying Android operating system, and can thus push out and translate actual Android commands that are included in the rendering stream.
Google did not have a monopoly on cool tools at AnDevCon III, however. Many companies were on hand to show off their latest and greatest. Epson’s newest device is the Moverio BT-100 goggles, which include transparent digital screen projections onto each lens. The result is an Android desktop view superimposed over the world in front of the user. The BT-100 is an Android-based platform, and includes a touch pad for navigating the OS.
Sony displayed its Xperia line of Android devices. To augment these phones, Sony is pushing a new watch that connects wirelessly to such Android devices.
Arxan was at AnDevCon III to tout its newly released Android code obfuscation and DRM systems. The company now offers tools that supplement the Native Development Kit to allow developers to hide their code in plain sight. Unfortunately, Java does not lend itself to obfuscation, so Arxan has concentrated its offerings in the native Android code space.
Vserv showed attendees its AppWrapper software, which allows developers to push ads into their applications without having to change their code. Additionally, Vserv offers a J2ME wrapper for applications that were designed on clamshell phones. This software is popular in India, where much of the market remains for feature phones.
Testdroid showed off its testing briefcases, which can be packed full of Android devices and plugged into the company’s testing software and harness. The company is only seven months old, but it already offers debugging, recording and testing tools for Android developers.