Droidcon India 2011: A Report

Droidcon India 2011

It came and it conquered! The Android power has really taken over the technology world. Think of smartphones or tablets, even watches and shoes, and Android is just about everywhere. The platform is free and open source. The fact that it allows everyone to have their own interpretation of it makes it even more interesting. And what is even better is that its creator, Google, keeps bringing in new innovations every now and then. With more and more manufacturers shifting to Android devices, the technology community is getting increasingly interested in Google’s new operating system.

The power of Android was felt strongly at Droidcon India, the first-ever international Android conference in the country. The heavy turnout of Android lovers at Droidcon India, held in Bengaluru, shows the growing craze for the Android platform. The two-day conference had over 550 participants from different parts of the country. An increasing number of developers are also getting into the Android business in India.

Lectures and presentations made at the event took the audience through building a distribution from scratch to making robots with Android and Arduino, and designing mobile apps. The conference covered a range of topics like building well-designed apps, dealing with device diversity, performance optimisation, NFC, and usage in the enterprise.

Varun V, a software professional from Bengaluru who attended the event, said that he got many ideas after attending the technical sessions, apart from the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people who work for Android and develop open source software. He said, “It was good to meet people working in other companies who share my enthusiasm for Android and have their way of innovation on the platform.”

Kiran Jonalagadda, founder of HasGeek, expressed his happiness about the development of Android into such a gigantic platform in India. He said, “We tend to believe that Android does not have a base in the Tier II cities of the country, which is incorrect. There is a lot of interest in Android in the Tier II cities. The Android app scene is yet to catch up in India, but the enterprise adoption of Android is the next big thing for the open source mobile operating system.”

Don’t be unfair to Android

Android is getting bigger, better and even more powerful in all parts of the world including India. Diogo Ferreira, a young hacker who turned up at the event believes that Android will power everything—from refrigerators and heaters to, of course, most of the mobile devices.

Ferreira believes that this open source mobile operating system will be ubiquitous, powering digital devices across the board. He said, “We’ll see it power everything … even cars, maybe.”

The sheer fact that Android is open source has convinced Ferreira that the platform has the potential to go places. He said that being open source, it can be adopted by anyone who wants to. “Those interested just need to take the code and modify it in the direction of their choice,” he says.

Ferreira, who is currently working on his Ph.D, is a known name in the Android world. He has developed apps and contributed significant amounts of code. He is a part of CyanogenMod team, which maintains a community version of Android. It is a distribution of Android that you can install in the device after you buy it. It offers features like private browsing, or something as simple as FM radio that a manufacturer may choose not to enable. He says that the beauty of CyanogenMod is its property of enabling customisation. It allows the developers to build what they want and use it on their device.

Commenting on the issue of Android dealing with the “hardware interface” and the perception that it is only for geeks, Ferreira said that it is unfair to make a comparison between low-end, slower-processing devices that run on Android with iPhone. If an iPhone is positioned against a high-end Android device, the latter is bound to be the clear winner, he believes. The issues with the user interface, he adds, are currently being addressed by Google and users can expect a huge improvement shortly.

Having said that, the young hacker believes that Android is one platform that can bridge the gap between the high-end and low-end devices. He said, “Even if we consider the notion that the Android performance is not to the optimum level, people who can’t afford an iPhone should be able to own a good device.”

Android gives them that choice.Droidcon India 2011

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