Terato @ Android Developer Lab, Singapore

— posted on March 3, 2010 1:41 AM

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    When we first heard that actual Android developers in Google, Mountain View are coming down to Singapore, the next step is pretty straightforward: sign up for it! And hey, if it has a price tag on it, we still wouldn't mind but if it's free, then it's a definite go.

    Everything is greener in the Lion City, and the same can be said about their stringent immigration process. Helmi, one of our iPhone developers got a warm welcome from the officers on his first visit to Singapore. Seems like the Singaporeans are really friendly, not only they took notice that it was his first visit, they even spent some time to get to know him better.

    As law abiding citizens, we had to declare "Helmi" to the customs. Glad he made it across in one piece ;)

    Since the event took place on Sunday and we have arrived on Saturday, we had a 'lawatan sambil belajar' to the Cash-ino and Universal Studios. The place is actually pretty decent, with all the happy faces and tons of visitors even though only 30% of the attractions were done. Oh wait, the 30% WAS the Casino (and the nice Huge spinning Universal Studios). I guess we knew where the priorities were now ;)

    If you are like us at Terato, people who love to tinker with stuffs, the above would be really familar to you. It's the fast-boot interface to allow android devices to be flashed with a Nandroid boot loader to load up really neat roms. But, what we didn't know is that Google themselves were bigger fans than us.

    Yup, I guess Google loves to jailbreak as much as we do. And what else do they love like we do? Can someone say tons of free food??

    Now that we have sink our teethes into all these delicious delights, how about some beverage to digest?

    I could go on and on about what else the Google office in Singapore has, but alas if we had so much lying around, we probably couldn't get things going. How about that touch to focus feature for your camera Google? Hehe.

    The Terato team arrived pretty early to 8 Shenton Way but unfortunately, it still wasn't early enough to beat phandroids that were already gathering around the corner, probably having a small beam-fest with all their nifty android powered gadgets. Based on what we have seen, almost every android devices ever made were seen there, from G1 to the Magic, Droid and surprise, surprise - The Nexus onessss.

    Apparently the event only takes place at 2pm, even though the time stated on the invitation letter read 1pm. It seems that google is serious at getting full attention from developers, which explains the 1 hour interval for developers who apparently has a quad core system but a broken mechanical alarm clock.

    Google sent three core developers to discuss about Android with developers; one angmo and two ABCs. Slides were divided to three focus points, namely the purpose of Android, the Android Market, as well as a code lab session. And hey! They are definitely fans of Fruit store products. Check out those aluminums on the desk.

    What the Nexus padawans and dual-wielding smart-phone roadwarriors (such as our Boss, with a Nexus One and iPhone in each hand) did not anticipate that day was that Google did not just intend to have 3 guys sent from Mountain View to flip slides. They also had the same airplane ship in 4 huge boxes containing Nexus Ones assigned to each developer in the room. The excitement from the developers in the seminar when the news were announced was akin to kids getting their first ride on a bike.

    The last time I saw such a huge excitement over a product was when Steve Jobs first announced the iPhone in 2003, Google definitely did a great job reliving the moment. Man, even the box itself speaks the beauty and elegance of a well-crafted product.

    There are no other pictures beyond this point because basically everyone including me were too busy messing with our new Nexus Ones. As for the code lab, we were taught how to make live wallpapers for the Nexus One, and it was an eye opener for us. Of course, it would have been better if we were taught how to code actual applications for Android devices - I would totally stay a week for that.

    Despite all the excellence in organizing and the excitement of receiving the Nexus Ones, there are several gripes I would like to address. And if Google were all ears, then I bet android devices will be the next big thing after their search engine.

    First of all, although the slides provided information, most of them were vague and already known by most of us. There is no certain timeline when questions were raised regarding the availability of Android Market in SG & MY, push notification features and in app purchases were given the "in consideration" treatment, and to be frank, the presentation was a little dull in taste, due to it's "obvious" nature (as in the points in the presentation is already well known) and the presentators weren't equipped with sufficient public speaking skills.

    The smartphone wars cannot be won by bullet points and big words such as "Multitasking" and "Open Source" alone. The vast consumers out there do not know the differences these features make, and do not care about them either. It's a three way fight, and the only way to win is to please two parties, the consumers and the developers. The consumers needs a "fun" and simple interface, something Android 2.1 is getting to. However, we still see places that are less than satisfying. The browser should scale images along with the text when zooming in, keyboard should be multitouch for fast typing. The keyboard should also be consistent, and the space bar should not resize as if it were insignificant.

    Man, the list is long, but you know what you got to do. As for developers, thanks for the free Nexus One, been using it as a main phone replacing my iPhone already. But leaving us in the dark in Android market availability and API updates -NOT GOOD. Fast forward to the future, where cars are swooping across cities in the air, let there be developers and Google, holding hands like best pals, fulfilling the needs of every mobile roadwarriors.

    Teratotech, your mobile application specialist.

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