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Google I/O 2016 Highlight

Google I/O 2016

Well, this year, there is no much great news. There are a few new product announced in the Keynote, but only new Firebase is immediately available.


Android N, Android VR, Daydream

VR has been a hot topic for a period of time. Now is it one step forward after Cardboard. A controller, and also higher hardware requirement for display. During the keynote, I just wondered, What? Is it just a WiiMote? Well, let’s see what it finally will be.


Android Apps on Chrome OS

It has been a long time since Google providing us the tools to pack the APK as Chome OS package. Now, finally, Google Play Store is on Chrome OS. In Greater China, application developers do not concern about large screen layout. Now, they will suffer. Chrome OS do have different screen size and resolution. Some of them have touch screen, some of them dont. In addition to making your app fits both screen size of phone and of tablet, please also take care with the input method.


And there is no DRM module under the Android runtime in Chrome OS.


New Firebase

Firebase now has a new product position, backend-as-a-service. Admob, Analytics, has moved from Google Play Services to Firebase. Although Firebase still rely on Google Play Services, it is clear that Firebase targets as building backend for mobile. So, perhaps Google Maps will be moved to Firebase also.


I started using Firebase since the I/O last year. It is very easy to use. However, the infrastructure seems still not fully integrated in Google’s global infrastructure. The servers are still in US and there was a noticible latency while the calls are from APAC.


I’ve taked to the Firebase team and hope this issue can be resolved.


Google Cast

Google announced new Google Cast SDK, so we do not have to spend too much effort on the UI or working with the CCL. However, the cast protocol is not updated. That means, even there are new 4K TV units supporting Google Cast, the resolution under Google Cast is still limited to 1080p. I hope this limitation can be removed soon.


Android TV

Well, no great news at all. TV recording was planned in M.While XiaoMi is joining the Android TV market, what will be changed? Currently, the high-end Android TV unit (e.g. Nvidia Shield) is still expensive. Could Android TV become more common?


Nearby API

They gave some hints on making application using Nearby API this year. Nearby API could be useful, as there is limitation on Android Beam / NFC. While data is being transformed into sound, it help us to discover devices around us. Why not share our namecard by Nearby API?


AdMob

Other than the Native Ad which is still in beta, AdMob’s Native Ad Express helps you to customize the Ad Unit with CSS. So the Ad would look like your app content. For those who want to do more customization in coding level, they could still request beta access of Native Ad.

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電召

最近趁着Firebase更新,也趁機將電召這程式重新寫過一遍。

由Eclipse到Android Studio;由Holo到Material;由ListView到RecyclerView;由Banner Ad到Native Ad Express;由SDK 9+到SDK 16+。這兩年間的改變還真不少。


Android TV - TV Input Framework

平常看電視,選台是很簡單的一件事,一上一下,或者按出電視節目表,全都在一鍵之間。在Android TV上有相似的辦法,不用在應用程式之間切換嗎?


其實只要透過TV Input Framework將Live Feed和EPG以Provider的形式通知系統,用家便能在頻道列表中看見你的頻道。

在GitHub上有參考示範

OTT on Android

早前HKTV在多個平臺推出應用程式,以OTT方式播放電視節目。在Android平臺上,郤見到不少用家反映說並不能在他們的裝置上播放,原因何在呢? 

現時市場上比較普及的自適性串流(Adaptive bitrate streaming)方法包括:
HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)
Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH)
Microsoft Smooth Streaming 

在Android平臺上,直至API 21之前,對Apple所提出的HLS的支援並不完善,很多應用程式播放HLS內容都是倚靠第三方的播放器。HKTV應用程式最初的版本並沒有內建播放器,所以在部分裝置,尤其是沒有Google Play應用程式的那些,出現只能播放MP4格式的廣告,無法播放HLS格式的即目這情況。這並不是應用程式的問題,而是裝置裏的OS並沒法成功將內容解碼並播放。

現時比較好的方法應該是使用ExoPlayer,經由Android Media Framework去播放DASH內容,缺點是只支援API 17+。