The range of sessions at the annual Google I/O, geek-speak abbreviation for Input/Output, gathering of software developers that kicks off Wednesday will be as wide as the company’s array of products and services.
But the objective behind the workshops, talks, and parties will be to assure software savants that it is worth devoting time and energy to “applications” that shine on stages such as Android, Chrome, YouTube, Google TV and Google+ social network. “What is going on is a battle for hearts and minds, both of consumers buying the devices running on these platforms and of developers who create the apps that have so much allure to people,” said Forrester analyst Charles Golvin.
“Getting the energy of this community is critical,” the analyst said of rivals such as Google, Apple and Microsoft wooing independent software developers. “Now, it is not so much a numbers game regarding who has more apps as it is a uniqueness game to see who can come up with the next breakout — like a Draw Something or Words With Friends — that the other guy doesn’t have.” Words With Friends was a Zynga game that became a hit at leading social network Facebook.
Draw Something is a smartphone game that rocketed to success after debuting on Apple’s iPhones. Google is under pressure to unify Android operating software for smartphones and tablets that has suffered from “fragmentation” as competing gadget makers put individual spins on the free software.