The Droidcon London conference this year focused on three main themes, namely the customization of Android, hardware and recruitment. Kevin McDonagh, CEO of Novoda, said that customization of Android is growing as different parties want their own version of Android for a specific use cases. Part of this is having Android being implemented in different forms of hardware like wearables, TVs, drones and robots. As a result of all this customization, there is a huge demand for Android developers, causing a recruitment frenzy.
As usual, there were a lot of debuts and interesting parties present at Droidcon, so I have rounded up my top picks for this year.
The Eye Tribe software introduces the ability to control a mobile device just by looking at it. This will add 'eye control' as another way to interact with existing digital devices, adding to touch, tilt, and key press to create a better user experience. Although eye tracking in itself is not revolutionary, Eye Tribe is unique because it relies only on low-cost components that are easily integrated with smartphones and tablets, making it affordable for mass market consumption.
Their software fully integrates with any device that has a camera and an LED sensor, so any hardware manufacturer can easily integrate 'eye control' into the hardware's native capabilities. However, Eye Tribe are also calling out to the developer community to develop implementations of the eye-tracking capability using the Eye Tribe tracker, a $99 device that you can put at the bottom of any phone or tablet.
See below a video of me playing Fruit Ninja with my eyes.
Mapsum is an interesting platform where brands can push messages to users in an outdoor as well as an indoor environment in a very simple manner. This makes it easy for a brand to create a holistic digital location-based customer experience for the user. Imagine pinging messages to a customer approaching your physical stores with discount codes or special offers and pinging directions or further information about products as they navigate their way through the store. This can also have huge applications within events and experience based businesses like theme parks and outdoor trails.
Velocicaptor is an early stage start-up which aims to replicate a personal trainer's abilities. They focus on combining different sensors together which a person can then wear and subsequently interpret the combined data output from the sensors with a specially designed algorithm to determine a person's movements. Based on these, they can give appropriate feedback targeted to the user's needs.
I had a go at their first product called 'Boxer' where you have to execute punches to the predefined rhythms shown on the screen guitar hero style. This prototype currently tracks velocity and direction but they plan to incorporate angle soon.
Mivmo is a mobile app that lets you make calls from multiple numbers which you own at the cost of the sim card that's currently in your phone. This can be convenient when you want to have a new number for let's say buying/selling from listing sites online but don't want to give your number away and don't want to invest in topping up a new SIM. It would also be very beneficial if you have 2 numbers (work and personal) but only want to carry around one phone.
MyAppConverter is a platform which lets you convert your native mobile code to another platform. With the shortage of Android developers in the market, this can be very appealing if it actually works.