A handful of developers showed off the next builds of their applications at Google's I/O developer conference. Of the six that stood out, some are being released for the first time on Cupcake, version 1.5 of Google's Android operating system, and some are updates to existing Android apps that make use of the platform's additional capabilities.
Social network BrightKite is preparing to unleash its first-ever Android app, which it demoed on Google's (HTC's) Ion touchscreen phone running Android 1.5. While BrightKite for Android will match the iPhone edition in terms of feature offerings, it will also include a few more goodies, like integrated Google maps and background notifications for newly-received messages.
WeatherBug's release plans for Android 1.5 forecasts the introduction of a freemium model. WeatherBug Elite will add additional layers of climactic information to its existing freeware app, including pressure, humidity, severe weather, and a lightning detector. Both free and premium versions will also include an attractive weather widget on the home screen. There's no price point set yet, but WeatherBug expects to start selling its Elite app by the end of the third fiscal quarter.
In the final stages of development, Lonely Planet's city guides for Android 1.5 add some interest you wouldn't expect to find in one of their informative, but otherwise dry, applications. In addition to using GPS to plot nearby points of interest on the application's map, you'll be able to see those points of interest pop up on a camera's-eye view of the streets in front of you. In this augmented reality, holding the phone in landscape mode triggers its camera. Lonely Planet will then lay its points of interest over the live view, allowing you to scan for sites in any direction. This seems especially useful for those grossly lacking in orientation skills.
In addition, you'll be able to add comments to these top 20 city guides and quickly read Lonely Planet reviews. Guides will cost $4.99 per city. A compendium priced at about $15 should follow by the end of the year, Lonely Planet told CNET.
Imeem for Android, which is still in production, differs from the iPhone version in a few major ways. For one, it will run in the background, streaming songs while you do other things on the phone. A phonetop widget will give you pause and skipping control, and Imeem will authorize its player to play music stored on your SD card in addition to music from Imeem.com.
With 30 million Facebook users, Playfish, a San Francisco-based purveyor of casual games, has something to say for itself. Chief Operating Officer Sebastien de Halleux hopes that Android users will buy the company's first Android game for 99 cents and begin playing with Android and Facebook friends. The first release, entitled "Who has the biggest brain?," lets you pick from twelve 60-second brain-teasing games.
EA's mobile division announced a collection of games that will be available for Android 1.5. Branded titles and Hasbro board games like Tetris, Spore, Monopoly, and The Sims will soon join Bejeweled in the Android Market.
This buffed-up update to DataViz's popular productivity app Documents To Go will include new support for viewing PowerPoint and PDF files. While long a central function on other mobile platforms, these two views were trimmed back from the initial Android offering. Current application owners, who purchased Documents To Go for $20, will receive the update for free.