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The Motley Fool Rule Breakers team is back on the road, this time to tour Silicon Valley and attend the Google I/O developer conference. In addition to dispatches like this one, look for special updates at the Rule Breakers site and get live coverage at @TMFRuleBreakers on Twitter.
Nothing matters more to Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) than robots. The Moscone Center was filled with them. Robot plush toys, tee shirts, toys, and even ... well, robots. Fellow Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT ) was at the annual I/O developer conference to show how its robots could be controlled via Android tablets.
Everyone loves Android
Samsung showed its commitment by giving away 5,000 Limited Edition copies of its newest Android-based Galaxy Tab to the developers in attendance. AT&T (NYSE: T ) , Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) , Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) and several others offered their hearts via a new partner program that guarantees new Android hardware will receive up to 18 months of platform upgrades.
Of course, no one showed more love for Android than Google itself. The Big G announced a new version of the OS, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, and committed to new programming interfaces to make it easier for developers to create Android apps that run across older versions of the operating system.
Google also took a shot at both Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) and Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) in media. Users will be able to rent movies at Redbox prices via the Android Market and have them run anywhere -- from phones to YouTube.
A long-rumored music service also debuted. While fast and visually interesting, right now Google Music Beta isn't much more than a cloud-based filing system for digital tracks. Expect that to change when Google finishes negotiating with record labels.
Looking out even further, The Big G also talked up Android tools to help developers create a single source code base for software for TVs, phones, and tablets. And that's just the beginning. A new "Android at Home" framework will allow coders to create apps for controlling common household appliances via Android devices. A tablet, for example.
A cuddly, killer robot
Clearly Google is serious about Android. But also not so serious that it can't make a joke, too. The company briefly posted an artist's rendering of an Android eating an apple during the keynote. Vic Gundotra, Google's Vice President of Social, brushed it off as a gag during the press Q&A: "We were just having a little bit of fun. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. In the end it's the consumers that win."
Call it a ribbing reminder that, for all of Apple's success with the iOS, Android has taken hold as the top smartphone platform among new buyers here in the U.S. Other statistics heard during yesterday's hour-long presentation:
- 100 million activated Android devices
- 400,000 new Android devices activated every day
- 200,000 free and paid applications available in Android Market
- 4.5 billion applications installed from Android Market
You know what I heard nothing about? Chrome OS, the once-and-future-but-now-apparently doomed OS that seems to have no place in a world run by robots. That's the subject of today's keynote, so we'll have more updates on how it fits into Google's strategy later today. However, from all indications it looks like a modest Chrome roll-out while Android remains the main event.
Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think of Google's Android strategy, the future of Chrome OS, and what it all means for the search king's profit picture using the comments box below. You can also rate Google in Motley Fool CAPS, and add it to My Watchlist, a new feature that allows you to stay ahead of the curve and receive up to date news on companies like Google or any of its competitors.