Remember when the iPad was announced, and I wrote about how useless it seemed for people like us that deal with video all the time? Most readers skipped the fact that I was writing about the device from a video standpoint and just labeled me an Apple hater. And I'm about to throw more fuel on their fire. Google has just announced a new video editor for the tablet-specific version of Android called Honeycomb, and it instantly makes Android tablet devices an easy choice over the iPad for video marketers--weeks before they're available for purchase.
There are also several other interesting tidbits of news from the talk, so let's break each one down:
Movie Studio - Google's Cloud-Based Video Editor For Honeycomb
The new editor is called Movie Studio, and will let users edit video or even combine video and still photography to create a video-style multimedia presentation. Users will also be able to add music and soundtracks, fades, and other professional video effects. The best part? It's cloud-based--which means, in theory, you could start editing your video on one device and complete your work on another one altogether.
The announcement was made by Google's Eric Schmidt at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, Spain, who said:
"When you play with Honeycomb, you'll get the sense of beauty and power we have with the new interface. I just really love it."
That's a nice, flowery bit of marketing language. It makes me feel so much better to know that the company's leader loves their product. And it does look pretty:
Movie Studio is only useful to devices running Android 3.0 or higher, of which there are currently zero on the marketplace. The Motorolla Xoom will be the first Honeycomb-equipped device available to the public, and it is expected to launch at the end of this month.
So we can't exactly play with this video editor just yet. But that's not stopping me from getting excited about it. Imagine a tablet device that allows you to film video or take photographs (which the iPad doesn't), edit those images into a professional and cohesive video (including effects), and then upload that video to the web.
Where the iPad's video limitations made it a poor option for most video marketers, the future of Honeycomb tablets is looking much brighter. At least until Apple puts out an iPad 2 that has a camera and iMovie on it.
Apple Not Google's Biggest Competitor
Schmidt also said something else interesting:
"No question, our strongest competitor is Microsoft. They have a strong advertising model. They have the cash, the scale, the brand, and the reach to do good and amazing things."
Interesting. So Apple and their iPhone aren't the biggest competitor? No, of course not. Google is so much more than just a mobile-focused company. Android is merely one of many revenue streams for Google. In that respect, Microsoft is definitely more of a competitor than Apple. But I can't help but feel like Schmidt is intentionally leaving Apple out as a way of sending a message.
Next Android Version Will Merge Phones & Tablets
Gingerbread is the most recent version of the Android OS for mobile devices, and Schmidt says within a couple months all Android users will be upgraded to Gingerbread. (Sweet! I've been waiting for a while).
"We've released Gingerbread, which in a month or two everybody will upgrade to. At that point everybody will be on a common platform, which should address a lot of your concerns."
And while Honeycomb--technically a generation beyond Gingerbread--is solely for tablet devices, he says the next version of Android will merge the two types of devices together. That means that whatever the "I" version Android ends up being called, it will run on both smart phones and tablets.
News like the Movie Studio video editor and the standardizing of Android across all devices is music to my ears. I've almost instantly gone from someone not remotely interested in a tablet device to someone nearly dying to try one out. And all they had to do was throw us video marketers a bone.
Now cue the Apple fans lining up to tell me what an Android homer I am...