Learning a Droidcon would be held in New York City, I knew Myriad Mobile needed to be there. Droidcons are community organized Android development conferences that started in 2009 across the pond in Europe. On Friday, September 19, fellow developer Justin Tuchek and I set out to the East Coast and arrived at JFK.
Saturday morning we walked to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. There was a line for registration out the door when we arrived just a little after 8, but it went quick enough. We soon had our badges and entered into a beautiful conference hall. The main area was full of sponsor and partner booths. Some of my favorites were Google Play’s free coffee bar, Yahoo’s Sphero maze, Kogeto’s 360º “Joey” camera, and American Express’s doughnut waffles.
The first day of the conference was filled with brilliant presentations and big name speakers. The keynote, “Create Software With Soul” by Tumblr’s Chris Haseman and Kevin Grant, was fun and full of energy — exactly what was needed at 9 a.m. In addition, there were some great presentations about material design by Kevin Grant and Google’s Roman Nurik.
The team from Square stole the afternoon with back to back talks. The first by Dimitris Koutsogiorgas about automated testing and software quality included an announcement of the Burst library. After that Jake Wharton gave a presentation about boilerplate destruction with annotation processing, which had the main conference hall packed!
The evening sessions were full of a many talks including “Building First Class Android SDKs” by Twitter’s Ty Smith, “Encrypt All the Things!” by CommonsWare’s Mark Murphy, and “Stop, Collaborate & Listen: The Art of Smart Product Design” by Charming Robot’s Dan Maccarone. Instead of attending the after party, we decided to explore the city.
We got lost taking a different route to the conference but arrived with plenty of time for a breakfast consisting of a variety of bagels and spreads. (In case you’re wondering, I had the Sourdough with Bacon and Herb Cream Cheese.) Most of the booths had some kind of raffle, with both Sony and HTC giving away phones. American Express had a Samsung tablet and 1,000 mini cupcakes!
The second keynote was by Yavor Georgiev from Microsoft Azure and he talked about how to best connect apps with the cloud. The talk was interesting because it showed how Microsoft is starting to embrace open source and platforms other than Microsoft. And he had a live example of an app that connects a Minecraft world with the real one.
The rest of the day was full of more specialized talks on every Android related topic one might be interested in. From mobile advertising, to native development, to Android Wear, to automated testing — the list could go on. I especially enjoyed “RxJava: Easy Wins” by Venmo’s Ron Shapiro and “How to Work Like Your Team’s Gonna Be Huge” by Spotify’s Brian Christensen. They were both informative and well presented.
For Touch Lab’s first time organizing a Droidcon, it was excellent. There were some brilliant presenters and great interactive sponsor booths. I definitely want to see what they can do in 2015.
In the meantime, join my team at Myriad Mobile as we present our own half-day conference in Minneapolis on Thursday, October 23 from 1 to 5 p.m. at CoCo Uptown. The Midwest Mobile Summit Minneapolis will connect you with mobile strategy pioneers from across the twin cities. Interactive sessions will arm you with the necessary tools to create a transformational mobile strategy at your organization. You bring ideas, we’ll supply the cupcakes.