Android Apps Front and Center at Google I/O

From nifty presentation tools to finding your car in the parking lot, third-party apps for Google's Android mobile platform will be on display at the search giant's annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco this week.

While Apple's iPhone App Store leads the pack by a long shot with about 200,000 applications, the newer Android platform is making solid progress with more than 50,000 apps available. But most users don't care about quantity if the apps they truly would find useful aren't available. Several notable new ones will be in the spotlight at Google I/O.

Black Tonic is among dozens of Android apps that will be featured in the Developer Sandbox area at I/O. Already available for the iPhone, Black Tonic is a Web-based tool for real-time presentation delivery and control. The company said it's the only Web-based tool of this kind that doesn't require Flash or plugins.

"You can control a presentation and adapt it and make changes in real time without screen-sharing," Black Tonic co-founder David Price told InternetNews.com. The Web-based tool works across platforms including across iPhone, iPad and Android devices.

DataViz will be at Google I/O to preview the upcoming 3.0 version of its Documents To Go app, which is currently one of the top 10 paid applications in the Android Market. Among several new features in the data-portability app is support for Microsoft's new Office 2010 suite. The revised app offers the ability to open attachments in a variety of Microsoft formats such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, editions 2003, 2007 and the new 2010. It also supports files in most password-protected formats, according to DataViz.

The version 3.0 release will also feature a separate desktop application for Windows users designed to let them easily transfer files from a PC or notebook to their Android-based device over a USB cable. DataViz said its InTact technology ensures that all of the original file formatting is maintained after the transfer.

An updated free viewer edition will be available in the Android Market and directly from DataViz within the next few weeks, the company said. The full version will sell for a promotional price of $14.99 for a limited time. The standard price is $29.99.

OnStar, the General Motors vehicle security subsidiary, is also tapping the Android platform. At Google I/O, OnStar will preview an Android-application for its new Chevrolet Volt, the electric-powered vehicle it plans to debut this fall. By pressing a new Navigation tab on the mobile apps home screen, Volt owners will be able to see the precise location of their car on Google Maps, as well as their location relative to it.

Users will also be able to use Android's search-by-voice feature to find a specific destination and then see where it is relative to the Volt's location on Google Maps. From there, users have the option to send the destination from their Android phone to the Volt and have OnStar's turn-by-turn directions ready to direct them when the vehicle is started. Another option lets users get voice-guided directions to their vehicle from wherever they are using Google Maps Navigation.

Google I/O runs Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of TAGS: Android, iPhone, Google I/O, mobile apps, mobile applications