Another Big Android BBQ event has ended. Over the past few days, hundreds of Android fanatics gathered in Hurst, Texas for the yearly event to discuss and experience the Android community as a whole. Speakers and attendees came from around the world to share their love for Android, manufacturers and sponsors were in full swing peddling their wares, developers had their noses buried in code, massive amounts of good food was consumed, and plenty of partying was accomplished. Fun fact: the Big Android BBQ purchases more alcoholic beverages than any other convention at the Hurst Convention Center.
What did you miss? Here’s a quick recap.
Thursday was registration day. Attendees arrived from far and wide to partake in the 2013 edition of the Big Android BBQ. While attendees were picking up their schwag bags, speakers, and booth holders were putting the finishing touches on their speeches and displays. Later that night was the annual Pool Party at the Hyatt. Music was played, beer was drank, a pink gorilla showed up, and plenty of Android fans raced an adult sized big wheel. Besides people, certain devices famous for their water resistance capabilities went swimming as you can see below. Yep, that’s a Sony Xperia Z.
Early Friday morning the conference began with a keynote speech from Aaron Kasten, the events founder. From there, speakers began engaging their audiences with various topics from Android repair, to generating sales on the Google Play Store, to the newly formed Cyanogen Inc.
During his talk, Steve Kondik from Cyanogen Inc discussed his teams plans for their new company. From humble beginnings, CyanogenMod now has 8.2 million custom ROM installs. They’re clearly making an impact on the Android community and more importantly, they’re solving problems that millions of Android users experience on a daily basis: carriers. Steve recognizes that OEMs are doing their part by making software that their customers need. The thing is, consumers aren’t the OEMs customers. Carriers are. CyanogenMod hopes to change that and offer great services to their users.
Out on the show floor, Android fans walked up and down the hallways speaking with vendors such as Samsung, Sony, HTC, Swappa, Cruzerlite, Oppo, XDA Developers and more. Developers made contacts with hardware manufacturers and enthusiasts purchased phones, tablets, accessories, and all sorts of Android goodies. If you’re a collector, the BBQ is a great place to pick up some custom made Android mini figurines such as those below.
Friday night’s party took place at the Hurst Convention Center, outside under the stars. There’s really not much to tell here. Mingling and free drinks thanks to Willow Tree Apps, the event sponsor.
Saturday was business as usual starting bright and early at 9am with speaker sessions and the continuation of the Code Kitchen by GDG Dallas where developers did what they do best. Plenty of great sessions occupied attendees times, filling their knowledge holes with Android related goodness.
This year’s BBQ event was not only attended by Android fans, it also housed a few dozen Google Glass Explorers. Glass developers and designers such as Matt Abdou, Libby Chang, Noble Ackerson, and Daniel Ward shared their knowledge gained while developing and designing their Glassware apps for Google Glass.
Guillaume Lesniak closed Saturday’s sessions announcing a new project, Omni. The Omni ROM team is composed of a well known list of players from around the Android scene. While they are promising a lot right off the bat, I’ll say first hand from what I’ve seen, I’m intrigued. Omni plans on using voting to allow users to decide what comes to their ROM, a different take on nightly builds, fully open source, including contributor code, and they’re going to have their own easy to use installer. No matter what happens, the Android scene is large enough for more players and competition is good. Competition means consumers like us win.
And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the Big Android BBQ party. The party consists of an insane amount of good food cooked by the man, the myth, the legend himself Ray Walters. Ray spent most of the past few days slaving over a big cooker bringing his famous meats to the masses. Besides food, a beer or two was drank while listening to music from THA PHLASH. We had big wheel races, a blow up obstacle course, mechanical bull rides and plenty of fun. The Big Android BBQ isn’t your typical conference. It’s an Android conference and the final event proves just that.
We also were able to raise $8,506 for the Rapha House, a charity for fighting child trafficking and sexual exploitation. How did we do it? Thanks to sponsors and vendor giveaways. Attendees won Google Play gift cards, a couple Nexus 7 tablets, a couple HTC One phones, all sorts of cases and charging accessories, and plenty more. Everyone was very generous.
Please note: The Big Android BBQ is a large event. There were dozens of sessions through the past few days. Only a few sessions that I attended made it into this article. All speakers did an amazing job and should be applauded for their efforts and contributions to Android and to the conference.
To all of the old friends I saw this past weekend, it was an absolute blast and it was great seeing you. To all of the new friends and Phandroid readers I met, thank you so much for your kind words and a hell of a good time. Till next year.