Over 300 Android enthusiasts got into a huddle this week, discussing, debating, writing code and sharing geek wisdom on Google’s Open Source mobile operating platform, Android.

Organised by HasGeek, the second edition of the two-day conference, Droidcon India, was held at the MLR Convention Centre, Whitefield. Participants included cross-platform mobile app developers, Android developers, enterprises developing products and services for the Android platform, and front-end designers and engineers.

A wide range of speakers, from home and abroad, spoke on various issues related to developing applications that function only on the mobile platform (native apps) and designing applications for the Web/browser that also work on phone and tablet devices. Speakers at Droidcon demonstrated native, hybrid and HTML5 apps to explain different points of view around the native and HTML5 debate, and also to showcase the possibilities and challenges of developing Web-based applications to early movers in the field, a release from Droidcon stated.

The conference also featured a number of demos around Android and Arduino, robotics, gaming, location-based applications and tools for conserving the battery life of the phone. In all, 35 sessions were held.

In the larger picture, these discussions around native and HTML5 apps are leading to the development of new frameworks and technologies that are becoming increasingly available to mobile developers for building apps, says Zainab Bawa of HasGeek.

“The Web and native discussion is also driving the development of cross-platform applications from the point of view of costs involved in writing code and scaling applications across devices and platforms,” she said, adding that one of the goals of Droidcon 2012 was to encourage more conversations and collaborations between participants.

Richer maps for Indian cities and towns

TomTom, a leading provider of location and navigation services, announced the release of updated maps of India for its VIA Series portable navigation devices to cater to the evolving Indian land routes.

In a release, the company said studies had shown that India and other developing countries experience a higher degree of change to its land routes compared to developed countries, and a new set of updates to the maps is needed to cater to these changes.

TomTom India’s national sales manager Sanu Vasudevan explained that Indian land routes undergo up to 30 per cent change annually, while developed countries experience up to 15 per cent.

Promoting FOSS in technical education

A seminar on ‘Public software in technical education’ was held this week at the Sri Jayachamarajendra Polytechnic (SJP) for government, aided and private polytechnic colleges in the Bangalore division. Senior officials from the Department of Technical Education, National Institute of Teachers’ Training and Research, academicians from higher education institutions, faculty from engineering colleges, industry representatives along with heads of institutions and departments of polytechnics, got together and discussed challenges in polytechnic education.

The seminar was organised by the Directorate of Technical Education, and Public Software Centre, run by Bangalore-based non-governmental organisation IT for Change, and supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development under the ‘Spoken Tutorial’ project of the National Mission on Education through ICT.

Panel discussions covered how public software — a term used to refer to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) — educational tools can be leveraged to improve the quality of education by creating a free, collaborative and resource-rich learning environment, a release from IT for Change stated.

The Public Software Centre conducts workshops to enable colleges to adopt various public software educational applications in their curriculum. Contact: highereducation@public-software.in or log on to http://DTE.KarnatakaEducation.org.in