Dear Google, I/O is broken
Google I/O registration was today, obvously. Supposedly, it sold out in 28 minutes. I know after 20 minutes, the academic tickets were sold out and I was out of the running for one of these tickets. The total tickets were on sale for less than half an hour. I/O is a developer conference. It's website, https://developers.google.com/events/io/ , is within the google developer sub-domain. I don't know about you, but I don't think 1/3 of those tickets were bought by developers.
I/O has become a party. You go for the limited edition free stuff and all the cool tech demos. That sounds like an awesome show. However, that doesn't sound like a developer show. The developer part of the show comes from all the great interaction you get with the people who wrote android, people who write android apps, and the developer lectures. The problem is, developers cannot get into the show. I'm getting ready to enter an alpha stage of my app. I have spent tens of hours working on it in my free time, and going to I/O would have been excellent. I am the least that should be going to I/O. Other developers put in hundreds of hours on their app, or use app development as a full time job. For them (and me), I/O is more than a party. It's a chance to get a better understanding of android, and to make our apps better. For many, it would be worth it even if there were absolutely no give aways. Yet, the odds of getting a ticket seem to be getting longer and longer.
I say, they need to fix that. There are a few ways I can think of, but I'm sure there are others.
1) I/O stays the same, registration is for developers. I can see google not wanting to change the show, cool. But they could change registration. Maybe you need a developer account, but that's easy to get. $25 and it's yours. Maybe you need an app on the market. Unfortunately, it's too easy to spam the market with "test" apps, so there would need to be an approval process. Best of all, submit an .apk with your registration (again, you'd need an approval process against Hello World apps) to show you have a reason to go to a developer show.
2) Change I/O. If this is the course that Google takes, I imagine simply not giving anything away this year would significantly reduce next years registration numbers. I'd be happy with that. There are, of course, other parts of the conference they could strip out while still leaving the original intent. However, I imagine simply losing the give aways would be enough (or even make them less valuable. Last years tab 10.1's sold for over $1000 on ebay)
3) Split I/O. Tech demos, give aways, showing off whats in the pipe, all that's awesome. I'd hate to see that go away. Make I/O that party. Remove the developer intentions all together and make a new show just for developers. I actually like this one best. I/O right now is ackwardly timed. It's 6-8 months after the latest major android release. Put the developer conference in early-mid janruary. A conference for developers that helps push people into using the latest features of android apps may help increase the adoption of said features. A solely developer conference won't excite many non-developers, but it gives the people I/O was originally intended for a good shot at attending. Win/Win I think.
Before you say it, I'm not trying to complain. I am not saying I'm particularly deserving to go. Yes, I know they stream everything, which is the best solution for us non-attenders. I'm merely pointing out a problem I see and suggesting some solutions. I'm curious what you guys think. Should I/O change?