There’s been a lot of anticipation over Android 3.0, especially since CES 2011 in Vegas a few weeks ago. With the launch of so many Android tablets, and some launching with Honeycomb like the Motorola Xoom, and LG G-Slate, many are curious how different the new version of Android “built for tablets” will be from it’s previous versions. Since Google launched it’s SDK for Honeycomb, many have been digging in deep to see what we’ll find. Here is a summary of the new features and changes within.
The New User Interface
Home Screens – Depending on the version of Android you’re using now, you have several Home Screens available to fill, On Honeycomb, you have 5 home screens.
Multitasking App View – The list of apps you current have open will be accessed by a “Recent Apps” list in the System Bar for quick viewing.
System Bar - Very Microsoft Windows like, but effective. This bar will be at the bottom of your Honeycomb screen showing navigation buttons and the time, as well as notifications.
Action Bar – Where the Notification bar was, is now the “Action Bar” giving you options for the specific program/app you have open at the time.
Cut/Copy/Paste – Very similar to Gingerbread in most respects, you would select the text, and utilize the options within the action bar above to perform the function.
Keyboard - This one looks much less cluttered, and well spaced out for the landscape view of a tablet. About the same size as a netbook keyboard at about 85-90% the size of a standard qwerty101. Kind of looks like the Chrome OS CR-48 keyboard.
New look for Google Apps installed
Web Browser – They included tabs rather than separate windows…thank you! Also taking a page from Google Chrome, we now have “incognito mode” for browsing as an option, as well as bookmarks sync and google account sign in. Multitouch recognition is built in as well, which will allow html5 apps and plugins to recognize multiple fingers on the screen, this will be awesome for flash games online.
Contacts – Taking advantage of the larger screen in Honeycomb, contacts display will use panes (fragments) instead of a long sheet of information to display.
Gmail and Email - This is probably one of the biggest changes in Honeycomb for a pre-installed app, but Gmail gets a whole new look and feel as well as the stock email app. This app also takes advantage of the larger screen resolution and uses panes to display info. The new app also allows for attachment syncing at a later time, and drag ‘n drop movements as seen below.
Refinements and Improvements
Widgets, Widgets, Widgets – Widgets are awesome, but we never see enough of our favorite apps taking advantage of this for us. In Honeycomb, we hope to see this encourage developers to utilize the larger screen size and build them in. Widgets inside Honeycomb look big, and easy to read either in 3D stacks, or in lists.
Multimedia – Live streaming through HTTP, new digtital rights management built-in for playback, and better interaction with Bluetooth accessories for stereo profiles.
Enterprise Support - Android has been making gains in the Enterprise area lately, but there’s always room for improvement right? Right. Google states that , “developers of device administration applications can support new types of policies, including policies for encrypted storage, password expiration, password history, and password complex characters required.”
Hardware – For video, Open GL support built in to Android 3.0 tablets is giving the display capabilities a big boost, making everything look better and brighter both for 2D and 3D graphics. For processing power, Honeycomb takes advantage of the dual-core architecture making it nice and responsive.
So that’s what we have so far. Nice little add-on is that all the apps we love that haven’t put out an update for Android 3.0 yet, will still work fine in Honeycomb, which is a nice touch.
These may change in time as well, but this is what’s in store for now. Are you impressed with Honeycomb over previous Android versions?
[via Android Developers Blog]