The newest Google mobile operating system was released to developers at the beginning of this month. The OS, called Android 3.o and nicknamed Honeycomb, is geared towards securing a hefty portion of the tablet pc market, which has been dominated by the Apple iPad as of late.
Unlike earlier versions of the Android OS, Honeycomb does not produce a mixed experience by being magnified by the tablet device. On the official Google blog, the new OS was designed from the ground to be used on mobile devices with bigger screens. The devices fitted with Honeycomb will be able to use tabbed browsing, auto-fill forms, sync with Google Chrome bookmarks, and private browsing. The OS also features the latest Google Mobile Maps 5 and Google Talk, supporting both video and voice chat.
The Android software development kit, or SDK, has already been released. This allows developers to already begin tinkering with the first tablet-only Android operating system. Still the SDK doesn’t have any finalized APIs and is for testing only for the time being.
After some playing around with the SDK, the new features in the developer realm are clear:
- UI great for creating new apps for larger screen wireless devices
- 3D graphics: Renderscript
- Dual-core processor capability
- HTTP Live streaming support, DRM framework, and file transfer ease for rich content development
- Audio streaming and headset control through Bluetooth A2DP and HSP
- Encrypted storage and password expiration
End users will enjoy:
- Customizing home screens
- Menu area from the phone now become the Honeycomb Action Bar
- Notification bar from the phone now become the Honeycomb System Bar
- A Recent Apps button
- New keyboard features like reshaped buttons for better targeting as well as the addition of a Tab button
- Copy-&-Paste upgrades with a press and hold option, drag and resize, as well as web search and find with the Action Bar
- Media/Photo Transfer Protocol support
- Google sites auto-sign in & bookmark sync with Chrome
- Camera with front-facing option for video conference
- Card-like contacts
- Two-panel email app with multi-select as well as home screen widget
The technical lead for Google’s SDK team, Xavier Ducrohet, stated in a blog post that, Besides the user-facing features it offers, Android 3.0 is also specifically designed to give developers the tools and capabilities they need to create great applications for tablets and similar devices, together with the flexibility to adapt existing apps to the new UI while maintaining compatibility with earlier platform versions and other form-factors.
Though the tablet market is the seemingly new frontier in mobile devices and the market will soon be saturated, Honeycomb tablets will be a huge step in the way of tablet computing. It stands to correct a number of issues (i.e. lack of USB) the 15 million iPad buyers stood to overlook.
==== About the author ====
Jon Ryan is the Marketing Manager for CellPhoneNumber.com, a site that helps users find facts and ask questions about cell phone numbers. He has a background in copywriting, journalism, promotions, blogging, design work, drafting, website design/coding, ad design, and creative directing.