| Google Previews Its Tablet-Optimized Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS
| By Salar Golestanian @ Wednesday, January 26, 2011 :: 11:54 PM :: 668 Views :: 0 Comments ::
|Google released Wednesday a platform preview for Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and an updated set of SDK tools. Multiple tablet devices like the Motorola Xoom are on the way along with lots of others by the end of the year. But while the OS is almost done and Google’s apps third party developers still have to optimize their applications for these much bigger screens.
This preview offers the best glimpse of the tablet-optimized Android. The Xoom will be the first Android-based tablet to run on Honeycomb and it is expected to hit the market this year.
For developers and designers of web apps that are interested to get a better idea of what Honeycomb will look like, Google has created an Android 3.0 Platform Highlights page.
Google also details some of the new features for both users and developers. The iPad might be Honeycomb’s competing target, but from what I see the UI approach is much more similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook. Google wants to focus on what people love most about Android: multitasking and rich notifications.
Android 3.0 builds on good parts of Android — refined multitasking, rich notifications, Home screen customization, widgets, and Google says that it has 3D experience and deeper interactivity, making them familiar but even better than before.
The new UI brings fresh paradigms for interaction, navigation, and customization and makes them available to all applications — even those built for earlier versions of the platform. Applications written for Android 3.0 are able to use an extended set of UI objects, powerful graphics, and media capabilities to engage users in new ways.
To that end, the layout is widgetized and stackable, with open app windows or screens on display alongside icons. Like Android for smart phones, Honeycomb supports multiple home screens that can be customized at will.
The web browser in Honeycomb adopts a full-screen tabs-on-top organizational approach akin to what we see in Google Chrome and in Chrome OS. The 5 customizable Home screens give users instant access to all parts of the system from any context. Each screen offers a large grid that maintains spatial arrangement in all orientations. Users can select and manipulate Home screen widgets, app shortcuts, and wallpapers using a dedicated visual layout mode. Visual cues and drop shadows improve visibility when adjusting the layout of shortcuts and widgets. Each Home screen also offers a familiar launcher for access to all installed applications, as well as a Search box for universal search of apps, contacts, media files, web content, and more.
Here are some of the main topics covered by the article at Google Android developer site.
- Five customizable Home screens
- System Bar, for global status and notifications
- Recent Apps, for easy visual multitasking
- Soft keyboard is redesigned to make entering text fast and accurate on larger screen sizes.
- Improved text selection, copy and paste
- Android 3.0 includes new connectivity features that add versatility and convenience for users.
- Updated set of standard applications that are designed for use on larger screen devices.
- The browser navigate and organize is more efficiently.
- The Camera application has been redesigned
- The Contacts app uses a new two-pane UI and Fast Scroll
- The Email application uses a new two-pane UI to make viewing and organizing messages more efficient.
New Developer Features
he Android 3.0 platform is designed specially to meet the unique needs of applications on devices with larger screen sizes. It offers all of the tools developers need to create incredible visual and interaction experiences on these devices. so let’s see how the following list can eventually help to create great apps for this new platform.
- New UI framework for creating great tablet apps
- High-performance 2D and 3D graphics
- Support for multi-core processor architectures
- Rich multimedia and connectivity
- Enhancements for enterprise
- Compatibility with existing apps