The much hyped Google Android 3.0 platform expected to be launched for Motorola Xoom and other tablets gets introduced with new features for users and developers.
New Tablet UI and Home screen:
The biggest change coming in Android 3.0 new version is that the UI has been optimized to fit larger screen size, specifically for tablets. There is much more space on the home screen for icons and widgets for better 3D experience and deeper interactivity - similar to the iPad. Multitasking, rich notifications, home screen customization and widgets are on offer.
Recently, iPhone’s grid was increased with spaced out icons. The new Honeycomb features denser grid compared to previous versions of the Android Platform used in Android phones, ensuring that the increased space can accommodate more things on the home screen. A new added feature, 'lights out mode,' can also be used for full-screen viewing.
Also, 'Action Bar' - previously where it’s content, theme and other properties were managed by application rather than the system will now be appearing right at the top of your screen, which was not available in Android 2.0.
The redesigned keyboard features new keys like 'Tab' to provide richer and more efficient text input and also touch-hold keys to access menus of special characters and switch text and voice input modes from a button in the System Bar. The copy and paste on Android has been made much faster allowing users to just press on any text to select the word. Users can drag the selected option to add more text. When selecting text user can also use options like select all, cut, copy and share shown in the “Action Bar” which is great step forward for Android OS.
In terms of connectivity the new OS platform features support for media and photo transfer protocol which lets users instantly sync media files with a USB-connected camera or desktop computer without needing to mount a USB mass storage device.
The notification bar has been shifted to bottom of the screen. Newly added navigation buttons to the notification bar makes it more convenient, as it acts as capacitive hardware buttons do on Android smartphones. And the “Recent apps” window allows users to see the current state of each running app.
The newly added browser tabs feature, bookmark syncing with Chrome's incognito mode, allows anonymous browsing along with automatically connecting to Google sites using the Google accounts. Previously these features had to be downloaded in an alternate browser for Android and iOS.
Most of these features delivered in Android 3.0 will give the iPad and iPhone a run for its money in days to come as they come with iOS which lacks few of the features mentioned above. iPad and iPhone generally have contacts and mail in a separate pane, but Android OS platform has both contacts and email app as two pane versions of the same one.
And new developer features include new UI framework for creating great tablet apps, high performance 2D and 3D graphics, support for multicore processor architectures, rich multimedia and connectivity, enhancements for enterprise and compatibility with exisiting apps.
Here is a video sneak peak into the Honeycomb: