The new Android version 3.0, known as Honeycomb, is likely to gain foothold in the tablet market pretty soon.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed out a few months back that Google Android tablets will not be able to compete against Apple iPad. He had said: “We think Android is very, very fragmented, and becoming more fragmented by the day.”
Jobs was probably right, as the iPad continued to rule the market, gaining in the market share. But now Google has showcased the Honeycomb version of Android OS with a few features that are absent in Apple iPad. Also a report from Strategy Analytics showed that Android devices captured 22 percent of global tablet shipments as iPad accounted for 75 percent of shipments, down from 95 percent, proving the fact that Android OS platform is increasingly capturing the market share.
The new tablet OS of Google will be showcased on February 2 at Mountain View, California, the headquarters of the search engine giant.
Some features highlighted by android developers include:
- New tablet UI and home screen specially optimized to fit larger screen.
- More space for home screen icons and widgets for better 3D experience and deeper interactivity – similar to the iPad are to be found in the new Android OS.
- Honeycomb has denser grid compared to older versions of Android Platform used in Android phones in order to add more things on the home screen.
- “Action Bar” is shifted to top of the screen for better access.
- Enhanced virtual keyboard has new keys like “Tab” for richer 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.
- Fragments feature makes user interfaces more modular and simplifies the process of developing applications with multiple panes.
- Copy and paste feature is very responsive compared to the previous versions with improved cut, copy and share.
- Drag and drop feature to support richer touch-based interaction with Android applications.
- Media and photo transfer protocol to sync media files with a USB connected camera or desktop.
- “Recent app” feature to view the current state of each running app.
- New Tabs features in the browser.
- Incognito mode for anonymous browsing.
- Connect to Google sites using Google accounts.
- The new OS has both contacts and email app as two pane versions of the same one compared to iPad and iPhone which has contacts and mail in a separate pane.
- The Honeycomb has support for multicore processor architectures, rich multimedia and connectivity enhancements for enterprise and compatibility with existing apps.
Google's live demo of Android 3.0 Honeycomb at CES 2011:
Although Google had previously stated that Android 2.2 was meant for smartphone-size screens, manufacturers continued to implement the OS into their tablet devices. The new OS is certainly devised to combat Apple's domination. And Google apps market, which seemed to be dwarfed by App Store, may soon rise again.
Steve Jobs had reminded everyone about how other manufactures are going to suffer from a smaller tablet when he said: “Their manufacturers will learn the painful lesson that their tablets are too small and increase the size next year, thereby abandoning both customers and developers who jumped on the 7-inch bandwagon with an orphaned product.”
Android tablet of Motorola, known as Xoom, is expected to be the first tablet to feature the new Honeycomb. And the new tablet also has front and back facing cameras compared to the present iPad. Also iPad 2 is expected to feature two cameras as well. Apart from Android tablet growth, Research In Motion’s (RIM)’ Playbook is going to be the other tablet that will gather its loyal following to give a stiff competition to upcoming tablets.