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Coming soon Android 3.0 (Aka HoneyComb)

Google Inc is getting closer to releasing a version of the Android software meant for tablet computers, one that will include a fresh look and updated Web browser and keyboard.

The online search leader said that it released a preview version of the software development kit for Honeycomb, also known as Android 3.0. It's for developers to test out their applications on the software and learn about its new capabilities.
Pushing Android to the lofty heights of version 3.0, Honeycomb is being developed entirely with slate machines in mind, and isn’t expected to be available on any phones at all – which begs the question of what will Android on mobile handsets do when it hits version 3?

So what’s the video show? Having watched it a couple of times through I find myself very much agreeing with Endgadget’s Tim Stevens. The best thing I can say about the OS is that it’s nothing at all like the Android we’ve come to know over the last couple of years. Out go blocky graphics and poor fonts and in comes some flashy whizz-bang transitions. If this is what most of the iPad competitors will be shipping with then I’m a happy choppy. Competition is good, remember!

Tablet computers are expected to be popular this year, spurred by the release of Apple Inc's iPad last April. At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this month, companies including Motorola Mobility Inc. and AsusTek Computer Inc. showed off tablet computers that will run Honeycomb. Plenty are expected in the coming months as companies try to compete with the popular iPad.

Google, which is based in Mountain View, outlined a variety of Honeycomb's features on its Android Developers site, many of which were shown in presentations at CES.

Google has focused on improving the user interface and Android 3.0 comes with fluid home screens, better app switching, browser tabs, video chat, dynamic app shortcuts and new versions of Google's Android applications that take advantage of the bigger screen.

It seems that the Android tablets that will be launched in the coming months will have impressive hardware and an updated operating system that looks stunning, so they're poised for success.

They will include a "system bar" built into the bottom of the screen; it shows notifications and recently used apps and can be used to navigate the tablet.

Honeycomb will also have a redesigned on-screen keyboard to make it easier and quicker to type on a tablet's larger screen. Keys will still be arranged using the standard QWERTY system.

Tablets that use Honeycomb will also let users connect a full keyboard through a USB port — something the iPad cannot do — or wirelessly via Bluetooth.

Google said an updated Web browser will allow the use of tabs for browsing, so users wouldn't have to open individual browser windows for each Web page. That's a standard feature on desktop Web browsers these days. There will be an updated version of YouTube for Honeycomb as well, which includes a 3D-like wall for browsing videos.

The Android camera software will be updated, too, to make it quicker for users to control exposure, focus, flash, zoom and other options on a tablet's larger screen.

Showing off Honeycomb on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, said it will also include a feature that can create live translations of conversations. Schmidt will be stepping down from his post in April to become Google's executive chairman.

Honeycomb will work on smart phones, too, but apps will look differently on their smaller screens.

Google has described Honeycomb as allowing applications to have multiple views, depending on if they're running on a phone or a tablet. For example, Gmail on the tablet would show a list of e-mails in one column and the body of the one you're reading in a second column. One an Android phone, you'd only see one column at a time, as you do now.

Google first rolled out its free Android mobile software in 2008 on HTC Corp's G1 smart phone. It has since expanded to more than 170 phones and a number of tablet computers.
Coming soon Android 3.0 (Aka HoneyComb) Coming soon Android 3.0 (Aka HoneyComb) Reviewed by Imran Baig on 3:13:00 PM Rating: 5
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