Google has released its Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) software development kit (SDK) preview, allowing mobile developers to get an early hands-on with what the first tablet-only version of the Android operating system has to offer. So let’s take a closer look
For Testing Only
The SDK offers non-final APIs and is for testing purposes only.
Google says its release is intended to allow developers time to familiarize themselves with the new UI patterns, APIs and capabilities. One thing I have notist, it’s extremely slow. If you’re just curious about its insides and don’t need to test anything yourself, it may be better to just stick with the news and forum postings for now
Honeycomb for Users
The new features for users in Honeycomb are detailed on the Android Developers website. To summarize, those are as follows:
- System Bar: The notifications bar from the Android phone has been transformed into a “System Bar,” which now lives at the bottom of the screen. From here, you can access notifications, system status and the soft navigation buttons (Back, Home and Recent Apps).
- Action Bar: The Menu area from Android phones has become the Action Bar on Honeycomb. Now at the top of the screen, this bar provides access to the contextual options, navigation, widgets and other content, as dictated by the application currently running.
- Customizable Homescreens: Honeycomb comes with five customizable homescreens which users can add widgets, app shortcuts and wallpapers to. Each homescreens offers a launcher for access to all the applications and search box for apps, contacts, media files, Web content and more
- Recent Apps
- New Keyboard: Honeycomb’s soft keyboard offers reshaped keys which have been repositioned for better targeting. New keys, including Tab for example, have been added, too.
- Better Copy-and-Paste: The copy/paste functionality has been given an upgrade too.
- Connectivity Options: Honeycomb offers built-in support for the Media/Photo Transfer Protocol, which lets you sync with a USB-connected camera. You can also attach USB or Bluetooth keyboards. Bluetooth tethering is supported and Wi-Fi connectivity has been improved.
- New Standard Apps: Also new in Honeycomb are major updates to the standard Android applications, the Browser, Camera and Gallery, Contacts apps and Email.
Honeycomb for Developers
Developers need to be aware of the following features:
- UI framework for creating great apps for larger screen devices
- High-performance 2D and 3D graphics: A new property-based animation framework lets developers add great visual effects to their apps. A built-in GL renderer lets developers request hardware-acceleration of common 2D rendering operations in their apps, across the entire app or only in specific activities or views. For adding rich 3D scenes, developers take advantage of a new 3D graphics engine called Renderscript.
- Support for multicore processor architectures: Honeycomb is optimized to run on either single- or dual-core processors, so that applications run with the best possible performance.
- Rich multimedia: New multimedia features such as HTTP Live streaming support, a pluggable DRM framework, and easy media file transfer through MTP/PTP, give developers new ways to bring rich content to users.
- New types of connectivity.
- Enhancements for enterprise: New administrative policies, such as for encrypted storage and password expiration, help enterprise administrators manage devices more effectively.