It finally happened. Today we got a first peek at a long rumored Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS.
And the first preview left me with even more questions about it, then I had before.
But let’s start from what we learned.
- First, we got the stupid rumor about which version of Android Honeycomb is settled. There were some claims that this Android release is just one more iteration of Android 2 line, with a version number –2.4. Well, that’s now settled, Honeycomb is a real new generation of Android OS and gets it’s own 3.0 number.
- It seems that Google is branching out Android OS, telling us that Android 3.0 has been designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. So now, at least for a few months, we are going to have two distinct branches/lines of Android OS – Android 2 for smartphones/superphones, and Android 3 – for tablets.
- The improvements Android 3.0 Honeycomb brings to the table include:
- refined multi-tasking and notifications
- home screen customization with a new 3D experience and redesigned, richer and more interactive widgets
- browser upgrades including tabbed browsing, form auto-fill, syncing with Google Chrome bookmarks, and incognito mode for private browsing
- built-in Google Maps 5
- Google eBooks reader/library app
- video chat support for Google Talk
From what we could see about Android 3.0 Honeycomb that was loaded on a newly announced Motorola Xoom tablet, the OS is still very much work in progress. I won’t expect any ready to market devices at least until March.
But even in those videos and short demos, Android 3.0 Honeycomb looks very impressive. I’ll just like to know where Android goes from here. In particular:
- Is Android 3 branch really exclusive to tablets. Or will Google give us some iteration/version of Android 3, that will run on the higher specc’ed smartphones that are being launched at CES.
- Does Google feel that Android 2 line is good enough for phones for now, and they will only keep iterating on that, bringing some Android 3 goodness (e.g. video calling, 3D effects, etc;) to Android 2.4, 2.5 and so on, in dribs and drabs?
- Are there any minimum or recommended requirements for Android 3 devices. Especially on CPU side – does it really require dual core CPU, or 1GHz CPUs with graphic acceleration will be enough? What about screen size/resolutions. Are 7” Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets a viable option?
We’ll be searching for answers to these Qs and report back as soon as we hear anything. Stay tuned, and for now enjoy the official Android 3.0 Honeycomb preview video:
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