It's pretty much universally agreed upon that Honeycomb's UI overhaul looks awesome, with its Tron-inspired holographic UI touching just about every part of the operating system. But what about the boot screen? It turns out that looks just as slick - TechCrunch managed to grab a video of it, and - despite the poor lighting - we can see that it looks nothing like previous versions of Android, which featured the Nexus "X" animation.
Earlier yesterday, Google demoed some of Honeycomb's most impressive features, however one of its best features seems to have slipped under the radar. While playing around with the Motorola XOOM, Engadget noticed an "Encrypt Tablet" option in the settings page.
At this time little is known about the encryption standard that will be used or whether the encryption process will affect the tablet's other features in any way. All that is known is that your accounts, settings, downloaded applications, media, and other files will be encrypted, and you will require a numeric PIN or password to decrypt the data.
Today has definitely been one of the more exciting days this year, at least in the Android department. Last week, Google sent out invitation for a Honeycomb-related event, where we, of course, were expecting detailed walkthroughs of Android 3.0 and hands-on with the Motorola XOOM.
Rumors of the web store that was promised almost a year ago as well as Google Music, teased at the same time at Google I/O last year, were flying, and one of them definitely came true today - we've finally got ourselves a web-based Market with over-the-air app installations.
As part of today's Honeycomb- and "Android ecosystem"-event, Google demoed Renderscript - a new 3D graphics library in Android. And part of their demo? A new application called Google Body, aka the "Google Maps of human anatomy."
It looks like it'll be a pretty cool way to explore the human body - just like Maps, you can strip away layers (i.e. skin, bones, etc.), rotate it in 3D, and search for body parts before having them highlighted in the app.
Honeycomb is one of the biggest updates in Android history, so naturally, I jumped at the chance to try it out via the newly released Android 3.0 "preview SDK." What I found certainly wasn't disappointing - though it's important to remember that this is just a preview, meaning that not everything is in working order (for example, the emulator is so slow it made me want to tear my hair out at times, not to mention the frequent force close messages).
Buried deep in the depths of the Honeycomb SDK that was released yesterday, this Tron-inspired Honeycomb logo, which, as we later found out, was actually part of the Honeycomb Easter egg. Whether this logo is THE Honeycomb logo or not remains to be proven, but it is definitely official, as it came straight from the SDK. Judging by my reddit submission, many of you liked it quite a bit but had ideas of your own of how it could be modified to be more in tune with the Android theme.
The Honeycomb SDK preview, allowing everyone to take a peek and play around with Honeycomb using the Android emulator, was launched yesterday, but after we got past the initial excitement, we found that the emulator itself was dog slow and pretty much unusable. In fact, it was so frustrating to use it that I wanted to punch walls and rip out my hair after 5 minutes with it. And I'm not even going to talk about orientation problems - how the Android team managed to ship the SDK with orientation broken by default (there is a fix for it in the Settings > Display) is beyond me and beyond the scope of this article.
You could say Motorola's earnings call ended on a high note - the company's CEO, Sanjay Jha, told analysts that the Atrix 4G will be launching at the end of February, as will the 3G version of the XOOM. That doesn't quite line up with the rumors we've been hearing about a February 17th release, and Jha later added that the XOOM might even be bumped to a release in March if things don't go according to plan.
The Android Developers Blog just announced the availability of a "preview" of the upcoming Android 3.0 SDK. Developers can start getting their Honeycomb on immediately, as the preview is available via the Android SDK and AVD manager as part of the Android SDK.
But even more exciting is the fact that the Android Developers page has been updated with a plethora of information regarding Honeycomb and its features. Where to begin?
An eager reader forwarded an internal Best Buy memo to Engadget which indicates, in no uncertain terms, that the Motorola XOOM tablet is set to launch at Best Buy on February 17th.
A leak from Verizon has confirmed that the unsubsidized price of the XOOM will be $799. However, Best Buy may be retailing the device for an altogether different price.
The XOOM is an important device for both Motorola and Google because it will be the first tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb, an iteration of the Android OS that supports the tablet form factor.