Google didn't leave us waiting long for the Android 3.1 SDK; hot on the heels of this morning's unveiling, the software development kit for the latest version of Honeycomb has landed. With it comes a boatload of new APIs (no wonder the API level is now 12) - most notably resizable widgets, improved animation frameworks, and, last but certainly not least, a host of options for interacting with USB devices. In fact, the last item is perhaps the most important, as it will allow users to connect a wide variety of USB accessories to their tablet and interface with them easily.
The popular do-everything notepad app Catch Notes received an update today that includes full Honeycomb support and provides some advanced features specifically designed for tablets. Among the new features is an improved UI that makes the app much more intuitive on the larger screen. You can now expect to see multiple views on the same screen, which will make note input a much more fluid task, along with an enhanced note editor that will allow for much faster note taking, and better overall organization.
Also included in this update is the addition of context-aware controls in the action bar and a more intuitive tagging process.
Well, we all saw it coming. After giving away phones the past two years (HTC Magic G2 in 2009, HTC Nexus One/Motorola Droid and HTC EVO 4G in 2010), Google I/O attendees will be leaving with shiny new Limited-Edition Samsung Galaxy Tabs. Here's our little (big) guy:
The Tab 10.1 will be available to the masses on June 8, but I/O attendees will be receiving it first. The Tab 10.1 of course will be running Honeycomb (and will be getting the upgrade to 3.1 in a few weeks), have a 10.1'' screen, 1Ghz dual-core processor, and sport 32GB of onboard memory.
When Google announced its new Movies service today, some of the details of the service's launch were omitted in the information overload that is I/O. But now that we've had a minute to regain our composure and, you know, investigate, we've got some exciting news about Google Movies: you can start renting and watching right now (note: only the United States is currently supported):
The catch is that you'll only be able to do it from your personal computer (via the Web Market or YouTube in the browser) or on a Motorola XOOM in the Videos app for the moment (we're assuming that means it's limited to Honeycomb Android devices for the time being).
Shortly after Honeycomb dropped, we were told that the next version of Android would bridge the gap between tablets and phones. That bridge was officially announced this morning at Google I/O: Ice Cream Sandwich.
Ice Cream Sandwich will be the newest version of Android, and it's going to bring the goodness of Honeycomb to phones, along with Gingerbread features to tablets. The update is due out in Q4 of this year, and the goal is to unify the Android experience across devices, which is a huge step towards ending fragmentation as we know it.
It's clear that between this and the Android Alliance, Google has really paid attention to the biggest problems in Android and is making a collaborative effort to efficiently address them.
We've had leaked betas of Google's Music 3.0 app for Android for what seems like time eternal now, but Google has finally chosen to make the app public. At least part of it, that is. It sports the same interface as the beta we've all come to know (and love?), but lacks one key feature, mysteriously: a settings menu. That's probably owing to the fact that the previous betas we've seen all contained sync (Google Music) options in the settings menu, and unless you're a beta-invitee (don't worry, none of us have gotten ours yet, either), these options will presumably remain hidden and otherwise inaccessible.
Google just announced during the keynote presentation that Honeycomb is officially being updated to Android 3.1. The update will begin rolling out today for owners of the Verizon Motorola XOOM 3G - no word yet on when the WiFi model and other 3.0-rockin' tablets will receive the update, though.
They mentioned a few key improvements they've made with 3.1, though we're sure they only just scratched the surface. For example, they've improved multitasking to now allow more apps to run simultaneously. To make sure the performance doesn't suffer, though, they have a system in place that automatically halts and shuts down apps as available (presumably without making any sacrifices in terms of usability).
- Activated over 100m Android devices worldwide
- 36 OEMs
- 215 carriers
- 450k developers
- 310 Android devices
- 112 countries
- 100k activations/day in 05/2010
- 200k/day in 08/2010
- 300k/day in 12/2010
- today: 400k/day
- over 200k apps available in Android Market - "quality of these apps is phenomenal"
- Honeycomb being updated to 3.1 starting today
- Android has true multitasking - now allowing more apps to run at a time with a new system that automatically halts/shuts down apps
- Widgets improved - can now be resized
- Whoa - they're
playing(unsuccessfully) attempting to play a game on the XOOM using a 360 controller.
Well, that was fast. It hasn't been very long since the vold exploit was found that allowed root access to Gingerbread and Honeycomb systems, but Google has already patched it and moved the fix into the AOSP code (see these commits: , , , ). This means that once this update is pushed, we will need to find another route to achieve root access on devices running Gingerbread and Honeycomb.
Don't let this stop you from buying a new device right now, though, because it's far from certain when this fix will actually end up hitting devices.