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?
Every year, Google takes over the Moscone Center in San Francisco (a convenient train ride away from me) and hosts a full-blown conference called Google I/O. The usual schedule consists of 2 opening keynotes followed by presentations and demos related to all kinds of Google technologies. Google I/O also gives you an excellent chance to mingle with developers from all over the world, network, and exchange contact information. My favorite part is something called Fireside Chats, where developers from a specific team in Google sit around, talk about their product, and answer questions.
In what is the most carefully-worded way of saying "we don't know" I've seen in a while, Asus's UK marketing manager John Swatton has told Pocket-lint that the company's new Android tablets will be shipping with Honeycomb "if Honeycomb is available." The reason for the uncertainty? Swanson seems to be suggesting that Motorola's XOOM has been given special treatment by Google, while Honeycomb remains unavailable to most, if not all, other tablet manufacturers.
If there's one thing CES told us about the upcoming twelve months in technology, it's that 2011 will be the year of Android tablets. And with noteworthy entries such as the Motorola XOOM, ASUS'lineup, and the T-Mobile G-Slate, it looks like the tablets' quality might be just as high as their quantity - at least hardware-wise.
But what about the software? After all, isn't a device's OS what makes or breaks it?
During CES 2011 Sony Ericsson's newest smartphone, the Xperia arc, was sighted running Android version "2.4".
A few weeks ago there were rumours that Honeycomb, Google's next iteration of the Android platform, would actually be Android 2.4 and not Android 3.0. Although it was later confirmed that Honeycomb will indeed be Android 3.0, rumours suggested that an incremental update to Android was being readied. The About section of the Xperia arc, displayed below, appeared to confirm that there was indeed a version 2.4.
Motorola is expected to launch its XOOM tablet in February 2011 and, according to DigiTimes, they have placed an order for about 700,000 to 800,000 units. If there is greater demand, DigiTimes expects the order to reach up to one million units by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
Interestingly, DigiTimes also claims that Motorola and Samsung are being given special treatment by Google, while competitors, such as LG and HTC, are being left behind.
While Toshiba's original attempts at an Android tablet running on the Tegra chip didn't exactly go down a storm, they seem keen to continue with Android devices, and brought a new tablet with them to CES. Artem got a video demo from one of their reps, and as you can see there are some attractive features to note.
Like the Motorola XOOM, the nameless Toshiba tablet (henceforth "Anon") has a 10.1" WXGA (1280x800) screen, which was unsurprisingly nice and crisp.
ASUS turned a few heads with their recent device unveilings, with one of the more intriguing ones being their Eee Pad MeMO. Unlike almost every other tablet device here at CES, the MeMO is not using a Tegra II processor but will instead be powered by the latest Snapdragon. The MSM8260 is the first dual core processor we've seen from Qualcomm, and we were eager to put the 1.2 GHz chip through its paces.
We've been getting a lot of information about Honeycomb over the past two days. Earlier today we got some more previews from T-Mobile and just now, at Verizon's CES keynote, they introduced us to an updated notifications system and a brand new sleek task switcher. Here's a video of the full walkthrough which gives us other new visuals like how to mess around with homescreens, a look at the new YouTube app, Maps 5.0 (which got quite a bit of oohs-and-aahs), Dungeon Defenders, Gtalk video chat, and much more!
Since yesterday's Honeycomb video leak and the introductions of the Xoom and G-Slate, Android fans everywhere have been awaiting more information on the sweet tablet OS. Seems like our wishes have been heard and granted by T-Mobile who has unleashed videos of the G-Slate UI. In these we find brand new user interface layouts of Gmail, the browser, Gtalk (including video chat), Google Books, and the brand new homescreen interface.