Yesterday evening over at Mountain View, Google gave us an in depth look at Honeycomb on Motorola’s new Xoom tablet, announced the new Android Market website and showed off in-app purchases.
Honeycomb is Google’s tablet-specific OS and we first got a glimpse of it back in December before Google unveiled a video of it at the start of January. Last week it announced the Android 3.0 Platform Highlights website. Yesterday however we got our first glimpse of how this new OS works for the user. Google's Hugo Barra took to the stage to show off Honeycomb working on the Xoom and we have to admit it looked pretty impressive. This included the revamped homescreen with back, home and mutlitasking buttons on the bottom left with notifications and system status on the bottom right hand side.
Among the many new features, Barra showed off the new widgets, thouh similar to those on smartphones, are now backed by collections of data which can be visualised. He showed off Gmail, calender, ebook and YouTube widgets and demonstrated scrolling through stack and grid widgets simultaneously using the multi-touch capabilities of the Xoom. The notifications system has been also redesigned to contain more information. In relation to apps, existing Android apps will run “really well on tablets,” however tablet-optimised apps will be encouraged and the introduction of something called app “fragments” was shown off through the new Gmail app with very impressive results. There was much more on display and you can see it all on the video above.
The press conference then went on to announce the Android Market website which is basically what it says on the tin. The website, which is already live, allows you to browse the entire Market catalogue on your desktop. You can purchase any app you want, and then – via the magic of over-the-air transfers – it downloads and installs onto your Android handset. All very simple really.
The final major announcement was regarding in-app purchases, a feature we reported was coming last week. Google revealed that it was developer interest, which prompted them to include this within Android Market. The in-app purchasing SDK is releasing to developers today and will be "live to users prior to the end of this quarter."