At the opening day of Google’s developer conference yesterday, the company announced it would be bringing the Android smartphone and tablet OSes back together with Ice Cream Sandwich, but until that arrives in Q4, it has announced an update to the tablet version of Android.
Android Honeycomb 3.1 will bring quite a lot of new features to tablet devices including more tablet specific native apps for movies, books and web browser. The update will allow for a more customizable look for your homescreen with resizeable widgets using drag bars provided by the system. Users can expand widgets both horizontally and/or vertically to include more content, where supported by each widget. The update will also increase the amount of USB devices that can be attached to tablets including keyboards and mice as well as PlayStation 3 and Xbox controllers – with no special driver needed in most cases. Honeycomb 3.1 also brings an expandable Recent Apps list to allow for easier multitasking.
The updated set of standard apps will take advantage of the larger tablet screen. The browser is simpler and faster with the Quick Controls UI having been redesigned. The Gallery app allows for quick transfer of photos from your camera via USB using Picture Transfer Protocol. The new Movies app will let you rent thousands of movies from the Android market in what is an extension of the YouTube movie rentals we reported on yesterday. Again this will be available only in the US for the moment. The update is already rolling out the Motorola Xoom users in the US on the Verizon network but no other details of the update schedule have been announced.
With the announcement of the update, Google also announced that all 5,000 or so developers at Google I/O would be getting a limited edition of the revamped Galaxy Tab 10.1 with a vanilla back, embossed with Android logos. The Honeycomb 3.1 update will be coming to those tablets in the coming weeks and we’re sure that everyone will be jealous of those at the conference getting one of those super-slim (8.6mm) tablets.
Source: Android Developers