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Android 3.0 Honeycomb Goes Live, What’s New In It

I’ve reported earlier that Google will hold a press event to show it’s newest Android 3.0 Honeycomb specially customized for Tablets. And now Google hosted an android 3.0 honeycomb showcase event today at 10 a.m Pacific. Google kicked-off the event with an announcement. Checkout it after the break.

Our approach has been to equip developers with best possible toolkit then get out of their way

They disclosed some important details about their tablet-optimized version of an android. Let’s go live:

10:02 a.m.: Google’s Andy Rubin is kicking things off. The standard fare: We’re happy with Android’s growth, we love our team, etc.

10:05: Hugo from Google is about to show off some of Honeycomb’s new features. On a separate note, it’s interesting that they use a blue bee to symbolize the tablet OS vs. the cute and iconic Android.

10:06: The screen is redesigned. The top left has the search functions, the top right has application access, and the bottom bar has the traditional Android buttons. Except they are no longer physical buttons. Those are a thing of the past.

10:07: Hugo is flipping through some widgets. There’s a new interface for browsing through videos, photos and books via widgets.

10:08: Advanced notifications. They’re like Growl notifications on the Mac, except on the bottom right of the screen. The settings panel is also there.

10:10: Games work just as you’d expect them to.

10:11: Honeycomb utilizes a pane interface for things like e-mail. If you’ve ever tried Gmail on the iPad, you’ve seen this interface before. Google calls these panes “Application Fragments,” which developers can use to optimize their Android apps for Honeycomb.

10:12: Drag-and-drop interactions are included in Honeycomb, so you can drag-and-delete your e-mails if you so choose.

10:13: Hardware acceleration available for apps. Only takes one line of code to enable.

10:14: New animation framework. Makes transitions smoother (though it’s still nothing compared to the iPad, in our opinion).

10:15: New YouTube app. 3D video wall, utilizes render script and hardware acceleration. The same is true for Google Books.

10:16: Google Maps is now getting demoed. It utilizes 3D rendering. Even the buildings are in 3D (a feature Google’s Marissa Mayer informed us about earlier this year).

10:17: Google Body is the last 3D demo. You can see the human body in 3D.

10:18: Thomas Williamson, a 3D expert and CEO of War Drum Studios, is demoing two of his company’s games and how it performs in 3D.

10:20: Google is showing off the multimedia aspects of Honeycomb. It has a new camera app. It’s the same as the camera app I played with when I first got my hands on the Xoom at CES.

10:22: Video chat is being demoed. A widget called “Contact Shortcut” lets you access your contacts and call them or e-mail them. Video chat via Google Talk just brings your contact up as a full screen video. Seems to run crisply enough.

10:24: CNN is now on stage to demo its new Honeycomb application. Louis Gump, VP of Mobile, is giving the demo.

10:25: The CNN app launches in “the near future.” It utilizes the pane interface. The key news sections are on the left, while the right-hand side has different videos you can watch.

10:26: CNN’s app for Honeycomb has live stream capabilities. You can watch CNN locally or internationally from the app (though I doubt it can replace the cable channel).

10:27: CNN is discussing iReport in Honeycomb. You can not only see recent photos and videos from iReporters, but you can also capture photos or videos from the app and upload them to CNN.

10:30: Changes are coming to Android market.

10:33: First announcement: Android Market Web Store! Finally!

10:34: You can now find and purchase apps via the web. You can check it out at Market.Android.com

10:36: There is a featured application section. Descriptions, developer information, screenshots and more are available.

10:37: Once you buy the app, your phone/tablet automatically gets a notification and starts downloading the app. No wires, all cloud.

10:39: Developers can also upload YouTube videos to promote their apps in the web store. There’s also a “tweet” button on every app page for sending the app to your friends. There is no Facebook integration — no surprise.

10:42: Search is being demoed. There are filters for finding the right apps. You can sort by popularity or rating if you’d like.

10:43: On a side note, Google has now coined “automagically” as a word to describe pushing apps from the desktop to your computer. I guess Google didn’t want Apple to have all the magic.

10:44: New currency support. Developers will be able to set override prices in other currencies.

10:45: Final announcement: In-app purchasing is coming to Android apps. This is something Apple has had for a long time, but now you can buy new levels in your favorite games. It’s a long-overdue feature.

10:46: Disney’s GM of Mobile is on stage. 60 million apps downloaded so far, but more now that it’s making a big push on Android.

10:47: Disney is launching Radio Disney for Android. That’s nice, but even better, it’s bringing Jelly Car, one of the most popular iOS games around, to Android.

10:48: Final game: Tap Tap Revenge 4 is coming to Android. The Tap Tap Revenge franchise has been sold more than 50 million times. The company waited until in-app purchasing was available before launching.

10:52: Google is launching documentation for in-app purchasing today. It’ll go live to users before the end of the quarter.

10:53: Ceelo is video chatting with Hugo. You know, “The Lady Killer.” They had to get a celebrity in there somehow.

10:54: That’s a wrap!

Homescreen:

Homescreen is much more customizable and features a new dedicated button for the multi-tasking. The homescreen also features a notification bar, system status while the rest of the screen is left for the apps.

Notifications aren’t intrusive at all. They can also be used to control background apps.

Optimization to Run Existing Apps on Tablets:

Since honeycomb is primarily a tablet based OS and has only been showcased yet only on Xoom, one of the most important targets for the android team was to make sure that all exisiting apps run flawlessly on tablets. The team has spent considerably huge amount of time to make sure of that. If the apps follow the recommended guidelines, they will run really good on the honeycomb.

Application Fragment:

A fragment is part of an application that can be reused throught the app to perform specific funtionality. It makes the system more modular in nature. The application frgaments were explained by using the Gmail app for the honeycomb. Tapping the message slided the left most pane out to make room for a new pane, the message.

Dragging Manager:

Part of the app framework, this new feature allows you to create and manage dragging intereactions as per your wish. They are added to support richer touch based user interface. These are the generic drag-and-drop APIs.

Optimization of Graphics:

2D and 3D graphics are optimized for the honeycomb. All the 2D graphics can now be hardware accelerated. New framework has also been introduced for the animation.

Multicore Support:

Honeycomb will support multiple cores. It was previewed on a Motorola Xoom which has dual-core ARM-based Tegra 2 chipset. With that, the first game for android that works hundred percent on 2 cores, Great battles Medieval, will be released.

Market:

The market now provides plenty of methods to discover and purchase apps. The web store has also been launched which can directly be accessed through tablet’s browser to make the purchases. The market also offers advanced search with filters like device compatibility, paid, free etc. Developer and buyer can have different currencies which means buyer currency support is coming to the market.

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