The latest version of Android, 3.0 Honeycomb, has been formally introduced. What we’ve always known is that Honeycomb would be primarily for tablets, and contain minor upgrades for smartphones. What we didn’t know was how refined and feature-packed it would be.
Android 3.0 Honeycomb includes a completely redesigned e-mail client, serving up messages in landscape mode and bringing competitive messaging features to Android tabs. Also, Google has re-tooled the Android browser, packing minimalist controls to really make the most of bigger screens found on some Honeycomb tablets.
As expected, Google’s Honeycomb update has full 3D mapping tucked away inside Google Maps. That’s 3D rendered buildings alongside beautiful satellite imagery. Google didn’t leave its other popular web-apps behind either. For example, the YouTube app received a major overhaul. Google’s new interface seems to show video search results as a grid, with neat 3D curve effects. Expect bigger and simpler playback controls, too.
The most interesting feature included in Android 3.0 is Google’s response to FaceTime and Skype: Gtalk. The Android Honeycomb update includes video chat using Gtalk. FaceTime and Skype just got an extremely powerful new competitor and 2011 looks set to host a few video conferencing showdowns. The company’s also going head to head with Kindle and Apple’s iBooks by including an eBook reader and the Google Books download service. Google says there will be “millions of books” available on the go, complete with page turn animations. Of course, Apple said the same thing about iBooks and, other than a beautiful interface, the app was bare and the store included very few books.
The most surprising thing about Android 3.0 Honeycomb is that it’s not even ready yet. Google hasn’t released any official details, and the video has just been yanked from the Android Developers YouTube channel. It appears as though Google slipped up and revealed a bit too much too soon–or maybe it was planned. You’ll have to decide.
Via: Electric Pig