Google held its Android press event at the infamous Googleplex in California yesterday. To the point: Honeycomb is finally here and it is magnificent!
The long awaited update to Google’s OS for tablets was unveiled earlier, but will soon be available for download to developers and consumers alike, for a very Google price: Free.
Google reps demonstrated some of the brand new features Android 3.0 will offer including bigger icons and pop-up widgets to take advantage of tablet-sized screens, an unobtrusive notification system for tweets, emails, and other blips, some great three-dimensional features that compliment tablet-worthy processing power, and they even showboated some tremendously awesome gameplay from unreleased Android Market games (many of which should be released this month).
Using a Motorola Xoom to illustrate, Google first introduced its application fragments system which allows you to view Gmail and other applications in separate panes whether in landscape or vertical modes. This also allows applications to include functions that can be repeated throughout different menu screens.
Android’s new notification system is especially notable due to its subtlety and the uncanny ability to keep out of your way and fade off gently into space. It’s somewhat like Microsoft Outlook’s e-mail notifications, only transparent and less “blue-screen” prone.
In addition, Honeycomb adds some great UI for tablet cameras along with some familiar applications such as Google Talk, which includes the ability to video chat. Google’s demo of this feature didn’t look that amazing, but neither does their computer version.
Another interesting addition is Honeycomb’s “Renderscript”, which allows applications to render lots of 3D content separately, yet at the same time. Google demonstrated this with a YouTube application with an entire scrollable screen of videos. This will definitely be utilizing those dual-cores in the Xoom among other dual-processing tablets.
The gamers were also pleased during this event, and how could they not be? Google just ported PS3’s Monster Madness onto Honeycomb, with outstanding results. In the video below you’ll see very smooth graphics, great contrast, and completely HD content, along with many different control options to complement your preferences. We can already tell this one is going to be a winner when it’s released next month on the Android Market.
Last, and definitely THE most awesome development is that Android Market is finally going online. A web-based version will give Google fanatics the ability to search, purchase and download content to their Android tablets and Smartphones directly from the Web. It’s live as we speak at market.android.com.