We’re hearing our readers loud and clear: Quite a few of you have PCs with the Android operating system and want to know everything that’s new and hot in the Android world.
As luck would have it, yesterday Google released big news on the new Android 3.0 called Honeycomb. And you just might find it interesting–especially if you’re in the market for a tablet and not totally sold on an iPad.
Over all, the new features aim to tie Google’s cloud services (think: your Gmail, your Google docs, or even a Blogger account) together with your devices and make it all seamless and organized. Sounds promising, right?
1. Revamped Navigation
Multi-taskers will love seeing images of recent links to help you keep track of everything you’re doing at once. That’s so great for comparison shopping and more.
The home screen will have now have widgets that look little boxes of data for apps. I especially like the looks of the Gmail widget that allows you to scroll through your emails to see your full inbox without actually being in the app. Important emails can be drag and dropped to keep them front of mind for things like that field trip you totally know you’ll forget.
3. Improved Notifications
Now you can get notifications on your bottom toolbar for new Google Chat–or even get headphone notifications if you’ve got the Android music app playing, and you want to pause, play or change your tune. Very practical if you need to quickly hide your forbidden love of 70’s disco during chats.
4. Richer Camera Experience
Those looking for more out of their computer’s webcam will be pleased that Honeycomb supports video chat and has a new camera app that offers the ability to shoot video and upload right to YouTube. News junkies (or budding child journalists) will have fun with the new Android CNN app that lets you load iReport videos to their site.
5. Android Market Improvements
We all know that the app market is still Android’s Achilles heel. Now it will be easier to find what you need with the catalog of apps at http://market.android.com. In-app billing this spring will keep the kids from “accidentally” spending $5,000 on that Smurf game (ha).
While it all sounds promising, I’m still wondering about the compatibility of early-version Android apps, and what the upgrade potential will be for those of you already using Android tablets. No answer yet from the Google powers-that-be. -Beth
Look for the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet, the Verizon 3G Motorola Xoom sometime this quarter.