If you're in the market for an iPad alternative, you can't go wrong with one of the tablets driven by Google's upcoming Android 3.0 operating system. Here's your guide to cool new features you'll love about this Android version codenamed Honeycomb.
On Thursday, Google released a preview of Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb, the latest and greatest Android mobile operating system.
It comes with a bunch of new features for users and a software development (SDK) kit for programmers to write smooth and engaging new apps for Android tablets.
Included below is a thorough run-down through all new Android 3.0 capabilities you'll no doubt love. Less patient readers can simply scroll down and check out Google's teaser video. Looking for big, beautiful screenshots promised in the headline? Hit page two of this piece right away. All righty, let's get started then...
For starters, Android 3.0 support multicore processing to optimizes performance on both single- or dual-core processors found on many upcoming tablets. Under-the-hood optimizations trickle down to Dalvik VM, the Java virtual machine that runs Android apps, promising a snappier performance for your existing software library.
New user interface
Android 3.0 packs in a new, highly visual holographic interface that looks stunning on tablets. The new Recents Apps list in the system bar is visible in all apps, allowing you to quickly switch between apps regardless of what you're doing. Another novelty is the Action button at the top for quick in-app access to the commonly-used features of the foreground app.
A new "lights out" mode will dim everything but the currently running app - useful when watching videos full screen. You will no doubt enjoy new themes bound to dazzle you with cool 2D and 3D effects, courtesy of both Open GL and a new hardware-accelerated 3D graphics engine called Renderscript.
This is your revamped task switcher in Android 3.0.
Building on top of the new-look interface are additional widget types like a 3D stack, search box, a date and time picker, number picker, calendar, popup menu and more. Your home screen now has spatial arrangement in all orientations and you can scroll content displayed on the home screen widgets, like flipping through 3D stacks, grids or lists.
An improved notifications interface sports additional visual clues such as titles, priority flags, large and small icons, etc. What's best, existing Android apps inherit the aforementioned visual treats automatically.
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