Google has officially shown the new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system which is set to be used by over 40 tablet manufacturers who are looking to take on the Apple iPad, which at this stage has over 80% of the global tablet marketplaceThe OS, which I saw for the first time at CES, running on the Motorola XOOM has a complete new interface, slick automation, new 3D graphic capabilities, video chat, multi-tasking, and what appears to be significantly improved graphics.
Core navigation features are now on the left hand of the home screen with one standout feature being multitasking which allows users to access multiple applications at the same time. Users can also drag and drop folders and use Video similar to what Apple has with FaceTime.
There’s also a new non-intrusive notifications system which sits at the bottom right hand side of the screen allowing email and messages to be streamed to the device. Another new feature is 3D graphics with some tablet manufacturers looking to deliver 3D display screens for gaming.
Function settings such as screen brightness, volume control and connectivity and media control are easily accessible easily at the bottom right hand corner.
Tech Radar said that navigating around the interface is greatly improved over the mobile OS, with a series of gorgeous transitions that really add slickness not seen on tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab running Android 2.2.
Content such as eBooks, can be accessed via the home screen using ‘bubbled’ widgets which present multiple stories, videos, emails or books without having to activate the application.
A new RenderScript 3D graphics platform delivers a new experience for users over what Apple are able to deliver with their iPad. Demonstrating the platform Google engineers, showed a 3D video wall running YouTube along with live animation in publications which is set to ideal for publishers creating children’s books.
Google also announced the “Application fragment” functionality which will allow developers to present information in panes similar to what the ABC and the BBC are doing with their iPad applications.
Gmail users can now open messages to the right of the folder, while pushing older tabs out to the left.
Engadget said that when CNN took to the stage they revealed an impressive new information application tailored specifically to the Android 3.0 platform.
Google’s has also announced a new Android Market web client that can be accessed live today. The application allows users to browse the entire Market catalogue on a desktop PC or notebook. Using -air transfers — users can download and install applications onto an Android handset.
A neat new My Market Account section will let you nickname your registered devices to make them more recognisable.
Google has also just announced that Android will soon support in-app purchases. Widespread developer interest has been cited as the major reason for doing it, so you’ve got those lovable coders to thank for the oncoming wave of micropayments you’ll have to deal with in your Android apps. The in-app purchasing SDK is releasing to developers today and will be “live to users prior to the end of this quarter.”