Last night, during All Things D’s Dive into Mobile conference, Google’s Mobile Platform VP Andy Rubin showed off an unnamed Motorola tablet running on the latest version of the internet giant’s mobile OS, Android 3.0, Honeycomb.
He showed off some of the features of the new OS, which keeps improving upon the current build. It adds much of what we had hoped for before, and then some.
Let’s take a look at what we learned:
Image from Engadget
1) Optimized for Tablets
Honeycomb is built for both phones and tablets, and will be the first version of Android that is built with tablet computers in mind. In the past, Google has said that their Android OS is not designed for such devices, but that is changing with Honeycomb. The upcoming devices will surely be built to compete with the iPad 2. Which, like Honeycomb, should be rolling out next year (We’re going to guess within the first four months).
2) UI Improvements
The user interface of Android 3.0 is seeing even more changes. The homescreen looks very clean at this point. The app page looks a lot like what you would see in iOS.
It seems that Google is very interested in cleaning up the Android interface. When asked by Engadget about Google’s hiring of Matias Duarte from Palm during the presentation, and if “he is going to clean this up?” Rubin replied, “I think you’ll see the fruits of that investment soon.”
3) New email interface
Along with the updates to the user interface, the Gmail application is taking the iPad approach. In landscape, the inbox is displayed along the left side of the screen while the message makes up the right three quarters. While in portrait, the email message displays full-screen, presumably with a drop down menu for the inbox (as is the case with the iPad).
4) Video Chat
We were hoping that this one would come with Gingerbread, but it didn’t. Luckily, it seems to be on the way with Honeycomb. Unfortunately, not much was said other than “in the middle of my chat, which has video icons that I should get rid of. There you go, Walt, proven.” Which basically means he accidentally gave away the fact that it has video chat, but laughed it off.
It’s nice to see that Android is finally taking some steps to compete in the tablet market. It’s sure to gain popularity, and has the potential to release on devices that can truly compete with the iPad 2. No Android 3.0 release date was given, but Rubin said that the new OS will be available “sometime next year.”
(All images All Things D, Unless otherwise noted)