Honeycomb Time: Google Demos Android 3.0 At Verizon Keynote


Honeycomb is the first version of Google's popular and fast-growing mobile operating system that was designed specifically with tablet PCs in mind. Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg invited Google developer Mike Cleron to the stage during the keynote to show the audience some on the new features in Android 3.0 on a Motorola Xoom.

Cleron said that Google's development team spent about a year thinking of ways to rebuild the Android OS from the ground up. "We wanted our tablet experience to be better -- not just bigger," he said.

The biggest difference was how Google redesigned multitasking to make it easier for users to jump from application to application. Cleron demonstrated how users can keep track of the recent apps or widgets used in a left-hand side bar on the screen, which acts almost like a timeline of tasks for users. At one point, Cleron clicked on a button video game Dungeon Defenders, which restarted the game at the exact point where he left it.

Since Honeycomb was designed for touchscreen tablets, Cleron showed how the OS now displays buttons on the bottom of the screen regardless of which way users are holding it, so no physical keys are needed to operate it. In addition, Android 3.

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Gmail has gotten a makeover in Honeycomb; the e-mail client interface is now optimized for tablets with a much simpler and cleaner look. YouTube has also received a remodeled interface so users can comb through tiles of recent or popular videos (including a short demo video of HoneyComb on YouTube ).

"Honeycomb makes a really great entertainment device," Cleron said, but added that Android 3.0 also has many compelling communications features as well. Users can now get notifications and create personal widgets for individual contacts. Cleron also demonstrated a video chat with a Google colleague via Google Talk.

Last but not least, Cleron showed a 3D version of Google Maps 5.0 in action, zooming in and which drew oos and ahhs from the audience. "Yeah," he said. "It's pretty awesome."