Google's Android 3.2 Honeycomb OS for tablets is ready


Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android 3.2 operating system for tablets is finally official and updates are likely to arrive on a variety of tablets soon.

Android 3.2 Honeycomb is "an incremental release that adds several new capabilities for users and developers. The new platform includes API (application programming interface) changes and the API level is 13," according to a July 15 announcement posted on Google's Android Developers Blog.

Motorola (NYSE: MMI) has already started rolling out the update on its Xoom tablet, the company told CNET. Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1, Acer's Iconia Tab 500 and Toshiba's Thrive are likely to get the update too.

The enhancements that come with Android 3.2 include optimizations for a wider range of screen sizes, a new zoom-to-fill screen compatibility mode, the ability for users to load media files directly from the SD card to apps and extended screen support API that offers developers more control over the user interface.

While the Android platform is growing exponentially in the smartphone world, the tablet world is a different story. Android 3.0 so far has few apps built for it. The number remains in the low hundreds, compared with the more than 100,000 iPad apps.

Computerworld recently looked into the reasons why. One of the problems is the larger display that Honeycomb was designed for: 8.9 inches or larger. Most tablets on the market sport 7-inch screens. Existing Android 2.x apps require a fair amount of work in order for them to render properly on larger devices. Developers who rely on third-party development platforms--usually for games--will not have this problem. But the larger screen can result in usability issues including pixelation and hard-to-read font sizes.

For more:
- see this CNET article

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