Andy Rubin Gives Glimpse of Android 3.0 Honeycomb

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Earlier this morning we told you about Andy Rubin (Google’s Vice President of Engineering) giving us a little sneak peek into Android Honeycomb while previewing the not-yet-available Google Maps 5 on a tablet at the D: Dive Into Mobile event.

While many were being mesmerized with the new 3D imagery in Google Maps, the fact that buildings will be vector-based, and the long-awaited offline-storage capabilities, developers were taking hurried notes of the nuts and bolts of what Mr. Rubin was describing. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, what did we first see in the video?

New Unlock Screen

Taking advantage of the larger screen of a tablet, Google has reworked the traditional “side to unlock” feature of the lockscreen to be a lock inside a circle. The circle is invisible until you tap and drag on the lock. As soon as the lock is moved outside the circle, the device unlocks.

lockscreen

Video Chat

Although Rubin didn’t got into any detail, when he unlocked the tablet his Google Talk (or Google Chat) app was shown, complete with “video icons”. He brushed this off quickly, saying “with video icons, which I should get rid of. Well, there you go. Proven.” This seems to imply that video chat will be available in Honeycomb.

videochat

3D Enhancements

Rubin spent a good deal of time showing off Google Maps 5 which will bring 3D vector images to the Google Maps app that we all know and love. Luckily we won’t have to wait long for this. Google Maps 5 should be available for current Android-powered cell phones “in a matter of days”. Back on point, Honeycomb will carry on the Gingerbread torch by pushing the 3D envelope, taking advantage of the Graphics Processing Units that are starting to show up in current Android-powered devices.

maps

Apps: Write Once, Use on Many Platforms

Rubin downplayed the dreaded word “fragmentation”, and possibly poked fun at. Rather than requiring developers to write a different app to target tablets (versus cell phones), Rubin said developers would use something he called “fragments” to break up the way content is displayed. On phones information would be page after page, like we have now. On tablets, apps like Gmail and Chat can display content side-by-side to take advantage of the bigger display. He got cut off before he was able to go into detail about Google TV, but implied that the same “fragment” methodology would be used on that platform for the 10-foot view as well.

gmail

Buttonless

Rubin was quick to point out a feature of the tablet he was demoing: no buttons. This will likely be left up to the device manufacturer, but it’s a novel idea to have a table that is ONLY a touch-screen, with no physical buttons, not even one “menu” or “action” button as seen on the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone.

What Did I Miss?

I’ve been through the video a dozen times so far, but I’m sure I overlooked something. What can you find in the video that I missed? Comment below!

Source: All Things D

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About The Author
Joe Levi
Joe graduated from Weber State University with two degrees in Information Systems and Technologies. He has carried mobile devices with him for more than a decade, including Apple's Newton, Microsoft's Handheld and Palm Sized PCs, and is Pocketnow's "Android Guy".By day you'll find Joe coding web pages, tweaking for SEO, and leveraging social media to spread the word. By night you'll probably find him writing technology and "prepping" articles, as well as shooting video.Read more about Joe Levi here.