Google just published an Android 3.0 promotional video on its AndroidDevelopers YouTube channel, giving us our first glimpse at the redesigned user interface.
Though the video is no longer viewable on YouTube, having since been marked “private”, it was out in the open long enough to be mirrored. First thing we notice is that it’s going with the 3.0 = Honeycomb routine. Someone really needs to drop a nickname for Android 2.4, just so we can properly tell them apart.
The video claims Android 3.0 is “built entirely for tablets”, and its appearance certainly reinforces that. Screen elements are spaced comfortably apart, taking advantage of higher resolutions to project a clean, productive environment. Gmail and YouTube clients have also been redesigned to work more naturally on tablets, with YouTube now displaying an expansive, rotating wall of video thumbnails, filling the screen.
Bully for tablet users, sure, but what about smartphones? The vibe from this video isn’t “designed with tablets in mind” so much as “only for tablets”. That’s not saying that these UI elements aren’t scalable, but what we saw today does not look like it would be comfortable to use on a small screen. There’s been talk of a scaled-down version of Honeycomb coming out for lower-end hardware. Could that mean stripping the UI and maintaining a smartphone-ready version using the same base kernel? How is this going to impact app compatibility? We can understand why Google tried to pull the plug on this video; it’s generating more questions than answers.