Google’s mad scientists are busy hacking together a new Android in Frankenstein-style, grafting bits and pieces of Honeycomb onto Gingerbread to bring a little of that tablet flavor to smartphones. While that much has been known for a while now, we’ve still been left guessing as to just what parts of Honeycomb will be salvaged for smartphones, and what Google doesn’t think will work on smaller screens. Google Android Engineering Director Dave Burke has now provided our first taste of what’s to come feature-wise, thanks to a discussion with Phone Scoop.
Android Ice Cream Sandwich (or just plain Ice Cream; who knows?) will be getting the Action Bar from Honeycomb. This is the context-sensitive set of buttons that changes to give easy access to the most-needed features of a particular application. Instead of looking for buttons buried in menus, you’ll be able to more efficiently get tasks done with a simple tap.
What might not make the jump includes the Honeycomb System Bar, living down at the bottom of tablets’ screens. While it’s nice to have as much useful on-screen information as possible, there’s just not the screen real estate to spare.
The look of Honeycomb should be largely preserved, with its “hologram” motifs and thumbnail app previews while switching between them. Hopefully some of this news should quell worries of unneeded fragmentation, as it looks like Android’s paths will be coming together in a more-or-less harmonious fashion.