Today, Google showed off its Android 3.0 OS - aka Honeycomb - on the Motorola Xoom tablet. In case you don't know, Honeycomb is designed for tablets and as such the main screen is dedicated to running applications and widgets. However, that said, one of the more interesting and smart developments shown today involves the new web-based Android Market (launched today) that uses cloud based technology to determine which Android device you own has what applications installed. This should make transferring already purchased applications to new Android phones or tablets much easier. Additionally, the new web store will tell you if the application your are considering is already installed and if so, on which device.
In addition to the launch of the Android Market web-based store, there were quite a few other interesting features demo'd. Here's an overview of some of the things you can expect to find in Honeycomb:
Navigation: In addition to the Back and Home button in the lower left hand corner of the screen there is also a multitasking button. Hit that button and you can see what's running on the tablet.
Widgets: It's not a surprise that widgets should be an integral part of the Android OS, but those found on Honeycomb are a bit more dynamic offering quick and easy access to important information on your device such as e-mail.
Notifications and Settings: These two features will appear in the lower right hand corner of the tablet's screen. Both are meant to be unobtrusive, yet still effectively provide you with pertinent information such as new messages. An alert pops up and it's up to you whether you'd like to click it to see more information and even then, it doesn't open an application window. Instead, it delivers more detail in the notification. The Setting Panel is something we'd like to see integrated on Android cell phones since it offers info such as display, WiFi connectivity, volume controls, in a quick panel view. Plus, you can easily adjust and change those features from the panel. While there are some versions of this found on some Android cell phones, we haven't seen any as comprehensive.
Camera settings: There are a few more camera settings found in the new OS, but more importantly you can easily switch between the front facing camera and the back camera in the app. This is a definite plus.
2D and 3D: At CES, the video demos of Honeycomb shown all included a 3D version of Google maps that rendered buildings as you navigated through a location. That was shown off today as well as a mention of how the 2D and 3D features shouldn't slow down overall performance. Besides maps, 3D features will likely be most utilized in games. For example, we saw the Monster Madness game originally designed for PS3 on the Xoom Tablet and it looked pretty dynamic.
Overall, the Google demo today did a lot to build excitement for the next generation of Android tablets. You can see some of the features in this Google Android 3.0 demo video: