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Honeycomb For Tablets Spied, Brings Google Talk Video Chat

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Google (s goog) may have cut the leash on Honeycomb a bit early as a promotional video showing the features of Android 3.0 briefly appeared on the Android Developer YouTube channel before being pulled. Engadget was quick to get a backup copy and has the full video on display. I caught a glimpse and here’s what I saw, although I recommend you take a gander at the full 92 second clip.

  • Larger widgets on home screen which coexist with Android application shortcuts and provide glanceable information without having to open an app. I think widgets are one of the key advantages Android holds over iOS at the moment and Google is wise to leverage them for its tablet operating system.
  • Unlike the current multi-page native browser found on Android devices, Honeycomb brings true multi-tabbed browsing, just as some third-party browsers such as Dolphin HD, do today. The browser looks more like Chrome in that regard.
  • An optimized Google Books app with visual page animations indicates that Google is ready to really go after the growing e-book market.
  • Gmail gets an overhaul with smart sliding panes for inbox, messages and content. The interface reminds me of Twitter on the iPad, which uses a similar slide experience for virtual screen expansion.
  • The new YouTube video app shows the video library in a 3-D-like wall, similar to the photo Gallery in Android 2.2, although it doesn’t appear that videos are “stackable” by category or any other means.
  • Video chat won’t be relegated to third parties such as Skype, Tango and others: Honeycomb brings Google Talk video chat between tablets and desktops.

Although the new optimizations for large screen devices are welcome, it’s nice to see some of the best bits of Android are still there. Aside from the widget support, I see the native sharing feature made the cut: there’s no need for sharing bookmarklets and shortcuts because Android integrates third-party apps for sharing URLs, photos and more. All of a sudden, my Samsung Galaxy Tab with Android 2.2 just got a little stale!

Image credit: Engadget

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11 Responses to “Honeycomb For Tablets Spied, Brings Google Talk Video Chat”

    • Neither Google nor the hardware manufacturers have been clear on this, but my take so far is that it’s for tablets only. The redesigned apps for tablets will be too big to “fit” on a 4.3″ or smaller smartphone screen based on what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know that I’d call it a whole new operating system, however. The apps and UI might be unique, but much of the underlying operating system should be similar, if not the same. There’s a difference between UI and OS.

  1. What is honeycomb, and why is everyone waiting for it? I just want an ereader w/out a backlight so I can read my scanned books and pdfs from Google ebooks for about 6 hours a day w/out burning my eyes out. I need annotations options on those pdfs and ebooks and the ability to import/export the annotations. Does honeycomb do that?

    • Earliest date that I’ve seen or heard so far is April, although Motorola said that their Android 3.0 tablet will be here by end of the first quarter: essentially April, if they wait until the last day of the quarter. ;)

      • I’m not understanding what the big deal with honeycomb is. What is honeycomb? People are saying they want the Notion Adam Ink, but it doesn’t have honeycomb. What does that mean? I just want an ereader w/out a backlight so I can read pdf files and scanned books from eGoogle. I also wanna do pdf annotations and take notes on those books and be able to import and export those files with notes on them. Does honeycomb make this happen?