Last week was Google’s yearly I/O conference, and with it, came brand new tablets for a bunch of lucky developers and tons of updates for Android. As to be expected, most of the news for Android was about Honeycomb.
Honeycomb is Android’s response to the big success Apple has had with the Ipad. Honeycomb is a Android version that is tasked with taking the smart phone operating system and tweaking it to double as an OS to work on various tablets. Although it is certainly the underdog in the tablet race, Honeycomb is slowly gaining ground on the Ipad.
This year the I/O Conference brought a new update to Honeycomb with some much needed features. Finally, Android tables will have access to USB input devices, which is essential to bring tablets closer to laptops in functionality. Also, some needed attention to the UI has been included to allow home screen widgets more flexibility. From the Keynote video below, you can see how a new Gmail widget can be used on the home screen. A demo of the widget and most of the new features is below.
Another API is also being added to Android which I think can add a ton of pretty interesting applications. The Open Accessory API will allow Android to talk to any sort of peripheral that has the correct hardware installed. This new Android chip could be installed in anything you can think of: from light bulbs to the engine of your car. This type of technology could be used for some pretty interesting applications that interact with normally non-digital devices. Check out this link for more info on the new features.
Although Android still has considerable ground to cover to catch up to the Ipad, strides are certainly being made to make the gap much smaller. The Motorola Xoom will be the first tablet to see this update, giving yet another reason to go pick one up.