A Brief Overview of the Android Honeycomb Operating System

Ever since the iPad 2 was released everyone has been watching the Android market to see Google will retaliate.

Google have answered the challenge with their new Android operating system Honeycomb 3. Developed specifically for tablets it is now the default operating system shipped on most new tablets.

There is a lot of new technology in Honeycomb including the new holographic user interface which takes advantage of the power of the CPU and the extra screen real estate of a full sized tablet.

Honeycomb continues where the mobile phone Android OS left off with enhanced multitasking, rich notifications, home screen customization, Widgets, and more. But Honeycomb transforms the user interface with a vibrant 3D experience and deeper interactivity, making them feel they are in familiar territory but even better than before.

There will also be new apps written specifically for Honeycomb that make great use of the powerful graphics, additional media abilities, and better user engagement.

Honeycomb provides two new bars. One is the “Systems” bar and the other is the “Action” bar. The “systems bar” will always be shown along the bottom of the display. You will always be aware of incoming mail as the system bar will be present even while you are running an application.

The “Action bar” becomes present when an application is running. Being contextual the “action bar” will give you options specific to the application currently running and will be the main focus of supplying application information.

Like all things Android you get the usual five home screens which can give you access to everything in Honeycomb. Users can place application shortcuts, widgets and wallpapers using Honeycomb’s grid based orientation system.

As with iPad and past versions of Android there is an enhanced soft keyboard. Typing is now easier with more keys added for richer text editing such as the tab key. They have also been reshaped and repositioned for better accuracy. Users can touch-hold keys to access menus of special characters and switch text/voice input modes from a button in the System Bar.

There are new connectivity options that greatly enhance the usability and convenience of Honeycomb. With support for cameras and MP3 files you can now easily sync your media files with a USB connected camera or PC without having to connect a USB hard drive. Another nice advantage is the ability to attach a full USB or Bluetooth keyboard.

Included in Honeycomb is a brand new browser. The new browser has features that lets users navigate and organize their workflow more efficiently. An ‘incognito’ mode allows for anonymous browsing and instead of windows the browser now features tabs.

The Email application uses a new two-pane interface to make viewing and organizing your mail much quicker. Users can select one or more messages and then by using the Action bar they can delete them all or move them to a folder. Users can sync attachments for later viewing and keep track of email using a home screen Widget.

The Camera application has been redesigned to take advantage of a larger screen for quick access to exposure, focus, flash, zoom, front-facing camera, and more. Honeycomb also supports time-lapse video recording giving users new and exciting ways to create videos. The Gallery application has also been updated so users can see their photos in full screen mode with easy access to other photos in their collection.

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With large screen Android tablets people now have a choice. The Android range of tablets allows users to choose feature sets that will be of most use to them and they are no longer limited to one choice in the portable tablet range. If you want a smaller tablet that is more portable you have that option. If you need something bigger or something more powerful to play games on or be more productive then that is also available.

The author has a blog on portable technology and enjoys writing about the latest gadgets. One of the latest gadgets that has caught his eye is the Acer Iconia Tablet A500 so why not check out the review.

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