Google’s annual developer conference — I/o 2011 — is underway and the search engine giant has announced what we all can expect to show up in the coming few years, at least in the Android arena. First of all, there’s new version of the Honeycomb, which you can figure out as Android 3.1. As for the what’s new with the addition of 0.1, you’re in for amusement, and a glimpse of what the future beholds.
In Android 3.1, UI Refinements apart, the most exciting feature of the latest version of Android is support for “Connectivity for USB Accessories” which, as Google showcased at the event itself, could bring you never-before seen features and accessories support — like, attach your tread-mill’s USB cable to your Honeycomb tablet and it would automatically bring up a pop-up notification to open your health/fitness app you would want to use. But that’s just the hint — you can actually play a game that would react to what and how you work on treadmill. Speaking of which, one Google guy actually played a game using this tech and as you would have guessed, depending on whether the tread-mill is worked out fast or slow, the airplane on the tablet’s screen would fly high or low accordingly — that’s just how you control a game, you miss and you get hit. On the very prospective side, one could actually play a real-world Farmville over it, taking care to not destroy your much-labored garden in the process, in case you lose — gotcha!
Okay, that was about accessories support, but that’s not all Android 3.1 is about. There are are some delightful enhancements in the OS, let’s bring them in bullets (as always):
- Recent Apps list are more expandable — just scroll through and tap the app to bring it up
- Home screen Widgets can be resized now — well, this one is sure to bring many smiles. Using the drag bars provided by the system, one can increase/decrease the size both ways.
- Okay, this one is one great feature too — you can really attach your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or other external devices, if you have any, to your android tablet running Android 3.1 — COOL!
- Well, the keyboard and mouse aren’t enough, esp. in the world of Joysticks and Gamepads. You have support for the latter devices too. That sounds great. Let’s wish it comes like a dream-come-true, shall we.
- Your ol’ Wi-Fi is soon going to be one-solution-for-all tech with the Robust Wi-Fi networking Google has planned. The Wi-Fi lock would let apps keep on working even with the screen off and will be able to maintain there separate connection.
- Now there updates and lots of updates to existing great apps:
- Gallery: Connect a camera and your pics and vids would show up in Gallery directly
- Calendar: It’s larger, better and more touch responsive
- Contacts: Search has been extended fully to all the fields. it would be hard to miss a detail already fed in when searching
- Email: It’s the best now. The Email app would even care a lot now about the formatting and promises to maintain the true spirit of the email’s format even with tablets.
- Enterprise support also got some attention in the Android 3.1. Each Wi-Fi access point can now be configured an HTTP Proxy, meaning users and developers can develop host of features using this tool to suit their need of apps and processes. Plus, Encrypted Storage Card facility would strengthen the security parameter.
That’s almost all of the new and latest features of the latest Android OS, version 3.1 — still called Honeycomb.
Oh yes, I know many of you are holding your breath for what’s up with the phone part of Android OS. Well, you’ll get a new OS version on the little screen too, but just chill out till Q4 of this year when you’ll be greeted with Icecream Sandwich — the new version of Android scheduled for later-this-year, combining the goodness of both honeycomb and Gingerbread, and applicable to both tablets and phones. That it about the phones but it’s still cool, right?
The opportunities look great for developers and I think those who can get the best of the latest tools available in/with the Honeycomb, would soon have their Bank Accounts swelling — I hope some of the devs really create amazing apps for us and do get appropriate reward. The thing is, much more is now possible using these tools — a secure HOME Audio system which works over Wi-Fi effortlessly with one-screen-control on Android phone. Same for Alarm clock which could play the music as the wake-up time approaches switch ON the room’s lights accordingly. Much much more is possible. One thing is sure with Android — future’s AWESOME!