Google Gives Developers First Crack at Honeycomb

Google on Wednesday gave mobile application developers their first look at its Android 3.0 mobile operating system for tablets, releasing a preview of the Honeycomb software development kit (SDK).

Xavier Ducrohet, technical lead for Google's SDK team, in a blog post, said the release gives developers a chance to start testing their new tablet-centric apps and familiarize themselves with new UI patterns, APIs and other capabilities that will be available on its third-generation mobile operating system.

"Besides the user-facing features it offers, Android 3.0 is also specifically designed to give developers the tools and capabilities they need to create great applications for tablets and similar devices, together with the flexibility to adapt existing apps to the new UI while maintaining compatibility with earlier platform versions and other form-factors," Ducrohet said.

This preview version of Honeycomb includes non-final APIs and any applications developed on it cannot be published on Android Market. Google said it will release a final SDK in "the weeks ahead" from which developers will be able to publish their new applications.

Ducrohet said highlights of the first-take SDK include an improved UI framework for building apps for larger-screen devices, high-performance 2D and 3D graphics facilitated by a new property-based animation framework and support for multicore processor architectures.

It also includes new APIs for Bluetooth A2DP and HSP that will allow applications to offer audio streaming and headset control. New multimedia features include HTTP Live streaming support, a pluggable DRM framework and "easy media file transfer" through MTP/PTP.

Earlier this month, Motorola Mobility generated a lot of buzz when it unveiled Xoom, the first tablet powered by Android 3.0, during the Consumer Electronics Show.

Developers can find more details on Google's Android 2.0 Preview SDK page.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


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