A Brief Overview of the Android Honeycomb Operating System

Everyone has been wondering how the Android market will hold up now that Apple has released the iPad 2.

Honeycomb 3 is the answer Google has responded with and it is now the default operating system on most new Android 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. Transforming the user interface into a rich 3D experience Honeycomb may feel familiar to Android users but under the hood there is technology at work making the experience even better than before.

New applications are being written and old ones are being re-written to take advantage of the powerful graphics, media capabilities and the enhanced user experience that Honeycomb provides.

Two new bars are available. They are the "Systems" and "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" presents itself when you are running an application. The "action bar" is contextual and will display information relevant to the application currently running. It's here that you will also access key information about the running application.

Like all things Android you get the usual five home screens which can give you access to everything in Honeycomb. All home screens have a grid orientation that allow placement for home screen widgets, app shortcuts, and wallpapers using a dedicated visual layout mode to be placed as wanted.

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. You can now hook up a full USB keyboard or connect one via Bluetooth if needed.

There is a new web browser included in Honeycomb. Users can now navigate and organize their web experience with greater efficiency. Multiple tabs replace browser windows and a new "incognito" mode allows anonymous browsing.

The Email application uses a new two-pane interface to make viewing and organizing your mail much quicker. By selecting one or messages and then activating the Action bar you can select what to do with the messages such as deleting or moving them to a new folder. A new email Widget allows for later viewing of attachments and keeping track of emails.

With the larger screen comes a redesigned camera application to take advantage of it. Users also now have more convenient access to the front facing camera, exposure, focus, flash, zoom and a few other extras. To let users capture scenes in new ways, it adds built-in support for time-lapse video recording. A newly updated Gallery application enables users to view their collection in full screen mode while still having quick access to the other albums in their collection.

Google Honeycomb now gives the marketplace more vibrancy in regards to the tablet computer but more importantly there is now a choice for consumers. Not only is there now an option other than the iPad but we are also seeing a wide variety of Android tablets coming into the market place that have a different appeal to different users. 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 where he enjoys sharing his passion for 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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