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Google Releases Honeycomb SDK Preview

Wednesday Google's Android SDK tech lead Xavier Ducrohet announced the availability of an Android 3.0 platform preview for developers. Google also released updates to the Android SDK Tools (r9), NDK (r5b), and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (9.0.0).

"We are releasing a preview of the Android 3.0 SDK, with non-final APIs and system image, to allow developers to start testing their existing applications on the tablet form-factor and begin getting familiar with the new UI patterns, APIs, and capabilities that will be available in Android 3.0," Ducrohet said.

For consumers who currently use Android-based smartphones, Honeycomb is quite unlike what we've seen to date-- rather, this isn't a rehashed Froyo blown up to fit a tablet. Instead, Google has clearly re-designed the UI to offer a totally different yet immersive experience with the new OS. It's clearly no wonder why manufacturers put their tablets on hold and waited patiently for Google to complete the sleek new Honeycomb build (rather than simply using v2.2 Froyo).

As seen in the screenshot, the main home screen features a black menu bar at the bottom providing virtual buttons for Back, Home and Recent; the system clock, 3G and battery icons reside in the right corner. An app menu is loaded by clicking on the "+" sign at the top right; manual search and voice search are both located on the upper-left hand corner.

As previous reports indicated, Honeycomb has lots of room for app shortcuts and widgets. It also borrows from several 3rd-party Android-based Home apps that adds a cool 3D sliding effect when switching from one screen to another.

"A new property-based animation framework lets developers add great visual effects to their apps," said Ducrohet. " A built-in GL renderer lets developers request hardware-acceleration of common 2D rendering operations in their apps, across the entire app or only in specific activities or views. For adding rich 3D scenes, developers take advantage of a new 3D graphics engine called Renderscript."

Developer will discover other cool features including HTTP Live streaming support, a pluggable DRM framework, easy media file transfer through MTP/PTP, new APIs for Bluetooth A2DP and HSP, optimizations for both single- and dual-core CPUs, new themes, richer widgets and more.

"Note that applications developed with the Android 3.0 Platform Preview cannot be published on Android Market," Ducrohet added. "We’ll be releasing a final SDK in the weeks ahead that you can use to build and publish applications for Android 3.0."

Head here to download the SDK API Honeycomb Preview revision 1, Android SDK Tools revision 9 and more.