Google previews Honeycomb features

The upcoming Android version is designed for tablets

Google showed off the first preview of features in Honeycomb, its upcoming version of Android designed for tablets, during a keynote speech Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"We wanted our tablet experience to be better, not just bigger," said Mike Cleron, principal software engineer for Google.

Honeycomb requires no physical buttons on a tablet. Instead, it displays buttons on the screen. The advantage to that design is that the buttons appear on the bottom of the screen no matter which way the user is holding the tablet.

Cleron showed off the way that widgets work in Honeycomb, saying that they are more powerful. A Gmail widget let him scroll through e-mail messages quickly from the home screen. A calendar widget works similarly.

Honeycomb also allows for widgets for individual contacts. That means a user can pin a widget to the home screen for a friend and see updates about that person appear automatically. The feature is reminiscent of the tiles that Microsoft features on Windows Phone 7 which allows users to create a tile for a person that updates with recent information about the person.

"It shows you want you can do with an OS designed from the ground up for multitasking," Cleron said.

Gmail has been completely redesigned for tablets with Honeycomb. It displays columns with the left one listing folders, the middle a list of contacts and the right column showing recent messages.

Cleron also showed off Google Maps 5.0 with new features that were recently added. The audience sounded impressed with the feature that lets a user drag two fingers on the screen to tilt the map and show drawings of buildings.

Honeycomb receives notifications of new messages but includes a bit more data than in previous Android versions. For instance when a user receives an email, the notification that pops up includes a small phone of the person who sent the message.

Cleron said there's a video preview of Honeycomb up on Youtube.

The tablet he displayed had a front-facing camera that allowed him to show off a video call using Google Talk.

Motorola is one hardware maker that has announced a tablet, the Xoom, based on Honeycomb at CES.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags CESGooglehardware systemssoftwaretablet PCslaptopsoperating systems

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?