Google Honeycomb Powered Tablet is Here with SDK Tools

By Ashok Bindra February 24, 2011

The much anticipated Google Android 3.0, dubbed Honeycomb, tablets are finally here along with the software development kit (SDK). This is the first in a wave of Android Honeycomb powered tablets to come this year.

According to Google, the full SDK for Android 3.0 is now available to developers. The APIs are final, and you can now develop apps targeting this new platform and publish them to Android Market, said a Google blog post. The new API level is 11, according to the blogger.

The Android 3.0 operating system based Motorola Xoom tablets, which were announced early last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, are now available from Verizon Wireless for $600 with a two-year contract. Without a contract, Xoom costs $800. According to Verizon Wireless, Motorola Xoom tablet will be upgradeable to 4G LTE service at no additional cost to subscribers in the second quarter.

Motorola said the Android 3.0-based Xoom is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and comes with a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display. Plus, it offers a 2-megapixel camera for video chats, as well as a rear facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD. Other features include a microUSB port and an HDMI video port.

The new tablet development environment differs from the earlier phone version. An Android developer’s blog on Wednesday posted an explanation that highlights the difference between the new Android 3.0 platform and the older phone version.

Here, the blogger Tim Bray wrote, “The new environment is different from what we’re used to in two respects. First, you can hold the devices with any of the four sides up and Honeycomb manages the rotation properly. In previous versions, often only two of the four orientations were supported, and there are apps out there that relied on this in ways that will break them on Honeycomb. If you want to stay out of rotation trouble, One Screen Turn Deserves Another covers the issues.

He added, “The second big difference doesn’t have anything to do with software; it’s that a lot of people are going to hold these things horizontal (in “landscape mode”) nearly all the time. We’ve seen a few apps that have a buggy assumption that they’re starting out in portrait mode, and others that lock certain screens into portrait or landscape but really shouldn’t.”

The new updates for SDK kit include:

  • UI Builder improvements in the ADT Plugin;
  • Traceview integration for easier profiling from ADT;
  • Tools for using the Renderscript graphics engine: the SDK tool now compiles .rs  files into Java Programming Language files and native bytecode.

Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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