Last weekend, Google's Android team officially introduced the long awaited Android 3.2/Honeycomb update. And while it is announced and sounds like an incremental update only, it's somewhat important since it adds several new capabilities for users, device manufacturers and developers. Most importantly, Android 3.2 adds optimization and support for a wider range of tablets and includes a variety of refinements across the system to ensure a great user experience on a wider range of tablet devices. This means also that Honeycomb finally supports 7" tablets like the HTC Flyer or the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Other enhancements include compatibility zoom for fixed-sized apps which gives users a new way to view these apps on larger devices. The mode provides a pixel-scaled alternative to the standard UI stretching, for apps that are not designed to run on larger screen sizes. Also new is media sync from the device's SD card on devices that support a removable SD card. Users can now load media files directly from the SD card to apps that use them.
The Extended screen support API is something for developers who want more precise control over their UI across the range of Android-powered devices. The platform's screen support API is extended with new resource qualifiers and manifest attributes, to also allow targeting screens by their dimensions.
In additon to making Android 3.2 available to device manufactures which can now build ROM updates for their existing and upcoming tablets, Google has also updated its SDK for developers which can now start to develop Android 3.2 optimized versions of their apps.
Cheers ~ Arne