To prepare for the upcoming Honeycomb-powered tablet onslaught, here’s a quick once-over on the key features and unique propositions of Google’s latest edition of the Android operating system, designed for tablets instead of┬ásmart phones.

Home Screen

The home screen is where all the action is on your Android 3.0 tablet. The Honeycomb OS is similarly designed with five customizable home screens. To match its upgraded screen size and resolution, each home screen is a 7×8 grid, giving you sufficient space to park your favorite app shortcuts or widgets.

Apps

  • Arranging apps onto your home screen is very much like what you’ll be doing with the widgets. There are some minute differences though, so here’s what you need to look out for.
  • Press and hold your desired app. Doing so will prompt a thumbnail view of the home screen pages to surface. Similar to widgets, you can simply drag and drop the app into your selected page, or hover the app over the page for a few seconds to tuck it neatly into a specific grid on the page.

New to the Android 3.0 platform is an Uninstall option on the apps menu page. This is visible when you press and hold an app icon, which can be easily uninstalled by dragging it to the top right and dropping it onto the Uninstall icon.

Widgets

  • Much like its mobile counterpart, widgets and apps play a pivotal role on the Android 3.0 interface, giving you a quick overview and instant access to your favorite features. Add widgets and apps to your home screens with these simple steps: On the home screen, press and hold to bring up a list of widgets. Alternatively, press tine + icon on the top right corner of the home screen to bring up the widget list.
  • Press and hold your chosen widget, and pull it towards the page where you wish to place it.
  • You can choose to drop it straight onto the page, or hold the widget there for two seconds and allow the page to be zoomed in. Doing so will let you to place the widget onto a specific spot on the chosen page.
  • To rearrange your widgets, press and hold that particular widget on the page. You can move it onto another page by pulling it to the side. To remove the widget from the page, drag to the top right and drop onto the Remove icon.

Recent Apps

Bringing up recent apps on earlier Android versions requires you to press and hold the Home button. On Android 3.0, the recent apps function gets a dedicated shortcut situated at the bottom left. Clicking this will present your most recently used apps, with an accompanying thumbnail screenshot of the last state that app was in. While this is a representation of Android 3.0’s multi-tasking ability, it’s a little odd that only five of the most recent apps are displayed.

Interacting With Android 3.0

A system bar, which stretches across the lower portion of the screen, is perpetually available wherever you are, be it with in an app or on the home screen pages. Unlike its predecessors, the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 takes on a full touch-screen approach. This means you won’t see any physical buttons for the home, back or menu shortcuts. These functions are now part of the on screen interface, which is located at the bottom left.

 

Android Market

  • The Google Android Market gets a facelift to optimize the expanded screen size of its tablet companion. Featured apps are given a prominent placing at the upper half of the interface. Categories are also given a dedicated spot on the right, providing easy access to a filtered selection based on your needs.
  • As of now, most Android 3.0 tablets are powered by NVlDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2 processor. Apps that are optimized for the dual-core processor can be found via the NVIDIA Tegra Zone, which is an app downloadable on tine Android Market.

Did you know?

New apps that are downloaded via the Android Market on Android 3.0 are automatically added to the home screen pages. You can deactivate this by going to My Apps and click on the Action Menu on the top right.

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