Proud owners of the Verizon Wireless branded Motorola Xoom will be treated to a fresh new build of Android Honeycomb, version 3.1. The news hit the Android community this morning at Google I/O in San Francisco, CA. We’ve reached out to Motorola’s UK team in hopes of tracking down our own release date, but it appears a time frame for the UK has not been established. In the meantime, let’s take a look at Android Honeycomb 3.1, shall we?
The first and arguably most needed improvements highlighting Android 3.1 begin with user interface (UI). New transitions, an optimized launcher animation, and changes to the color, positioning and text make the OS easier to use and navigate. Current Honeycomb users will notice (and appreciate) touching the Home Screen in the system bar now takes you to the home screen most recently used.
In terms of hardware support, Android Honeycomb 3.1 is focused on supporting USB devices. This means attaching keyboards, mice, game controllers and digital cameras is as easy as pie. Additionally, applications can step in and add USB support for almost any type of device — quite simply, the possibilities are endless.
The last major overhaul included in the new build is an updated web browser. Judging by our own experiences with the Motorola Xoom, the browser was certainly an area which needed a bit of polish and finesse. The Quick Controls UI (seen above) has been extended and redesigned to show thumbnails of open tabs. There’s also an overflow menu for instant access to settings and other controls. Hardware accelerated rendering for plugins is now standard, page zoom performance is improved and support for CSS 3D, animations and CSS fixed positioning is in tow.
Although it didn’t make our highlight real, the updated includes the Google Movies app we highlighted earlier today. For any Verizon Wireless Motorola Xoom owners in attendance, please let us know if/when you receive your update, we’d love to hear from you.
Coming Soon | Google | Free