A new tablet PC, the Motorola Xoom, is designed to be released tomorrow. And one of the Xoom’s larger appeals is that it is optimized to enable the Android 3.0 OS (which is otherwise known as Honeycomb).
For software developers on the app production train, this is a pretty big deal.
And now it will mean even more, thanks to a new SDK put out by Google – just in time for the new tablets.
Xavier Ducrohet,the Android SDK tech lead, blogged about the new developer kit release. He said, "The APIs are final, and you can now develop apps targeting this new platform and publish them to Android Market.”
In addition to this new release, Google has tweaked its SDK Tools (r10) and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (10.0.0).
In particular, the new Plugin will offer several features meant to enhance the UI Builder, such as: a new palette with categories and rendering previews, more accurate layout rendering and layout replication, more ways to manipulate view properties, improvements to the zoom functions and overall improved layout functionality.
The Plugin will also touch on other areas relevant to Android developers, including Traceview integration and Renderscript graphics engine tools (“the SDK tools now compiles .rs files into Java Programming Language files and native bytecode.”)
Honeycomb’s release was much-hyped in the tech press, and its release has implications for where the Android market is headed. By making life easier on programmers, more of the tablet PC and general mobile market can be rested back away from Apple.
Because most individuals want apps and they will go where the good apps are (and they’ll buy the platforms on which they’re best hosted). Increasingly, this seems to be a battle between the iPad and the "other" tablet PCs.
The gamer market is an increasingly prevalent sector when companies are designing their new products and software, and thus remains true with Honeycomb.
In a hands-on review compiled by PC Magazine’sMark Hachman, Hachman recognizes the possibilities. He said, “…the combination of the Xoom and Honeycomb lends itself to games in a big way. I spoke to two developers that told me that the iPad can't even come close to the hardware horsepower the Xoom offers with Honeycomb's new 3D rendering technology, allowing them to port 3D and PC games over to the mobile platform. If that continues to be the case, Honeycomb may easily overtake the iPad as a mobile gaming platform. Tapping into the Xoom's horsepower on top of Honeycomb will allow apps to pop, and that's a good thing.”
This is a good thing. Let’s hope Google continues with its innovative and game-changing product releases.