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Google: How Honeycomb apps will work on phones running Ice Cream Sandwich

Not wanting to sound like we’re stating the obvious but we kind of expected that Ice Cream Sandwich – the One Android OS To Rule Them All – would allow this.

All the same, its great to actually get a few morsels of Ice Cream Sandwich from Google ahead of the SDK release.

In a post over on the Android Developer’s Blog, Google’s Tim Bray says that Ice Cream Sandwich will: “support big screens, small screens, and everything in between. This is the way Android will stay from now on: the same version runs on all screen sizes.”

The post is mainly concerned with how developers can best optimise Honeycomb apps to work for ICS-running phones going forwards and what you’d need to do to support smaller devices with smaller screens.

But the couple of guide images posted gives the rest of us an idea of how an app that’s optimised for both phones and tablets could look in a post-Ice Cream Sandwich world.

Honeycomb apps which feature ‘multi-pane layouts’ (a good example of which would be Gmail for Honeycomb) would see their panes split across screens on phones, with the tablets giving you a fuller picture.

It’s also interesting to see how the settings menus and drop downs could be mapped differently, in the second image. At the moment, it’s not too different from how things look now on device running stock Android at least.

Note that the posts says that this is how ICS “might adapt an app’s action bar”, and so it’s not a blueprint that’s to be strictly adhered to.

So, no screenshots of the new Ice Cream Sandwich UI here, but a small glimpse of how things could pan out, straight from the horse’s mouth.


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