Despite the red ribbon being cut on the brand spanking new Android Market website, the main focus of today’s Google event was talking about Android 3.0 and how awesome it is.
Google’s Andy Rubin opened proceedings, before handing over to Hugo Barra, who gave us a hands on demo of Honeycomb’s finer points.
As well as things we’ve seen already such as the two new status bars and a new camera app, we’ve seen some other nice things too, like videocalling, a new CNN app and a couple of games that hint further at the shape of Android to come.
In case you didn’t catch the live streaming of the conference, you can feast your eyes on the screengrabs, which we dutifully took for your viewing pleasure.
Settings like brightness, Wi-Fi toggle and the like can be controlled via a handy control panel which pops up when needed and slides discreetly out of the way when you’re done with it. Hardly revolutionary but it saves you from having to sacrifice screen space with a dedicated widget, like you do on current Android phones.
The twin panels set up of the new email client. Here, an email is being dragged from the main inbox to a relevant folder; a neater and altogether more fluid way of doing things.
When you want to customise homepages, you dip in and out of this sub menu. From here you can add stuff like widgets, shortcuts and wallpapers.
The new-look YouTube app, showing off its carousel of video panels. It looks nice, but it’s a shame we didn’t get to see things like shooting and uploading videos in action from a tablet. Speaking of which…
A shot of CNN’s new app, developed specifically for Android tablets, in action. Of particular interest are the two large video and camera controls on the left, which allow you to directly upload your own pictures and video to CNN’s iReport stream. We were impressed by this and wonder if the BBC would consider making a similar app. It could take Have Your Say to a whole new level.
This is a snapshot of Google Body running on a Xoom. You might have heard of Google Body before, best described as being like Google Maps for the human anatomy. Great for self-diagnoses, or to tell if you’ve snapped your clavicle. A potential nightmare for hypochondriacs. Plus, is this going to this help House tell if it’s Lupus or not?
This is Monster Madness, the first of the two games shown off at the Android 3.0 event. Monster Madness is a hack and slash game which takes places over 5 different levels and features 4 levels of difficulty. There’s a Wi-Fi co-op mode as well, so you and a friend can take part in taking apart the living dead.
This is the History Channel’s Great Battles in action and the one that really caught our attention. This title apparently pushed the Xoom’s dual-cores to the max and we can see why. There’s loads going on here, a massive number of sprites, epic rolling battlefields and plenty of units. Thanks to the multitouch screen of the Xoom, you can issue orders to many units simultaneously. There was no mention of a wireless co-op mode for this baby, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed. Hey Sid Meier, can we have a version of Civ for Android tablets please?
Google was keen to talk about hardware accelerated graphics throughout the event. This will help power the 3D graphics of the two titles we’ve seen previously. But this will also allow for more mundane (but equally nice) things such as smooth page turning animations on Google Books.
Optical feedback alert! The new-look camera app in action, taking a nice picture of the adoring crowd. Note the Macbook in the foreground.
The first stages of videocalling in action. Here’s a nice picture of Hugo Barra’s face as he calls up Anand Agarawata.
Success! This is a built in feature of Android 3.0, so you don’t have to use Skype or Fring for videocalls (unless you want to of course).
A shot of the Android 3.0 music player. It’s head and shoulders above what we’ve seen on previous versions of Android, in terms of aesthetics at least.
Another pic of the new Android 3.0 music player. It’s hard not to draw comparisons between this an iTunes’ CoverFlow. But then again, Android 3.0 has this ‘carouselling’ feature running throughout it, from stacked widgets on homescreens, to the YouTube app, to this.