Archive for February 22nd, 2011
Google have released the final version of Android 3.0 with a major UI redesign for tablets. A host of features have been added to the platform to enhance the end User experience.
What are the major changes?
The new UI brings fresh paradigms for interaction, navigation, and customization and makes them available to all applications — even those built for earlier versions of the platform. Applications written for Android 3.0 are able to use an extended set of UI objects, powerful graphics, and media capabilities to engage users in new ways.
Multitasking allows users to swap between apps that are running on a device. This has been possible in the past but this new feature allows you to see the last view state of the application that you were running.
Multitasking is a key strength of Android and it is central to the Android 3.0 experience. As users launch applications to handle various tasks, they can use the Recent Apps list in the System Bar to see the tasks underway and quickly jump from one application context to another.
3.0 allows developers to break an activity up into subcomponents called Fragments. They can then be combined in various ways. This will allow developers to show subset of fragments on a smaller screen while showing the full bells and whistle version on a large screen like a tablet.
For example, an application can use a set of Fragments to create a true multipane UI, with the user being able to interact with each pane independently. Fragments can be added, removed, replaced, and animated inside an Activity dynamically, and they are modular and reusable across multiple Activities.
As you would expect, widgets have been redesigned for use on large screens. They are also a lot more interactive. The home screen widgets allow you to flip through content like 3D stacks, grids and lists.
Several new widget types are available, including a 3D stack, search box, a date/time picker, number picker, calendar, popup menu, and others. Most of the redesigned UI widgets can now be used as remote views in application widgets displayed on the home screen. Applications written for earlier versions can inherit the new Widget designs and themes.
New Animation framework
Developers can animate the properties of UI elements such as Views, Widgets, Fragments, Drawables, or any arbitrary object. Some of the animations available are fades or movement between states, loop an animated image or an existing animation, change colors, and much more.
Adding animation to UI elements can add visual interest to an application and refine the user experience, to keep users engaged.
I have only touched on some of the new features of Android 3.0 but check out the full highlights here. As well as the Android 3.0 Google, have also released a new version of the ADT Eclipse plugin. I have not touched it here as I intend to followup with a seperate post on the new feature. You can find out more on ADT here.
Android 3.0 signifies a major milestone in Androids history. It is be the most interactive version yet and will really enhance the tablet experience and well as the experience on smaller devices. Developers will be able to develop apps that look just as well on a Nexus as a XOOM without looking like you just increased the resolution on all your graphics. I will post a few more updates on the new feature once I have time to play with them.
Now all I need is a Xoom so I can test all of these features for myself….