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Hands on: Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) review

With the tablet edition due out on loads of devices soon, we take a look at its new features

UPDATE: we’ve had our first tablet in, so read our full Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) review now.

With tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb just about to come out on a wide range of tablets we thought it was about time that we took a look at the new OS to see what it can offer. We’re using the Android SDK to run a virtual Android 3.0 system; actual tablets may differ slightly.

The first thing to notice about Android 3.0 is the soft-keys at the bottom of the Homescreen. These replace the physical buttons on Android smartphones, as it’s arguably harder to reach for a physical button on a larger tablet device.

It’s not the first time that we’ve seen softkeys in action, as the Advent Vega also had this; however, for the Vega the softkeys were an add-on and could disappear behind applications. With Android 3.0, these keys are built into the OS, meaning that you can always reach them. In most cases that means that they’re on screen, but for apps that can go full-screen, they can pop-up out of the bottom.

Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Homescreen

The Homescreen is largely similar to that on Android smartphones, with multiple screens that you can customise with shortcuts and widgets. Moving between homescreens is the same as on the smartphones, you just swipe your finger across the screen.

Alternatively, you can hit the Plus button at the top-right of the screen to bring down a thumbnail view of your available homescreens. This also gets you access to the library of Widgets and Applications, which you can drag onto your homescreen of choice. It’s not wildly different to the way that Android smartphones work, but it makes use of the larger, high resolution screens that tablets have.

Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) widgets

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