SAN JOSE, Calif. – Google has updated Honeycomb, the version of Android for tablets, to better accommodated smartphone apps and bridge differences among the variety of displays mobile devices use.
Android 3.2 provides a new zoom feature to let users expand the size of a smartphone app on a tablet display. The new version also gives developers tools to better manage how their apps look on tablets that typically range from small devices with 480 x 800 pixel resolutions to 10-inch displays supporting 800 x 1280 pixels.
In addition, Android 3.2 now supports 213 dots per inch resolutions for 720-progressive high definition TV displays. It also lets apps access media directly from SD cards, a feature which could drive the attach rates of SD readers.
Motorola is reportedly already offering Android 3.2 upgrades for its Xoom tablets on a limited basis. Huawei announced it will support Android 3.2 on a seven-inch tablet it has yet to ship. Acer, Asus, Samsung and Toshiba are also said to be testing the software.
The new release, aimed at app developers, is available as a download for software developers and includes libraries, a system image and emulators.
Google said it will not release an open source version for OEMs of Android for tablets until the fourth quarter. The so-called Ice Cream Sandwich release will merge what are today separate code bases for smartphones, tablets and Google TV systems.
OEMs complained earlier this year that Google is only sharing the Android tablet software with a select number of OEMs in an effort to control the quality of the user experience in shipping devices.
The new release brings to ten the number of versions of Android Google has shipped in less than three years. At Google I/O in May, the company announced an alliance of more than a dozen partners that will define a standard plan for upgrading Android devices in the field to help users keep pace with Google's fast release cycles.