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By 11 May 2011 | Categories: news

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Besides unveiling its new online Music service during the annual Google I/O developers conference, Google also revealed Android 3.1, which like Android 3.0 has also been codenamed Honeycomb.
 
The latest version of the search giant’s mobile operating system (OS) is build on the same tablet-optimised user interface (UI) and features available in Android 3.0, but also adds some new capabilities for both users and developers.
 
New features
 
Android 3.1 sports performance optimisations that assist in making applications run faster, but also boasts some other new functionality including:
  • Resizable home-screen widgets - Developers are now able to create home-screen widgets that users can resize horizontally and vertically. This means users have a more customisable widget layout and can now display more widgets on their home-screens.
  • Media Transfer Protocol API – Developers can write apps that interact directly with connected cameras.
  • Real-time Transport Protocol API for audio - Android 3.1 applications can directly manage on-demand or interactive data streaming, the likes of VOIP, push-to-talk, conferencing, as well as audio streaming. These can use the API to initiate sessions and transmit or receive data streams over any available network.
  • Open Accessory API - This new API provides a way for Android applications to integrate and interact with a wide range of accessories including musical equipment, exercise equipment and robotics systems.
  • USB host API - Applications can now manage connected USB peripherals such as audio devices, input devices and communications devices.
  • Android 3.1 supports a variety of new input sources and motion-based devices for example mice, trackballs, joysticks and gamepads.
  • Enhanced Gallery - The Gallery app now supports Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), so that users can connect their cameras over USB and import their photos to the Gallery.
The search giant then went on to reveal some figures concerning its Android mobile OS. It stated that there are now more than 100 million activated Android devices, with 400 000 new Android devices being activated daily. The Android Market now houses north of 200 000 free- and paid applications, whilst over 4.5 billion applications have been installed via the Android Market. 
 
Google also confirmed that the next iteration of Android will indeed be known as Ice Cream Sandwich. The company stated that its aim with Ice Cream Sandwich is to provide users with a single OS, which works on any device, unlike the current setup with Honeycomb running on tablet PCs and Gingerbread (Android 2.3) powering smartphones.  
 
“Ice Cream Sandwich will bring everything you love about Honeycomb on your tablet to your phone, including the holographic user interface, more multitasking, the new launcher and richer widgets,” said Hugo Barra, product management director for Android.

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