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Android 3.2: Tablets Just Got Better, Here's What's New

Android 3.2 is an unexpected little update, especially with Ice Cream Sandwich coming later this year. But good on Google for making its less-than-amazing Android tablets a little bit better all the time until that major new hotness happens.

So! Here’s what’s new and better in Android 3.2, which is already rolling out to Motorola Xooms – other tablets will probably follow suit pretty shortlyish.

Zooming In

Android phones apps have, up to now, tended to squash and stretch themselves out to take advantage of all the disparate screen layouts you’ll find on tablets. It’s been a mess. With 3.2, that problem will be sort of rectified with the new zoom feature.

Think of how iPhone apps behaved on the iPad when it was first released. You had the option of choosing a 2x mode that scaled the app up the iPad’s screen. Low-res and none too attractive, but functional. It’s the same here. Apps that are known to struggle will, by default, have a button in the system bar that will allow users to toggle between “Stretch to fill screen”, which is the same stretching business the app would have normally done, and “Zoom to fill screen”, which will scale what you’re looking at to your screen.

It’s For Everyone

As far as 7-inch Android tablets are concerned, 3.2 will bring users closer to a real tablet experience. Real as in, where once you had an interface designed for 4-inch screens, now you have one that is suitable for tablet computing. Owners of the Xoom will, of course, be able to reap some benefits, but HTC Flyer users will finally be able to take advantage of the good things Honeycomb 3.1 brought with it. Before it might have felt like a a bad idea to try to get this app to run on that screen. Now it won’t.

It’s Just Better

The new Honeycomb can take on a multitude of screen sizes – including the new 7-inch Huawei MediaPad – as well as the new Qualcomm chips that will power tablets in the future. That’s important, especially when things were prone to breaking simply because you had the wrong screen size before. It’ll also feature bug fixes and hardware acceleration, proper SD Card support, and updates to Movie Studio, Movies, Music and widgets. [Android Developer Blog, This Is My Next]


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