Google Officially Introduces Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), Tailors It For Tablet Use

Well, it's not like Google had an awful lot to hide, but at least it's official now. The world has been wondering what exactly the future of Android would hold, and with Mobile World Congress around the corner, everyone was expecting an announcement by mid-February at the latest. Turns out Google let us in on a secret earlier than expected, by holding their own Android Event today on the West Coast. Honeycomb was officially announced today, and while some have wondered if Android 2.4 would be Honeycomb, it's now confirmed that Android 3.0 will be the version to hold that label.

The new version of the operating system was introduced alongside of the new Android Market Website, which also opened up today. Android 3.0 has been "completely redesigned," with interactive notifications and widgets, improved multi-tasking, and the latest and greatest Google Mobile services optimized for tablets. That's an important clarification. There had been rumors for some time now that Android 3.0 would be tailored for tablets, and that is indeed the case. This also is important for potential tablet buyers; if you're in the market for an Android 2.2 tablet (like the Galaxy Tab), we'd now recommend holding off until Honeycomb takes the stage. Tablets aren't cheap, and you'd probably rather have one with a version of Android that is specifically built to work well on larger, touch-based displays.

Google also took the opportunity to showcase 17 beta apps for Honeycomb, including software from Quickoffice, TouchType, Time Magazine, Zynga, Weatherbug and Google Body. The company is promising more details at MWC later this month in Spain, and hopefully a whole slew of Android 3.0 devices will be there on display. The future of Android has arrived; now, will Apple raise the ante once more if/when they introduce a new iPhone this summer? Got to love that competition!