Android fans desperate to see what Honeycomb looks like for themselves can now download the Android 3.0 preview code and SDK tools from Google.
The move means we are a step closer to the launch of the new Android OS on devices, as the download allows developers around the world to start experimenting with the new platform, seeing how it works, and what it is capable of.
So far, only Motorola has been demoing a working tablet with the operating system - other manufacturers are having to wait.
Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is a new version of the platform that is designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets.
“Today, we are releasing a preview of the Android 3.0 SDK, with non-final APIs and system image, to allow developers to start testing their existing applications on the tablet form-factor and begin getting familiar with the new UI patterns, APIs, and capabilities that will be available in Android 3.0.
It introduces a new 'holographic' UI theme and an interaction model that builds on the things people love about Android - multitasking, notifications, widgets, and others - and adds many new features as well,” says Xavier Ducrohet, Android SDK tech lead in a blog post on the Android Developers Forum.
As already previewed by Pocket-lint in a session with Google earlier in the month, the company has “double confirmed” some of the new features we can expect from tablets that use Honeycomb.
Highlights include support for larger screen devices, like the Motorola Xoom, that have a higher resolution (Android tablets have been limited to 7 inches previously) and support for dual-core processors.
Of course this isn’t the final SDK, says Google, with plenty more fixes and tweaks to come. It should, therefore, only be downloaded if you really want to have a look - early reports say that, like previous preview codes, it’s incredibly buggy and incredibly slow.
We expect to see plenty of Honeycomb action on tablets of all shapes and sizes at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month.