Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' to rely on input gestures, designer says

The OS will be used on a variety of mobile devices, not just tablets

Google has big plans for its Android 3.0 OS, code-named "Honeycomb," including its use in a variety of mobile devices, not just tablets, that are driven by gestures without hardware or even soft buttons.

Those details about Honeycomb came from top Honeycomb designer Matias Duarte in an interview at All Things Digital.

Google will undoubtedly unveil some of its vision for Honeycomb at a Wednesday event in Mountain View, Calif. Computerworld blogger JR Raphael noted that the Motorola Xoom running Honeycomb will probably be demonstrated. Another possibility: a demo of Honeycomb on a smartphone.

According to Duarte, Honeycomb supports various devices of differing designs, since it no longer relies on physical hardware buttons for input. Some of those devices might look like a laptop, but others won't have even have hardware or soft buttons, he said in the interview posted today. They "might be purely gesturally driven," Duarte said in the interview, adding that hardware makers may well create designs beyond what Google expects.

Future creations could mean Android running on a refrigerator or used to run a table-top computer similar to Microsoft's Surface. "I can imagine that," Duarte said, stressing the flexibility Honeycomb allows developers and designers.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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