Google dazzles CES with Android Honeycomb preview

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


LAS VEGAS (CNNMoney) -- Google showed off a preview of its hotly awaited, tablet-optimized Android 3.0 -- nicknamed Honeycomb -- in a demo on Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Android-based tablets have been a big focus at the massive CES show this year, and companies including Motorola Mobility (MMI) and Toshiba had said they would wait to unleash their new tablets until Honeycomb was released.

The tablet-oriented Honeycomb is meant to improve upon previous Android iterations. In a blog post Thursday, Google highlighted features including a holographic user interface, home screen customization, desktop-like Web browsing and simpler multitasking.

Thursday's demo was led by Android developer Mike Cleron, who said Honeycomb development "focused on what people were already loving about Android." The demo took place on the Xoom, a new tablet that Motorola unveiled in a CES presentation on Wednesday.

Cleron showed off virtual controls at the bottom of the tablet's screen, rather than physical or touch buttons. He then launched into the user interface, including a native Gmail widget, a calendar widget and bookmarks.

The highlights of the presentation were, unsurprisingly, two native Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) apps: Talk and Maps.

"Android has always had great apps, but it's about a great communication tool as well," Cleron said as he showed off a video chat via Google Talk.

The audience "oohed" when Cleron used the recently released Google Maps 5.0, which rotates to show buildings and other landmarks in 3D. "Yeah, it's pretty awesome!" Cleron quipped after the audience's response.

The new update will feature several powerful Web browser updates, including tabbed browsing, form auto-fill, Google Chrome bookmarks sync, and an "incognito mode" for private browsing.

Cleron also showcased tablet-optimized versions of Google's e-book library -- which syncs to multiple devices, including the last page read -- and a flashy YouTube search screen.

Honeycomb will "bring a desktop experience" to tablet Web browsing, Cleron said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Google's Honeycomb demoer as VP of Engineering Andy Rubin. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,084.23 4.66 0.03%
Nasdaq 4,573.57 15.87 0.35%
S&P 500 2,000.85 4.11 0.21%
Treasuries 2.34 0.00 0.09%
Data as of 12:26pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.11 0.10 0.63%
Apple Inc 102.32 0.07 0.07%
Intel Corp 34.86 0.21 0.61%
Facebook Inc 74.66 0.80 1.08%
Kinder Morgan Inc 40.22 0.45 1.14%
Data as of 12:11pm ET

Sections

Russia's consumer watchdog agency is forcing McDonald's to close 12 outlets across the country over accusations of sanitary violations. More

The bad news: meat prices are up from last year. The good news: beverage prices aren't. More

Netflix told the FCC that its speed on the Comcast network became so slow that customers began dropping their service. More

Whether you've got wanderlust or an airline grievance, here are some apps to pack onto your phone. More

Five CNNMoney readers share stories about saving that you can learn from: What they would do differently if they had another chance. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.