Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) issued its Android 3.2 operating system update and corresponding SDK tools, describing the release as "incremental" but still promising a series of new capabilities for developers and consumers alike. Android 3.2 touts multiple optimizations to ensure user experience improvements across a wider range of Android tablets--enhancements include the new zoom compatibility mode designed to improve fixed-sized apps on large-screen devices, first announced last week via Google's Android Developers Blog. The new mode offers a pixel-scaled alternative to the standard UI stretching for apps that aren't designed to run on larger form-factor devices and is accessible to users from a menu icon in the system bar.
Developer enhancements in Android 3.2 are highlighted by an extended screen support API giving programmers additional controls to manage application UI across the Android device range. The API includes new resource qualifiers and new manifest attributes enabling more precise control over how apps are displayed at different sizes instead of depending on generalized size categories. "When designing an application's UI, you can still rely on the platform to provide density abstraction, which means that applications do not need to compensate for the differences in actual pixel density across devices," state the Android 3.2 Version Notes. "You can design the application UI according to the amount of horizontal or vertical space available. The platform expresses the amount of space available using three new characteristics: smallestWidth, width and height."
Android 3.2 also fully enables SD card slots and touts optimizations for seven-inch designs as well as support for Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) chips like the dual-core Snapdragon processor powering Huawei's MediaPad. The Android 3.2 rollout began late last week--the update initially targets Motorola's Xoom tablet, but will expand to other large-screen devices in the near future.
- read this Android Developers Blog entry
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