On May 10, 2011, Google finally announced the much-awaited Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system at its annual I/O developers' conference. A hybrid of the previous Android operating systems - Gingerbread and Honeycomb, the Ice Cream Sandwich is expected to bring in a range of features - which were restricted to Android tablets all this while, to Android smartphones. That does explain why it is considered to be a revolutionary operating system in the Android line. Amidst all the excitement, many people missed out on the fact that Google also released an update to its existing Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system in the form of Android 3.1 update.
Android 3.1 Update Features
As with the original platform Android 3.0, even Android 3.1 has been developed specifically for tablet PCs. However, the difference is that it has a whole lot of refined features on the basis of which it boasts of being better than the former version. Some of the quite obvious tweaks in the user interface (UI) hint at the fact that it has become quite efficient now.
Navigation is easier and the ability to resize the Home Screen widgets using drag bars also makes things a lot easier than they were before. The Recent Apps list is now expandable which allows you to scroll vertically through the list to check which are the tasks in progress and which apps were used recently. Furthermore, a mere touch to the thumbnail of a particular task and you are back to the task within fractions of a second.
The USB-connected peripherals and accessories support is by far the best thing about Android 3.1 update as it makes it possible for the users to attach input devices like keyboard and mouse, external hard drives, digital cameras, etc. to their Android tablet. In a bid to make this Android platform better for gaming, USB or Bluetooth HID support for PC joysticks and gamepads has been provided in this update.
At the same time, the newly introduced Wi-Fi features make sure that you make the most of the Wi-Fi networks available. Thanks to the Wi-Fi lock - yet another of those amazing Android 3.1 features, now it is possible to maintain high-performance Wi-Fi connections even when the screen of your device is off.
Updated apps like the gallery app - which allows users to connect their digital cameras to the device through USB and import pictures directly to the gallery, or the browser app - which makes Internet surfing faster and convenient, also add to the overall experience. Other tweaks include a small indicator which helps you turn notifications on with a simple tap, quick controls which help you do a lot beyond mere navigation, contact searching which takes into consideration notes as well as email addresses, etc. Going by these Android 3.1 platform highlights, you can't help, but realize that it is no doubt an improvised variant of the Android Honeycomb OS - something which is all set to make the use of tablet PCs a smooth sail.
While Android 3.1 has made its debut with Motorola Xoom just like Android 3.0, you will get to see the same in Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in a few weeks from now. At the same time, rumors suggest that this update will be made available for appliances like Google TV later this year. If you have used the new Motorola Xoom unit with Android 3.1, we don't need to tell you that the same is a lot faster than the units with 3.0 Honeycomb. If you haven't used it yet, now is the time.