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18 July 2011, 11:08

Version 3.2 of Android for tablets released

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Android SDK tech lead Xavier Ducrohet has announced that the Android Platform 3.2 mobile operating system has been released. The developers have made the corresponding SDK (Software Development Kit), including an emulator, available to download.

Like its series 3 predecessors, the operating system that is mainly developed by Google has been optimised for tablet PCs. Among the improvements listed by Ducrohet, for both developers and users, is a new screen compatibility mode for resizing apps that were programmed for small screen resolutions; this is intended to improve the appearance of smartphone apps which could previously be zoomed only with limited success on tablet PCs.

The "Media sync from SD card" feature allows applications to directly access multimedia files that are stored on SD memory cards; however, not all Android tablets offer a suitable card reader. The developers say that they have also enhanced the hardware support to make the new version work better, and on more tablets, than before. Further support details are difficult to find, but the release notes clearly indicate that support for tablets with 7-inch displays has been improved significantly.

Changes to the programming interfaces have raised the new version's API level to 13. The "Extended screen support API" gives developers more control over how their apps will be displayed, for instance, in order to optimise the output for different screen sizes. Other changes improve the way apps are displayed on 720p screens.

The Android 3.2 documentation offers further information. Time will tell whether the tablet vendors will deploy the new version as an update; however, Motorola has reportedly already started updating in the US. Several manufacturers have, for some time, been working on tablets that use the new version: Huawei presented a 7-inch tablet with Android 3.2 four weeks ago.


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