Google expanded the Android Honeycomb APIs in order to help the 3d party developers in designing their applications work better on the greater form factors. These applications will be running older versions of Android; it means that only applications which are compatible with Android 1.6 or higher may tap into fragments to develop applications that operate on larger-screened devices for instance tablets.
While Android has been gaining more popularity for the recent years among tablet and handset makers, the principal discontent concerning the OS has been its fragmented nature. As to this point, approximately 57.6% of Android devices are operating 2.2 version, following by 31.4% on version 2.1. And according to Android Developers site about 6.3% are still running on Android version 1.6.
So to address this, at the beginning of February, Google introduced the Android Fragments API as a part of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Moreover Android 3.0 assists applications to adjust their interfaces with the help of a new class called Fragment, as said a Google software engineer Dianne Hackbom. A fragment means a self-contained component along with its own lifecycle and UI. It can be easily reused in various parts of a user interface application according to the desired UI flow for a special device or screen. At the same time, nevertheless, the Fragment API was available only for Android 3.0 Honeycomb. But software engineer of Google acknowledged that the immediate necessity is apparently to develop applications that can be provided for existing phones and also introducing a perfected user interface on tablets. But Google managed a static library for older vesions of Android and this library is available now. It is available through SDK Updater in “Android Compatibility package”.
The most remarkable changes which the Android 3.0 SDK has revealed contain the new AndroidBar for applications to display the toolbar buttons, a standard menu button and the title.
Android 3.0 SDK preview presents an early look at several of the new features that are available for developers. ActionBar proved to be the one of the most notable changes in applications of Honeycomb. It replaces the title bar to the top of the screen and it is responsible for displaying the toolbar buttons for essential actions, a standard menu button which ensure access to supplementary actions. The other main new feature which possesses the Android 3.0 SDK is the fragment system that simplifies the process of creating applications with great number of panes and makes user interfaces more modular. It is possible for developers to use fragments to determine user interface parts which are united in lay-outs within an Activity. It has also been added drag-and-drop APIs by Google. In spite of the fact that this feature isn’t completely documented yet, there is an edifying example in API demo code of Google. Google has also attached richer clipboard APIs, an expansible DRM framework which will ameliorate the performance of user interface drawing of Android. Thanks to all these capabilities which attach value to the platform and will considerably help developers create more sophisticated and richer applications.
Thanks to this innovation that is especially modern against the fast growth in Android devices at the market. It is expected that the year 2011 is going to be the year of Android and in addition to smartphones the market will be inflated with the wave of tablets.