Google opens Android Web store, shows off tablet software


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.Google Inc.
took the wraps off its next-generation mobile operating system intended
to allow Android tablets to rival the graphics, services and features
of Apple Inc.’s iPad.

Google on
Wednesday also launched a new Web-based Android Market that lets users
buy apps on a desktop or laptop and install them on a phone or tablet
in a single action.

“We think it opens incredible opportunities for innovation in this new class of device,” said Hugo Barra,
a director of product management for Android, said of the version of
the mobile operating system built specifically for tablets, dubbed
“Honeycomb” by Google. “We can’t predict what the developer community is going to build” with it.

At a heavily attended announcement at Google’s Mountain View headquarters, Barra and other Google executives, including Android chief Andy Rubin, showed off new capabilities for the Android operating system — designed for tablets like Motorola’s Xoom — such as 3D “carousels” that allow users to scroll through books, music albums and other content stored on their devices.

Video chat — Google dialed up rapper and songwriter Cee-Lo on video chat to demonstrate the technology — also will be built into Honeycomb.

The new Web-based Android Market, which is now live at,
allows a user in a single action to buy an app from a laptop or desktop
computer and instantly install it on an Android device, such as a smart
phone or tablet computer. A user simply has to log on to the Android
Web store with a Google account to integrate with any existing Android phone or tablet.

Google did not
unveil a new tablet device, disappointing some in the audience of
nearly 100 journalists who attended the announcement. Google executives also declined to make any claims for the share of the market that Honeycomb can claim from Apple’s iPad.

“We don’t want to make any predictions,” Barra said.


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