Why is this news so exciting? Because it means that the Android 3.0 APIs (application programming interfaces) are now final. Or, more simply put, it means that Honeycomb-ready Android applications can now be published to the Android Market.
According to the news from the official Android Developers blog, the release includes updates to the SDK Tools and ADT Plugin for Eclipse, specifically. The highlights here are:
- UI Builder improvements in the ADT Plugin:
- New Palette with categories and rendering previews. (details)
- More accurate rendering of layouts to more faithfully reflect how the layout will look on devices, including rendering status and title bars to more accurately reflect screen space actually available to applications.
- Selection-sensitive action bars to manipulate View properties.
- Zoom improvements (fit to view, persistent scale, keyboard access) (details).
- Improved support for <merge> layouts, as well as layouts with gesture overlays.
- Traceview integration for easier profiling from ADT. (details)
- Tools for using the Renderscript graphics engine: the SDK tools now compiles .rs files into Java Programming Language files and native bytecode.
More information on this release is available via the Android Developers site.
Although you have to run Honeycomb on your device in order to take advantage of the new Android 3.0 apps, there are already some interesting hacks out there that are seeing Honeycomb ported to non-tablet, non-3.0 mobile phones. For example, here's a Honeycomb port to the Nexus One, courtesy of the XDA Developers, of course.