This has been a pretty amazing week for Android. The demonstration of the new tablet optimized OS named Honeycomb and the launch of the new online Marketplace were very cool.
Honeycomb is incorporating some really nice elements such as an Action Bar. It will change depending on what application your in and then specific application settings will appear. The new Honeycomb multitasking looks amazing where instead of getting an icon for recent application, you are also given a visual state of the application you left in. The redesigned keyboard and and text editing look great as well. There is a new animation framework as well as hardware acceleration and new connectivity options.
The initial release of Honeycomb will be for tablets only and unlike iOS looks like will require maintenance of a separate code base much like Flex developers do now for AIR. Of course, we all know all kinds of tricks in Eclipse that make this easier.
In terms of the online experience, Google definitely has leapfrogged over Apple; I love the way I can pick an application and have it delivered over the air to any of my myriad of Android devices without having to connect via a USB cable. I also think they have done a nice job of organizing the marketplace which goes a long way towards reducing some of the chaos inherent in the marketplace.
It seems clear that open will win. This week also saw the news that Android has become the #1 smart phone operating system and that Android has grabbed 22% of the Tablet market from Apple. This last statistic is amazing considering that the current crop of Android Tablets, which is really only the Galaxy Tab, run Froyo which Google itself has stated is not optimized for tablets. There is some question on whether that 22% number is accurate, concerning how many tablets Samsung actually sold versus shipped but even if the number is half that, I am pretty impressed. Remember 85 new Android tablets were announced at CES and almost none are currently available.
Looking forward to seeing the announcements out of the Mobile World Congress next week.