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Android 3.2 rolls out to the Xoom, adds SD support

Jul 13, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Android 3.2 has begun rolling out to selected tablets, starting with the Wi-Fi only Motorola Xoom, bringing support for seven-inch displays and native hardware support for SD cards, says an industry report. Android 3.2, the source code of which has been partially released, also features an automatic zoom-to-fit resizing feature tipped by Google earlier this week.

Several reports, including one from AndroidCommunity and a story in DroidLife, say that Android 3.2 is now pushing out to the Wi-Fi only version of the Motorola Xoom (pictured at right) in the U.S. Labeled with an "HTJ85B" build code, the update is "sweeping across the nation in no pattern whatsoever," writes AndroidCommunity's Chris Burns. Both reports say the release offers support for seven-inch tablets, hardware SD storage support, as well as new app resizing features (see farther below).

Android 3.2 update screen on Xoom
Source: DroidLife

As DroidLife points out, Google has released some of the GPL source code for Android 3.2 as well. Back in March, full source code release for Honeycomb builds was said to be postponed indefinitely.

Closely following Android 3.1, which repaired bugs and added USB features, among other enhancements, the Android 3.2 version of the tablet-oriented "Honeycomb" line was outed last month by Huawei CMO Victor Xu when the company announced its seven-inch MediaPad (pictured at right). Android 3.2 is optimized for seven-inch tablets, as well as larger models, said Xu at the time.

ThisIsMyNext followed up last month on the Huawei tip with a report claiming that Android 3.2 would indeed run on a range of tablets, including seven-inch models. The report said the release would appear first on the Tegra 2-based Xoom, but it would be optimized for the dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon found on the MediaPad, as well as some other Android 2.x tablets such as the HTC Flyer. Android 3.2 would also "offer some bug fixes and improved hardware acceleration, as well as updates to Movie Studio, Movies, Music and widgets," said the story.

The Wi-Fi- only version of the Xoom is indeed the first tablet to receive Android 3.2, confirmed Android Community, and it's happening now. The first seven-inch tablets are expected to receive Android 3.2 in August, according to the earlier ThisIsMyNext report.

While it's unclear when 3G Xoom users will get the update, some will be cheered to know that the 4G LTE version of the Xoom has just been approved by the FCC, according to Ubergizmo. The technology will also be available to 3G Xoom users on Verizon who send in their tablets to Motorola for an upgrade. No availability on the 4G release is currently available, however.

SD card page on 3.2-updated Xoom Android 3.2 update
Source: DroidLife

According to a second DroidLife report, which published the Xoom image shown above, Android 3.2 also adds native hardware support for SD cards, presumably including the smaller microSD slots that feature in most Honeycomb tablets.

The technology had not been supported in Honeycomb unless the vendors have added their own SD support code, as did Toshiba with its new, Android 3.1-powered Thrive tablet. The Xoom's microSD slot, it seems, is finally ready to be put to use for expansion.

Stretch and zoom to fit

Earlier this week, a blog posting by Google's Scott Main appeared on the Android Developers site describing a new app-resizing feature that would appear on "a near-future release of Honeycomb." As was widely expected, the new feature appears on Android 3.2, according to AndroidCommunity and others.

As Main describes it, any non-Honeycomb app will include a button in the system bar that lets users select between two viewing modes on large-screen devices (see Google's image at right). The "stretch to fill screen" mode is a straightforward layout resize already used by many apps to enable Honeycomb usage, or as Main puts it "using your app's alternative resources for size and density." However, it has a habit of stretching "in odd ways" and can disrupt layouts," he adds.

3.2-enabled Xoom zooms in using new "zoom to fill screen" option…
Source: DroidLife

The new "zoom to fill screen" option does not stretch the display, but uses standard size and resolution, albeit increased 200 percent, writes Main. The app is configured to run in a window mode rather than fullscreen, he adds. Two DroidLife images, shown above and below, demonstrate the technique.

…and then zooms out again
Source: DroidLife

The effect of the zoom feature is that "everything is bigger, but also more pixilated," writes Main. Indeed, the solution appears to be something of a gap-filler until this fall's "Ice Cream Sandwich," which Google says will unify the Android 2.x and Android 3.x forks. Many expect this unifying release to be called Android 4.0.

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