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Google's Android 3.0 for tablets, aka Honeycomb, is here

Google on Wednesday announced Android 3.0, also called Honeycomb, for tablets. The OS will power a number of tablets that have already been announced but are yet to ship, like Motorola's Xoom, LG's G-Slate and numerous tablets from companies like Asus and Dell.

The interface shows slight differences from Froyo, or Android 2.2. There's a toolbar at the bottom, while Froyo has a bar on the top. The frontpage interface can accomodate icons that will provide access to apps, Android Marketplace, or Web sites like Gmail. Stickies can also be posted on the front page, which can list e-mail in real time.

Google's vision is cloud integration in Android 3.0. The cloud's the central point where data resides, applications are accessed and data is shared. The data will reside more in the cloud, or the Internet.

The OS also includes a new navigation scheme for users to switch back and forth between multiple applications.

There is a new notification system as well -- tweets, for example, show up on the toolbar at the bottom. There's also an easier way for user to change settings.

Google also said it is providing a new animation framework for developers to build in graphics into applications. The OS has a new graphics rendering engine that enables 3D gaming.

A lot of features borrowed from the iOS as well -- video chat, news apps designed for the Android 3.0 devices. The OS is capable of multitasking, and a tablet with a powerful processor -- preferably an Arm-based dual-core chip -- would amp up the OS.

Where do tablets users get those applications? From Google's new Android Web store, which the company also announced today. It includes an interesting carousel-based interface to surf and search through apps.

But mind you, this is an OS developed specifically for tablets, which have larger screens. This means more pixels and more blocks to display images at better resolutions. There's more screen space to run applications, and the OS has been reworked so games and applications like Gmail take advantage of the real estate.

So when will you see Android 3.0 tablets? Motorola's Xoom, perhaps the most hyped device, comes with a screen sized around 10 inches, and is due later this month. LG's G-Slate also includes a 10-inch screen, a 3D camera, and is coming in March.

The details of Android 3.0 were spilled at a launch event, which is available as replay on Youtube. Check it out.