Google has released the software developer kit for Android 3.2, which means you can now download and install the SDK and take the latest version of the Android operating system for a spin in an emulator. But it also means that we now know exactly what’s new in Android 3.2.

Support for more screen sizes

As expected, the key difference between Android 3.2 Honeycomb and Google Android 3.1 is support for tablets with different display sizes and screen resolutions. Every Honeycomb tablet currently on the market has a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display. The new operating system will allow device makers to load Honeycomb onto 7 inch devices with 1024 x 600 pixel displays. It also looks like the door may be open to other screen sizes and resolutions as well.

Zoom to fill screen

While Android 3.2 will run on multiple screen sizes, some apps available in the Android Market weren’t really designed for large displays. Google’s tablet operating system has typically dealt with these fixed-size apps by stretching them to fill the screen, but that doesn’t always work properly. Now the operating system will offer users a choice to “zoom” to fill the screen instead, which will cause these apps to fill your whole screen. Some content might look pixelated when you zoom in, but it’s better than looking at an app that only fills a tiny portion of your 10 inch tablet screen.

SD card media synchronization

Applications that can read the media directory on an Android tablet can now also automatically detect data stored on an SD card.

Hardware feature constants

Developers can set hardware requirements for their apps so that the Android Market can easily detect whether an app is compatible with a users’ software and hardware.

The platform also now lets developers specify if an app requires landscape or portrait orientation to work properly or if it uses both. That way if you have an Android device that doesn’t rotate, you won’t be able to install an app that requires you change your device’s orientation.

Google Android 3.2 also includes a few other changes aimed primarily at developers. For instance, there’s a new tvdpi setting for apps designed to run on 720p television sets, and some small changes to the USB framework, network, and telephony tools.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...