New user features for Android 3.1

Apps and OS


Android 3.1 is an incremental platform release that refines many of the features introduced in Android 3.0 and adds a variety of refinements to make the user interface more intuitive and more efficient to use and create powerful and engaging application experiences on tablets and other large-screen devices.

The platform also adds new support for USB accessories, when an accessory is attached, the framework will look for a corresponding application and offer to launch it for the user. Users can attach many types of input devices (keyboards, mice, game controllers) and digital cameras. Applications can build on the platform’s USB support to extend connectivity to almost any type of USB device.

For improved multitasking and instant visual access to a much larger number of apps, the Recent Apps list is now expandable. Users can now scroll the list of recent apps vertically to see thumbnail images all of the tasks in progress and recently used apps, then touch a thumbnail to jump back into that task.

Users can now attach almost any type of external keyboard or mouse to their Android-powered devices, to create a familiar environment and work more efficiently. One or more input devices can be attached to the system simultaneously over USB and/or Bluetooth HID, in any combination. No special configuration or driver is needed, in most cases. When multiple devices are connected, users can conveniently manage the active keyboard and IME using the keyboard settings that are available from the System bar.

For pointing devices, the platform supports most types of mouse with a single button and optionally a scroll wheel, as well as similar devices such as trackballs. When these are connected, users can interact with the UI using point, select, drag, scroll, hover, and other standard actions.

To make the platform even better for gaming, Android 3.1 adds support for most PC joysticks and gamepads that are connected over USB or Bluetooth HID.

For example, users can connect PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® game controllers over USB (but not Bluetooth), Logitech Dual Action™ gamepads and flight sticks, or a car racing controller. Game controllers that use proprietary networking or pairing are not supported by default, but in general, the platform supports most PC-connectible joysticks and gamepads.

Android 3.1 adds robust Wi-Fi features, to make sure that users and their apps can take full advantage of higher-speed Wi-Fi access at home, at work, and while away.

A new high-performance Wi-Fi lock lets applications maintain high-performance Wi-Fi connections even when the device screen is off. Users can take advantage of this to play continuous streamed music, video, and voice services for long periods, even when the device is otherwise idle and the screen is off.

Users can now configure an HTTP proxy for each individual Wi-Fi access point, by touch-hold of the access point in Settings. The browser uses the HTTP proxy when communicating with the network over the access point and other apps may also choose to do so. The platform also provides backup and restore of the user-defined IP and proxy settings.

The platform adds support for Preferred Network Offload (PNO), a background scanning capability that conserves battery power savings in cases where Wi-Fi needs to be available continuously for long periods of time.

3 Comments

3 Reply to “New user features for Android 3.1”

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