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Motorola Xoom and Android 3.0 apps take centre stage at Google event

Google showed off a number of new Android 3.0 Honeycomb apps last night, at an event to promote its new tablet OS. Motorola's Xoom tablet was also on show.

Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet software had its coming out party last night, as 17 developers showed off apps running on Motorola's Xoom tablet at an event at Google's US headquarters.

The event -- which also saw the launch of the official Android Market Web store -- showcased Honeycomb's whizzy user interface, snappier multi-tasking and a revamped camera.

The apps took centre stage, though. Those shown on stage included an impressive CNN news app (pictured) that's heavy on visuals, and lets users upload their own photo and video-based news stories -- the first time this 'iReport' feature has been available on a tablet.

Other companies showing their Honeycomb apps at the event included The Economist, Disney Mobile, social games firms ngmoco and Zynga (it seems you'll be able to get your FarmVille on with Android 3.0), Time magazine and Pulse News.

Android boss Andy Rubin confirmed that existing Android apps will all run on Honeycomb-powered tablets without needing to be modified, matching Apple's iPad in that respect.

There was another major piece of news at the event: this spring, Google will launch in-app purchases for Android. That's one of the reasons social games companies such as Zynga are finally bringing their games to Android, since they rely on being able to charge players for virtual items within the games.

Google has published a video of the event on YouTube, which you can watch below. Our take on Honeycomb: it's shaping up very nicely in comparison with iOS on the iPad, although the key will be Google's partners coming up with the hardware goods to match the software. The video has whetted our appetite for the Motorola Xoom in particular.