Android 3.0 Honeycomb is a huge step up for Google's smart-phone OS -- it's revamped for tablets from the ground up with a holographic look and a host of other user-interface improvements. Every time we've found out more details, we've been impressed. What we haven't done is found our minds wandering to improvisational jazz and Borg-like cybernetics.
Until now. Honeycomb's lead designer Matias Duarte has been talking to All Things Digital about the design philosophy behind Honeycomb, which he says is a stop along the road to Google solving the issue that "using computers suck, to this day". Which is where the jazz comes in.
"What I am looking for is that sense that you get when jazz musicians improvise together. The computer should be doing things in concert with you, in support [of]
you, not acting like a servant waiting for commands and then returning
with results. That's a little aspirational, I know..."
Duarte also talks cybernetics, while warning that this doesn't mean "Star Trek, Borg-like scary things", but rather the way computers or tablets meld social networking, email and Google to become "cybernetic parts of our mind". Nope, sorry, still pretty frightening.
He has some more prosaic comments on Honeycomb's likely role in devices, with the key point being that it's good for more than just tablets. Android 3.0 has been designed to be usable without physical buttons -- something that could see buttonless tablets, but also its use on screens attached to fridges and tables, among other devices.
"Whatever they [product designers] come up with, the most important thing is that we have given that flexibility," says Duarte. Android-based fridges? Honeycomb makes them possible. And if we're really lucky, they'll also be able to bust out saxophone solos on demand.