Google Rolls Out Android 3.1

Google touted Android's growth to 100 million smartphones and tablets, kicked off a rollout of Android 3.1 and gave developers a preview of the next major Android update called "Ice Cream Sandwich." The news came along with announcements of a beta online music service on Android and movie rentals on the Xoom tablet via the Android Market, with phones to follow soon.

Google Ice Cream Sandwich 

The Android 3.1 Update

The announcements came during a lightning round keynote talk at Google I/O in San Francisco, led by Hugo Barra, Google's director of Android product management.

The Android 3.1 update includes an Open Accessory API to integrate Android apps with accessories for musical equipment, exercise equipment, robotics and more. It also supports a USB host mode to allow applications to manage USB peripherals such as stereos.

At the same time, Android 3.1 allows input from mice, joysticks and gamepads, and allows developers to create home-screen widgets that can be resized. A full list of new features can be found at the Android Developers site. Starting this summer, Android 3.1 updates will also be available for Google TV, Google officials said.

Ice Cream Sandwich Release For Later in 2011

Ice Cream Sandwich will be Android's next major release for later in 2011, Google officials said, without offering many details. The main theme of the next version is that it will be "one OS that runs everywhere" -- on phones and tablets of all sizes and shapes, as well as tablets that transition into laptops, Google officials said. Google picked the name as it has before, from desserts, going in alphabetical order, with the last entry, versions 3.0 known as Honeycomb, preceded by Gingerbread.

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