Android gets sweeter with Honeycomb, a web-based store and more

by Kristen Nicole

Honeycomb, web store extend the mobile cloud

Expectations ran high leading up to Android’s press event yesterday, and Google (GOOG) didn’t disappoint. Demonstrating Honeycomb 3.0 in detail, the new operating system is designed with tablets in mind. An impressive 3D display and streamlined interface lures media-rich content, complex games and intricate multi-tasking, with things like opening and viewing multiple windows (just like a real computer!).

Google also unveiled the web-based Android Market, a sorely needed feature for the growing mobile app portal. Not only will you be able to browse through apps in the Market, but manage and purchase them as well. The presence of a serviceable web store makes the mobile experience more fluid, and centralizes the user experience around their own personal cloud.

Virtual goodies and games

While Google’s taking this opportunity to catch up to Apple (AAPL), it took things a step further with the launch of in-app purchases. This will allow developers to sell virtual goods directly in their apps, and supports buyer currency, enabling developers to market on a global scale. Initially available for US currencies, in-app purchases will be a slow roll out through Google’s SDK.

Gaming is going to be among the first industries to take advantage of the new things Android has to offer, from high-end tablet OS’s to in-app virtual goods markets. Zynga’s growing its Android presence, with plans for its second game launch, Words With Friends. This Scrabble-like game joins Zynga’s initial Android Market launch, Zynga Poker, appealing to its massive user base of over 10 million gamers.