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Tablets and enterprise are focal points for Android

by Kristen Nicole

Google (GOOG) has updated its Google Earth app this week, optimizing the 3D mapping software for Android tablets. This marks the first time 3D buildings from Google Earth have been made available for mobile devices. Until this update, 3D views were restricted to the desktop version. Google’s quite dedicated to Android Honeycomb 3.0, enhancing its capabilities with its own app updates. "We took advantage of the larger screen size, including features like content pop-ups appearing within Earth view, so you can see more information without switching back and forth between pages," Peter Birch, a Google product manager, said.

Google’s the proud parent of a tablet OS and a series of supported apps, but Taptu is excited about Android tablets as well. Weeks after the release of its iPad news reading app, Taptu has upgraded its Android app to support tablets, even leveraging some feature exclusive to Google’s platform. One such differentiation is the light and dark themes, suited for night and daytime reading. Instapaper integration lets you save articles for later reading, and a full-screen reading mode takes advantage of the tablet’s larger display.

Android in the enterprise

While Android tablets have yet to penetrate the business world, its smartphones are catering to workforces across the nation. The new Motorola (MMI) Titanium and XPRT, available this summer through Sprint (S), are designed with professionals in mind, one durable, the other secure. The Titanium is a Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk device with military-grade specifications for a hearty phone. The XPRT, on the other hand, is more of a BlackBerry competitor, with enterprise-level security and international roaming capabilities.

As enterprise finds more use for the cloud, the mobility and accessibility of its workforce gains priority. This is an important arena for Android to approach, especially as Apple (AAPL) targets the same market, and Microsoft (MSFT) already has a large customer base it hopes to convert for its own mobile efforts.