Google has just released a preview version of the development kit (SDK) for Android 3.0, according to an announcement yesterday on the Android Developers Blog.

Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) is a completely redesigned version of the Android platform, created for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. Google are careful to point out that this is not a final version, but an early preview of things to come.

Here are some of the highlights:

UI framework for creating great apps for larger screen devices: Developers can use a new UI components, new themes, richer widgets and notifications, drag and drop, and other new features to create rich and engaging apps for users on larger screen devices.

High-performance 2D and 3D graphics: A new property-based animation framework lets developers add great visual effects to their apps. A built-in GL renderer lets developers request hardware-acceleration of common 2D rendering operations in their apps, across the entire app or only in specific activities or views. For adding rich 3D scenes, developers take advantage of a new 3D graphics engine called Renderscript.

Support for multicore processor architectures: Android 3.0 is optimized to run on either single- or dual-core processors, so that applications run with the best possible performance.

Rich multimedia: New multimedia features such as HTTP Live streaming support, a pluggable DRM framework, and easy media file transfer through MTP/PTP, give developers new ways to bring rich content to users.

New types of connectivity: New APIs for Bluetooth A2DP and HSP let applications offer audio streaming and headset control. Support for Bluetooth insecure socket connection lets applications connect to simple devices that may not have a user interface.

Enhancements for enterprise: New administrative policies, such as for encrypted storage and password expiration, help enterprise administrators manage devices more effectively.

For a complete overview of the new user and developer features, visit Android 3.0 Platform Highlights. A preview of Android 3.0 can be seen in the video below.

(via IDG News)