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Honeycomb 101: Getting to know your Android tablet

JR Raphael | May 21, 2011
Not sure how to get started with your new Android tablet? Fear not: We've got you covered.


Occasionally, you may see a fourth icon in the bottom-left portion of your screen. This icon, which looks like a small grid, appears when you're using a smartphone app that isn't optimized for the Honeycomb interface. Tapping the icon brings up a list of options for the app; it's the equivalent of pressing the Menu key on an Android phone.

When you work with apps that are optimized for Honeycomb, the grid icon is supplanted by what Google likes to call the 'action bar'. The action bar permits apps to use the top-right area of your screen to provide additional options that change, depending on what you're doing. If you're looking at your inbox in Gmail, for example, you'll see an icon for composing a new message. If you're viewing an individual e-mail message, icons for archiving or deleting the message will appear in the same space.

Customizing Your Tablet

All right--ready to start making your Android tablet feel like your own? Tap the plus sign in the upper right corner of your home screen to head into Honeycomb's customization control center.

In the control center, you'll see thumbnails of all five home-screen panels and a list of items that you can place anywhere you like. Some of the items are widgets--which are live, functioning versions of programs that run right on your home screen. Others are app shortcuts--normal static icons that launch applications. You can touch any item to drag it to the panel of your choice; you can also adjust things from the home screen later on, by touching and holding any item to move, delete, or (in certain cases) resize it.

So there you have it: the ins and outs of Honeycomb. Now just grab your tablet, dive in, and don't worry: You won't get stung.

 

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