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<p>Welcome to Android 3.1!</p>
<p>Android 3.1 is an incremental platform release that refines many of the
features introduced in Android 3.0. It builds on the same tablet-optimized UI
and features offered in Android 3.0 and adds several new capabilities for
users and developers. This document provides an overview of the new features and
technologies introduced in Android 3.1. For a more detailed look at new
developer APIs, see the <a href="{@docRoot}about/versions/android-3.1.html">API
Overview</a> document.</p>
<p>For a high-level introduction to Android 3.0, please see the <a
href="{@docRoot}about/versions/android-3.0-highlights.html">Android 3.0 Platform
<li><a href="#UserFeatures">New User Features</a></li>
<li><a href="#DeveloperApis">New Developer Features</a></li>
<h2 id="UserFeatures" style="clear:right">New User Features</h2>
<div style="padding-top:0em;">
<div style="margin-right:1em;margin-left:1em;float:right;padding-top:2em;"><a
href="{@docRoot}sdk/images/3.1/home_full.png" target="_android"><img
src="{@docRoot}sdk/images/3.1/home.png" alt="" height="280" /></a>
<div style="padding-left:1.25em;padding-bottom:1.25em;width:450px;font-size:.9em"><strong>Figure 1.</strong> An Android 3.1 Home screen.</div>
<h3>UI refinements</h3>
<p>The Android 3.1 platform adds a variety of refinements to make the user
interface more intuitive and more efficient to use.</p>
<p>UI transitions are improved throughout the system and across the standard
apps. The Launcher animation is optimized for faster, smoother transition to and
from the Apps list. Adjustments in color, positioning, and text make UI elements
easier to see, understand, and use. Accessibility is improved with consistent
audible feedback throughout the UI and a new setting to let users customize the
touch-hold interval to meet their needs.</p>
<p>Navigation to and from the five home screens is now easier &mdash; touching
the Home button in the system bar now takes you to the home screen most recently
used. Settings offers an improved view of internal storage,
showing the storage used by a larger set of file types. </p>
<h3 id="accessories">Connectivity for USB accessories</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 adds broad platform support for a variety of USB-connected
peripherals and accessories. Users can attach many types of input devices
(keyboards, mice, game controllers) and digital cameras. Applications can build
on the platform’s USB support to extend connectivity to almost any type of USB
<p>The platform also adds new support for USB accessories &mdash; external
hardware devices designed to attach to Android-powered devices as USB hosts. When an
accessory is attached, the framework will look for a corresponding application
and offer to launch it for the user. The accessory can also present a URL
to the user, for downloading an appropriate application if one is not already
installed. Users can interact with the application to control powered accessories such
as robotics controllers; docking stations; diagnostic and musical equipment;
kiosks; card readers; and much more.</p>
<p>The platform’s USB capabilities rely on components in device hardware, so
support for USB on specific devices may vary and is determined by device
<div style="padding-top:0em;">
<div style="margin-right:.8em;float:left;width:200px;"><img src="{@docRoot}sdk/images/3.1/tasks.png" alt="" />
<div style="padding-left:1em;padding-bottom:1em;xwidth:auto;font-size:.9em"><strong>Figure 2.</strong> The Recent Apps menu is now expandable and scrollable.</div>
<h3 id="recentapps">Expanded Recent Apps list</h3>
<p>For improved multitasking and instant visual access to a much larger number
of apps, the Recent Apps list is now expandable. Users can now scroll the list
of recent apps vertically to see thumbnail images all of the tasks in progress
and recently used apps, then touch a thumbnail to jump back into that task.</p>
<h3 id="resizewidgets">Resizeable Home screen widgets</h3>
<p>For more flexible Home screen customization, users can now resize their Home
screen widgets using drag bars provided by the system. Users can expand widgets
both horizontally and/or vertically to include more content, where supported by
each widget.</p>
<h3 id="keyboards">Support for external keyboards
and pointing devices</h3>
<p>Users can now attach almost any type of external keyboard or mouse to their
Android-powered devices, to create a familiar environment and work more
efficiently. One or more input devices can be attached to the system simultaneously
over USB and/or Bluetooth HID, in any combination. No special configuration or
driver is needed, in most cases. When multiple devices are connected, users can
conveniently manage the active keyboard and IME using the keyboard settings that
are available from the System bar.</p>
<p>For pointing devices, the platform supports most types of mouse with a single
button and optionally a scroll wheel, as well as similar devices such as
trackballs. When these are connected, users can interact with the UI using
point, select, drag, scroll, hover, and other standard actions.</p>
<h3 id="joysticks">Support for joysticks and gamepads</h3>
<p>To make the platform even better for gaming, Android 3.1 adds support for
most PC joysticks and gamepads that are connected over USB or Bluetooth HID.</p>
<p>For example, users can connect PlayStation<sup>&reg;</sup>3 and Xbox 360<sup>&reg;</sup>
game controllers over USB (but not Bluetooth), Logitech Dual Action&trade; gamepads and
flight sticks, or a car racing controller. Game controllers that use proprietary
networking or pairing are not supported by default, but in general, the platform
supports most PC-connectible joysticks and gamepads.</p>
<h3 id="wifi">Robust Wi-Fi networking</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 adds robust Wi-Fi features, to make sure that users and their
apps can take full advantage of higher-speed Wi-Fi access at home, at work, and
while away.</p>
<p>A new high-performance Wi-Fi lock lets applications maintain
high-performance Wi-Fi connections even when the device screen is off. Users can
take advantage of this to play continuous streamed music, video, and voice
services for long periods, even when the device is otherwise idle and the screen
is off. </p>
<p>Users can now configure an HTTP proxy for each individual Wi-Fi access
point, by touch-hold of the access point in Settings. The browser uses the HTTP
proxy when communicating with the network over the access point and other apps
may also choose to do so. The platform also provides backup and restore of the
user-defined IP and proxy settings.</p>
<p>The platform adds support for Preferred Network Offload (PNO), a background
scanning capability that conserves battery power savings in cases where Wi-Fi
needs to be available continuously for long periods of time.</p>
<h3 id="apps">Updated set of standard apps</h3>
<p>The Android 3.1 platform includes an updated set of standard applications
that are optimized for use on larger screen devices. The sections below
highlight some of the new features.</p>
<div style="padding-top:0em;">
<div style="margin-right:1em;float:right;margin-left:1em;margin-top:1.5em;margin-bottom:0;padding-bottom:0;"><img src="{@docRoot}sdk/images/3.1/controls.png" alt="" height="280px" />
<div style="padding-left:1.25em;padding-bottom:1.25em;margin-top:0;padding-top:0;font-size:.9em"><strong>Figure 3.</strong> Quick Controls menu in the Browser.</div>
<p>The Browser app includes a variety of new features and UI improvements that
make viewing web content simpler, faster, and more convenient.</p>
<p>The Quick Controls UI, accessible from Browser Settings, is extended and
redesigned. Users can now use the controls to view thumbnails of open tabs and
close the active tab, as well as access the overflow menu for instant access to
Settings and other controls.</p>
<p>To ensure a consistent viewing experience, the Browser extends it's support
for popular web standards such as CSS 3D, animations, and CSS fixed
positioning to all sites, mobile or desktop. It also adds support for embedded
playback of HTML5 video content. To make it easier to manage favorite
content, users can now save a web page locally for offline viewing, including
all styling and images. For convenience when visiting Google sites, an improved
auto-login UI lets users sign in quickly and manage access when multiple users
are sharing a device.</p>
<p>For best performance, the Browser adds support for plugins that use hardware
accelerated rendering. Page zoom performance is also dramatically improved,
making it faster to navigate and view web pages.</p>
<p>The Gallery app now supports Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), so that users
can connect their cameras over USB and import their pictures to Gallery with a
single touch. The app also copies the pictures to local storage and provides an
indicator to let users see how much space is available.</p>
<div style="padding-top:0em;">
<div style="margin-right:1em;float:left;margin-left:0em;"><img src="{@docRoot}sdk/images/3.1/resizeable.png" alt="" width="170" target="_android" style="margin-bottom:0;" />
<div style="padding-left:1.4em;padding-bottom:1em;width:180px;font-size:.9em"><strong>Figure
4.</strong> Home screen widgets can now be resized.</div></div>
<p>Calendar grids are larger, for better readability and more accurate
touch-targeting. Additionally, users can create a larger viewing area for grids
by hiding the calendar list controls. Controls in the date picker are
redesigned, making them easier to see and use.</li>
<p>The Contacts app now lets you locate contacts more easily using full text
search. Search returns matching results from all fields that are stored for a
<p>When replying or forwarding an HTML message, The Email app now sends both
plain text and HTML bodies as a multi-part mime message. This ensures that the
message will be formatted properly for all recipients. Folder prefixes for IMAP
accounts are now easier to define and manage. To conserve battery power and
minimize cell data usage, the application now prefetches email from the server
only when the device is connected to a Wi-Fi access point. </p>
<p>An updated Home screen widget give users quick access to more email. Users
can touch Email icon at the top of the widget to cycle through labels such as
Inbox, Unread, and Starred. The widget itself is now resizable, both
horizontally and vertically.</p>
<h3 id="enterprise">Enterprise support</h3>
<p>Users can now configure an HTTP proxy for each connected Wi-Fi access point.
This lets administrators work with users to set a proxy hostname, port, and any
bypass subdomains. This proxy configuration is automatically used by the Browser
when the Wi-Fi access point is connected, and may optionally be used by other
apps. The proxy and IP configuration is now backed up and restored across system
updates and resets.</p>
<p>To meet the needs of tablet users, the platform now allows a "encrypted
storage card" device policy to be accepted on devices with emulated storage
cards and encrypted primary storage.</p>
<h2 id="DeveloperApis" style="clear:both">New Developer Features</h2>
<p>The Android 3.1 platform adds refinements and new capabilities that
developers can build on, to create powerful and engaging application experiences
on tablets and other large-screen devices. </p>
<h3 id="accessory">Open Accessory API for rich interaction with
<p>Android 3.1 introduces a new API for integrating hardware accessories with
applications running on the platform. The API provides a way to interact across
a wide range of peripherals, from robotics controllers to musical equipment,
exercise bicycles, and more.</p>
<p>The API is based on a new USB (Universal Serial Bus) stack and services
that are built into the platform. The platform provides services for discovering
and identifying connected hardware, as well as for notifying interested
applications that the hardware is available.</p>
<p>When a user plugs in a USB accessory, the platform receives
identifying information such as product name, accessory type, manufacturer, and
version. The platform sets up communication with the accessory and uses its
information to notify and launch a targeted app, if one is available. Optionally,
an accessory can provide a URL that lets users find and download an
app that works with the accessory. These discovery features make
first-time setup easier for the user and ensure that an appropriate application
is available for interacting with the connected hardware. </p>
<p>For application developers and accessory manufacturers, accessory mode offers
many new ways to engage users and build powerful interaction experiences with
connected hardware.</p>
<p>To learn more about how to develop applications that interact with
accessories, see the <a href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/connectivity/usb/accessory.html">USB
Accessory</a> documentation.</p>
<h3 id="host">USB host API</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 provides built-in platform support for USB host mode and exposes
an API that lets applications manage connected peripherals. On devices that
support host mode, applications can use the API to identify and communicate with
connected devices such as audio devices. input devices, communications devices,
hubs, cameras, and more.</p>
<p>To learn more about how to develop applications that interact with
USB devices, see the <a href="{@docRoot}guide/topics/connectivity/usb/host.html">USB
Host</a> documentation.</p>
<h3 id="inputdevices">Input from mice, joysticks, and gamepads</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 extends the input event system to support a variety of new input
sources and motion events, across all views and windows. Developers can build on
these capabilities to let users interact with their applications using mice,
trackballs, joysticks, gamepads, and other devices, in addition to keyboards and
<p>For mouse and trackball input, the platform supports two new motion event
actions: scroll (horizontal or vertical) such as from a scrollwheel; and hover,
which reports the location of the mouse when no buttons are pressed.
Applications can handle these events in any way needed.</p>
<p>For joysticks and gamepads, the platform provides a large number of motion
axes that applications can use from a given input source, such as X, Y, Hat X,
Hat Y, rotation, throttle, pressure, size, touch, tool, orientation, and others.
Developers can also define custom axes if needed, to capture motion in
additional ways. The platform provides motion events to applications as a batch,
and applications can query the details of the movements included in the batch,
for more efficient and precise handling of events.</p>
<p>Applications can query for the list of connected input devices and the motion
ranges (axes) supported by each device. Applications can also handle multiple
input and motion events from a single input device. For example, an application
can use mouse and joystick and mouse event sources from a single input
<h3 id="resizewidgetsapp">Resizable Home screen widgets</h3>
<p>Developers can now create Home screen widgets that users can resize
horizontally, vertically, or both. By simply adding an attribute to the
declaration of a widget, the widget becomes resizable horizontally, vertically,
or both. This lets users customize the display of the widget content and display
more of it on their Home screens.</p>
<h3 id="mtp">MTP API for integrating with external cameras</h3>
<p>In Android 3.1, a new MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) API lets developers write
apps that interact directly with connected cameras and other PTP devices. The
new API makes it easy for applications to receive notifications when devices are
attached and removed, manage files and storage on those devices, and transfer
files and metadata to and from them. The MTP API implements the PTP (Picture
Transfer Protocol) subset of the MTP specification.</p>
<h3 id="rtp">RTP API, for control over audio streaming sessions</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 exposes an API to its built-in RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol)
stack, which applications can use to directly manage on-demand or interactive
data streaming. In particular, apps that provide VOIP, push-to-talk,
conferencing, and audio streaming can use the API to initiate sessions and
transmit or receive data streams over any available network.</p>
<h3 id="performance">Performance optimizations</h3>
<p>Android 3.1 includes a variety of performance optimizations that help make
applications faster and more responsive. Some of the optimizations include:</p>
<li>A new LRU cache class lets applications benefit from efficient caching.
Applications can use the class to reduce the time spent computing or downloading
data from the network, while maintaining a sensible memory footprint for the
cached data.</li>
<li>The UI framework now supports partial invalidates in hardware-accelerated
Views, which makes drawing operations in those Views more efficient.</li>
<li>A new graphics method, {@link
setHasAlpha()}, allows apps to hint that a given bitmap is opaque. This provides
an extra performance boost for some types of blits and is especially useful for
applications that use ARGB_8888 bitmaps.</li>