The Expanding Android Market

Much of the excitement from CES 2011 was over the latest batch of tablet PCs that run on Android.

The 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV, concluded last week, and one of the big stories of this year’s CES is the number of tablets debuted at the show that run on the Honeycomb OS. If you’re like me and couldn’t make it to Sin City last week, check out this article from HCPLive to catch up on some of the hottest stories. You can also read a recap of the Digital Health Summit that took place at CES 2011. Engadget also has several interesting takes on some of the news and announcements that came out of the conference. You can also fid good links and news on Twitter and Tweetup.

Here’s a YouTube video offering a sneak peek at Android 3.0, Honeycomb, “the next version of the Android platform, designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets.”

Again, if anyone has played with Honeycomb on a tablet already and cares to comment, I’d enjoy reading what you have to say; it appears that hardware manufacturers are betting that the OS will be as well received as Android for cell phones. Just a couple of years ago, people were choosing the iPhone based on the apps that were available, and I know folks today who are choosing an Android phone for the same reason.

Swype is a case in point. As devices get smaller and more of us migrate to touch screen, it’s increasingly cumbersome to type/text on a traditional keyboard. Swype looks like a traditional keyboard, but doesn’t work that way -- you trace a path to the letters to each word, keeping your finger on the touch screen until you’re finished spelling the word, and spaces are automatically inserted when you lift your finger. You can walk into almost any cell phone store now and try it, or if you already have an Android phone, you can download the beta software (http://beta.swype.com) for free from the website.

Another example that you probably haven’t seen in a phone store is 8pen, an application that is functionally similar to Swype, but does not employ a conventional keyboard. Instead, the center is used as a point of reference and letters are identified by quadrant. If you watch the video and like what you see, it’s available as freeware on multiple sites.

Skyscape and Unbound Medicine both offer tools and clinical reference materials for pediatric practice, like the 5-Minute Pediatric Consult, on the Android platform. A quick query of Skyscape shows that the service offers almost 600 apps for Android.