A sneak-peek preview of Android 3.0

Expect a new holographic look, customizable home screens, a Windows-style taskbar, and tabbed browsing in Google's upcoming version of the Android OS, code-named Honeycomb

Redesigned from the ground up

Google says Android 3.0 has been completely redesigned with a new UI theme it calls "holographic." Every app and system view in Android 3.0 will have a system bar at the bottom of the screen similar to the notification area in the Windows 7 taskbar. Google's system bar gives quick access to things such as system notifications, system status, and navigation buttons. When you watch a video, the status bar will go into lights-out mode for full-screen viewing. Applications will use something called an action bar (not pictured) at the top of the screen for application-specific functions, such as navigation and menu options.

Customizable home screens

Honeycomb-powered tablets will have five customizable home screens that can be dressed up with specific widgets, app shortcuts, and wallpapers. You will have access to all installed applications on the device via the Android application launcher from every home screen. There will also be a dedicated search box on every home screen to help you find content on your device, such as apps, files, and contacts.

iPad-style multitasking

iPad-style multitasking

When you want to see an active app in Honeycomb you touch a recent apps button on the system bar. This calls up all open applications and shows their current state. In other words, it shows you what an app looked like before you switched out of it into another application.

Copy and paste

Everybody's favorite mobile device feature, copy and paste , is getting a redesign in Android 3.0. The new system sounds a lot like what happens on the iPad: Press and hold to select a word, and then adjust the selection area as needed. Google also says Android 3.0 features a new keyboard better suited to tablets. New keyboard keys include a tab button and easy access to voice controls to take advantage of Android's text-to-speech features and voice search.

Tabbed browsing

Taking a cue from Google Chrome, Android's Web browser will include Chrome-style tabs instead of windows. You will also be able to sync Google Chrome bookmarks in Honeycomb. Also, Bookmarks and history have been moved into a single, unified view

Tablet camera

Tablet camera

Rumor has it a rear-facing camera is coming to the next iPad , but Android will definitely get cameras with Honeycomb tablets, or at least the software capability to have a camera. Android 3.0 has a new camera interface for tablets that includes quick access to  such functions as exposure, flash, focus, and switching between front- and rear-facing cameras. You will be able to view photo galleries in full screen mode on Android 3.0 tablets.

Multi-pane UI

Multi-pane UI

To take advantage of the increased screen space, applications can be broken into multi-pane interfaces. This contacts application, for example, shows a list of contacts in one pane, puts contact details in a second pane, and has a third pane for editing contact information.

All about widgets

Android 3.0 will have a big focus on widgets, those small quick access windows to content like YouTube or The New York Times. Developers will now have more access for creating widgets for your home screen, and users will be able to scroll through widgets in new ways, such as moving through a 3D stack with a simple flick.