One of the cool new ways we can interact with applications in Honeycomb is with "fragments."  Have a look at the Honeycomb event video, then check them out in real world use in CNN's new Android app and the upcoming Sports Illustrated app.  From the videos, it looks like the perfect way to handle a lot of content in an organized and easy to navigate way. 

But that's all geared towards honeycomb's new tablet interface.  What about smartphones?  Googler and Android software engineer Dianne Hackborn let us in on how fragments are going to work on your phone in a new post on the Android Developers blog.  There's a lot of technical information there, and if you're even the least bit inclined you should make sure to read it all, but the nutshell version is that fragments are coming to smartphones.  Google has spent time to make them easy to program, even giving an excellent tutorial developers can use with the Android 3.0 preview to get started.  And the best news?  The plan is to make the new APIs backwards compatible to Android 1.6, so most phones (sorry Moto Cliq users), even older models, will reap the benefit.

The last big question is, "when is all this coming?" -- Dianne has answered us in advance:

We don’t have a firm date for when this library will be available, but it should be relatively soon. In the meantime, you can start developing with fragments on Android 3.0 to see how they work, and most of that effort should be transferable.

[Android Developers blog]


Reader comments

Fragments explained, and will be compatible with Donut


I'm so excited for fragments. It really gives app developers ways to make more killer apps. And good on Google for making the f word a good one :)

Good news. It sounds as if the APIs will be slightly different between versions which is quite understandable. When I first heard about Fragments I wasn't all that impressed, but as we've seen more and more of them I'm actually starting to get pretty excited about them.

Agreed 100%. Hearing about them originally didn't do much for me, but seeing that SI app on the xoom made me a believer. Glad Google sees the value of porting this down for almost everyone.

Anyone wanna bet they came up with the name "Fragments" as a slap in the face to all the iTools out there?

"Yeah, we have Fragmentation. But its a good thing. Our tablets show all the fragments at once, while our phones show one fragment at a time. What's that? Your iPad is no more intuitive than your iPhone? Sounds like a waste of screen space to me."

you mean I have to watch a 50 min video to find out what fragments is? How about telling us where in the video it is so I can skip to that part.