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Android 3.0 Honeycomb Walkthrough

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Finding ourselves for the very first time at the homescreen of Honeycomb, it instantly reminded us of the world of TRON. Much like the computer generated atmosphere of TRON, we find many aspects of Honeycomb employing these lighted borders and blurring effects to give off that other worldly feel with its interface. Definitely eye catching indeed, we’re presented with 5 home screens to fill their void with an abundant set of items – which is very much Android like. Naturally, there’s plenty of personalization found with Honeycomb as it boasts a decent set of widgets, wallpapers, shortcuts, and others to choose from. Aside from the healthy amount of static wallpapers offered right off the bat, we find very few live wallpapers that are specifically created for the new platform.

Widgets of course have become a standard thing with Android as a whole, but even though there are some interactive ones available, like the Gmail or bookmarks widgets, we’re only treated to a single Honeycomb clock widget. Fortunately though, they don’t take up a huge chunk of real estate and still give you enough leeway without making it look too cluttered. We also like how some of them provide specific core functions, like being able to quickly scroll through emails with the Gmail widget, without having to directly launch the app.

The 5 home screens can be filled with widgets
The 5 home screens can be filled with widgets

The 5 home screens can be filled with widgets


At the bottom of the interface, we now find a System Bar that is always present in every orientation or app that you run – and it’s also the place where we find the customary set of Android buttons. These include things like the Back, Home, and Menu buttons – the latter of which only pops up with certain apps. Additionally, we now find a Recent Apps button placed on there as well that instantly displays thumbnails of some of the most recent apps that have been running. Much like performing a long press of the home button with an Android smartphone, the Recent Apps button allows you to juggle around different things; thus being a great tool for any productive individuals out there.

Instead of finding Notifications Panel lining up the top area of the interface, it’s now positioned in the lower right section of the System Bar – which is very much Windows like. In fact, we find the digital clock always here, and when it’s pressed, it’ll allow you to get access to the usual Android settings. If you happen to get a notification, it’ll briefly appear as a window in the Notifications Panel – which is definitely not obtrusive at all. However, if you choose to ignore the notification, it’ll end up being displayed as an icon in the Notifications Panel.

Android buttonsin the left - The System Bar is in the bottom of the screen
The System Bar is in the bottom of the screen
Notifications panel in the lower right  - The System Bar is in the bottom of the screen

Android buttons
in the left

 

Notifications panel in the lower right

The System Bar is in the bottom of the screen


Depending on what you’re doing, the Action Bar will offer you specific functions that are tied together with the app you’re running – and it is positioned at the very top edge of the interface. On the homescreen, we’re presented with Google Search and Voice Search in the upper left corner, while the buttons for the Apps Panel and personalization are found in the upper right. But if you’re running something like the web browser, it’ll transform and give you the address bar, navigation controls, and others.

The Action Bar sits at the very top edge of the interface
The Action Bar sits at the very top edge of the interface

The Action Bar sits at the very top edge of the interface


Unfortunately, the Apps Panel hasn’t received any visual upgrade with Honeycomb seeing that it simply resorts to sticking with the usual grid-like view with no 3D looking effects aside from the transition effect that runs initially. Still, icons will accumulate and you’ll have to swipe left and right in order to traverse between all your apps.

The Apps Panel in Honeycomb
The Apps Panel in Honeycomb

The Apps Panel in Honeycomb


Sure we might have been somewhat overwhelmed at first with the new layout of Android, but after poking around for a few minutes, we realized that it still embodies all the lovable aspects we’ve come to appreciate with the platform. Meanwhile, the visual presentation is definitely invigorating to separate it from previous versions, but underneath it all, we’re still presented with the core foundations of Android. Moreover, the notifications system has been retooled to better suit the tablet experience and its implementation is well executed.

8 Comments
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posted on 08 Mar 2011, 10:28 2

1. fatexo (Posts: 126; Member since: 21 May 2010)


First..

posted on 08 Mar 2011, 19:31 2

5. AndroidTroll (Posts: 359; Member since: 05 Mar 2011)


Congratulations on being first! I like your avatar. I assume it is an Android version of yourself? You must be quite the hipster!

Honeycomb ftw. Can't wait for a similar version to hit phones. Actually, once google voice hits, I might make a rooted htc flyer my phone. It will be like the good old days when you got to hold a brick up to your face!

posted on 08 Mar 2011, 11:42 1

2. belovedson (Posts: 832; Member since: 30 Nov 2010)


thankyou obvious non android lover and author.

honeycomb is sickkk.

author have you heard of marketplace? why would anyone use the stock functions on android when there's better free versions available?

please phone arena please have authors who enjoy the android experience. If this site uses authors who enjoy apple products and praise it why can't we have the same experience with android?

posted on 08 Mar 2011, 13:44

4. useraaaaaa (unregistered)


dude, if you have not noticed then most of ppl at phone arena is ANDROID LOVERS!

posted on 08 Mar 2011, 13:02

3. HoneycombFTW (unregistered)


A very thorough walk-through! One of the better ones I've seen.

I really like the new Honeycomb UI for Android. It's very intuitive and easy to use while still retaining all the flexibility of Android. For a "1.0" UI I think the Android team did a pretty darn good job, and I'm sure it will get a lot better very quickly.

I agree with the keyboard--I don't know why they didn't just give a full normal keyboard that uses the shift key for special character and move the special character lock key more out of they way, I keep hitting it. Luckily there are some great keyboards out there for Android.

@belovedson
I think there point about some of the apps is very justified. Why put in a "core app" that is overly minimalistic or doesn't even come close to free apps in the market? As I'm sure some people would like to stick with the basic stock setup--not everyone is an app whore ;)
But you do make a great point about Android--customize it to your liking!

posted on 08 Mar 2011, 21:11

6. surfy101 (Posts: 7; Member since: 09 Jun 2010)


I really hope Google puts in the feature for making mobile phone call, especially when the tablet has the 3G built-in. This will set it apart from iPad, much like what the first Galaxy Tab does. Some telcos allow multiple SIM cards tied to a number, which will allow a 2nd SIM to be used on the tablet and to make calls.

posted on 10 Mar 2011, 20:02

7. Concerned Site User (unregistered)


Please take no offense from this comment; I mean none by it and only want to improve the quality of the site. You guys really need to get a new person to narrate the video reviews. Regardless of his product knowledge or status in the organization, he is not the right person to do video reviews due to his speech impediment. It is distracting and makes the reviews unpleasant to view.

posted on 21 Mar 2011, 07:20

8. it's ok (unregistered)


Wouldn't agree with you! Not knowing English very well, I find this review quite good.

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