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Honeycomb – the tablet-optimized OS

Posted: , by John V.

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Honeycomb – the tablet-optimized OS
Introduction

Google’s tablet-optimized platform is now in full force permeating into the memory of consumers around the world, while at the same time, it’s attempting to conquer the landscape by presenting users a totally immersive, yet functional to the point experience. We’ve spent some time getting situated with the platform, and knowing that it’s going to be continually improved, to bring new features and expand upon some existing ones, the foundations set forth by it will uniformly have a profound impact on how it’s going to be further modified down the road. At this point, there’s no denying that tablets are going to continue marching forward and become the true computing giant over the course of the next few years, however, we just need to reflect upon some of Honeycomb’s accomplishments and our desires for improvement.

Homescreen widgets

Homescreen widgets

First and foremost, we have to applaud Google for sitting down and meticulously bringing the platform from the ground up – while solely keeping in mind that it’s a tablet platform and nothing more. From its surreal and futuristic design theme to its ubiquitous paneled layout within its core apps, everything concretely wraps together to give the user an experience that’s functional, cohesive, and relevant. In addition, Google has upped the ante in the personalization department, much like what we’ve seen with Android as a whole, thanks to its useful array of widgets and dynamic looking wallpapers. Although it’s still in its infancy, the Mountain View based company has done an exceptional job in fully comprehending how the tablet experience is  different from anything else out there – and tailoring it to fit that unique medium.

Still waiting for more optimized third party apps

Arguably, some might perceive that the platform is already positioned at its utmost threshold, but with all things technology related, there are still some items we’d like to see definitively expanded in order to keep it fresh and interesting. Obviously, Google managed to juggle the task of handling multi-tasking and notifications with Honeycomb, but the biggest roadblock that we see with the platform right now is its painfully slow (literally) build-up of third party apps that are tablet-optimized. Taking a peek at the Android Market, you can naturally download any of the existing ones available to Android smartphones, but there are still barely any worthwhile selections that are optimized for Honeycomb.

On the other hand, we have seen most of Google’s core services being integrated heavily with the platform – like video chat support with Google Talk and the recent availability of Google Docs. For now, it’s only time that’s standing in the way from transplanting the platform from its humble beginnings, to something that came out from the movies – we’re talking Minority Report kinds of things!

Just one annoyance throughout Honeycomb

Honeycomb – the tablet-optimized OS
Honeycomb – the tablet-optimized OS
Even with the most cutting edge dual-core processors powering most of the Android Honeycomb tablets thus far, we’re rather perplexed to see why the platform dramatically performs choppy and sluggish when navigating across its homescreens and app panel in portrait. Frankly, it might be just one minor roadblock to some people, but it’s clearly one that visibly stands out amongst its near pristine operation. Whether it’s something inherently related to its programming, it’s only a matter of time before it’s resolved, but in the near term though, it blatantly sticks out like a sore thumb.

Looking ahead to the future & beyond

Therefore, we’re curious to know what Google has up its sleeves in the coming months with the next iteration of the platform, and of course, there are some things that we’d like to see make an appearance. For starters, now that the platform will offer USB hosting support, enabling you to connect a variety of peripherals to it, we’re interested how that will ultimately play out in the greater scheme of things. 

Gaming on Honeycomb
Gaming on Honeycomb

Gaming on Honeycomb

Productivity is always something that the platform will cater to, and we bet that it’ll continue to be a focus, especially taking things more into the cloud, but we’re interested in how the platform will attack the gaming medium – even more when tablets pack some serious heat under the hood. Right now, HDMI-out functionality provides a mirrored experience on high-definition television sets, but wouldn’t it be cool to make the tablet as your all-in-one gaming device? Already being able to interact with other wireless devices, like Bluetooth keyboards, we’d like to see one day when you can pick up a Bluetooth enabled game pad, use it to play games, while having the tablet connected to your high-def TV and surround sound system.

Gaming: The next frontier

Honeycomb – the tablet-optimized OS
Moreover, we’d also like to see the platform become more independent and less on being secondary to computers – like transferring content like music, photos, and videos. Naturally, we’re curious to see how Google’s Music Beta service will develop in the future, but It would still be nice to get content directly onto tablets without the need of attaching it to some computer. Bluntly speaking, it’d be nice to one day see the platform conveniently be the centralized hub for all our daily interactions.

Conclusion

Who says that we can’t dream, right? When looking around at the competition, there’s no denying that Android 3.0 Honeycomb is mostly complete in its initial offering, though, it’s still in need of some polishing to cement its position in the market. Windows PCs are still going to be widely abundant in the computing market, but as we see Android evolving in the tablet space, there is little doubt that it will one day possibly become the platform of choice amongst consumers – especially taking into consideration Google’s vociferous nature.


6 Comments
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posted on 17 May 2011, 11:01

1. Rich (unregistered)


can you say... ice cream sandwich?

posted on 17 May 2011, 11:42

2. phellandrn (unregistered)


You hit the nail right on the head with that comment about the lag and sluggishness in portrait mode. I have a Playbook, iPad 1, and just bought a Xoom with 3.1 upgrade. The 3.1 upgrade has made the landscape rather fluid, however the portrait mode lag is unbearable. It is as if no one at Google has even tried to use that thing in portrait. Somehow, even blackberry managed to make a smooth and fluid OS and my original iPad has NEVER shown lag. I want you Xoom!!! WORK BETTER!!

posted on 17 May 2011, 14:18 2

3. bossmt_2 (Posts: 429; Member since: 13 Oct 2009)


I think part of the reason why Android has had more bugs than the iPad or Playbook is that it's a more ambitious project. The iPad is basically a giant iPod Touch, just need to optimize to a slightly higher resolution. And the playbook is more or less a pseudo hybrid of WebOS and Android apps. Honeycomb was a nearly complete departure from the Android Smartphone OS. So like Android 1.5 I expect there to be issues but give it time and Android on tablets will be as good as Froyo or Gingerbread has been on the smartphone.

posted on 17 May 2011, 17:56 1

4. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Android will never supercede iOS. How can it when all it does is wait for Apple's next move and copy it :)

posted on 17 May 2011, 21:06 1

5. hellopeople (Posts: 16; Member since: 10 May 2011)


AGREED!

posted on 18 May 2011, 21:29 1

8. Surfy.101 (unregistered)


That's strange? What did Android copy from iOS? The rows and rows of app icons? Scroll to the left or right, and you just see more icons? It reminds me of a Windows desktop with the whole screen filled with shortcuts or documents. Sure, with such simple UI, it will definitely have the advantage of being more responsive/fluid. If an app starts up slowly, all fingers just point to the app for being slow, not iOS.

Honeycomb, on the other hand, has completely revamped the user's experience. Widgets and all, the experience is customizable to the user's needs. That's way ahead of what iOS can do.

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