Android 3.0 Honeycomb Walkthrough


You’d think that there would be something completely new with the calendar with Honeycomb, but in all honesty, it’s basically nothing we haven't seen before. Granted that you can sync calendars from multiple accounts, which is then colored coded, but it’s basically the same old functioning calendar app we’ve been using. In the Action Bar, we have the option to display the calendar in month, week, or day view, and we also find some additional functions like doing a search and creating a new appointment.

When you’re in the month view, the layout is typical since it’ll place the entire month’s calendar on-screen with appointments listed on their specific days. However, when you select day or week view, it’s transformed into the familiar two paned layout that displays your appointments on one side, while the other pops up a mini month calendar with the color coded labels of your accounts nearby.

Adding an appointment is easily accomplished by simply tapping on the associated icon in the Action Bar or performing a long press in any spot in your calendar. Once you’ve got it up, there is an abundant set of information that you can set that range from things like reminders, to the actual start and end times of the event.

Sadly, the Clock App with Honeycomb is downright prehistoric compared to the offerings we’re so used to seeing. That’s because it’ll only display a supersized version of the digital clock found in the Notifications Panel, and from here, you can set up multiple alarms. Yup, that’s pretty much the extent of its functionality as it lacks items like a stopwatch, timer, or world clock.

Furthermore, the Calculator App doesn’t make any headway with Honeycomb since we’re once again greeted with a giant sized version of the traditional one found with Android. Aside from its palm friendly sized buttons, we have access simultaneously to both the basic and advanced functions.

Yeah it’s missing some organizer functions, but that’s where the Android Market comes to mind as we’re sure there are plenty of third party offerings available to fill in the gap.

Exploring the Internet:

When running the Android browser, its presentation is almost similar to what’s found with the Google Chrome browser on a desktop computer. Satisfying indeed, we’re presented with the conventional set of features like pinch gestures for zooming, smooth kinetic scrolling, double tap to zoom in/out, and long pressing for additional functions.

However, support for Flash 10.1 is uncharacteristically absent with the web browser – for now though. But don’t fret because it seems that a software update is going to be made available in the near future that will bring it along; thus completing its transformation in offering a true desktop like experience.

In the Action Bar, we have access to the navigation controls, address bar, opening a new tab, Google Search, and bookmarks – the latter of which will sync with your Google Chrome bookmarks. Also, we find the option to open a new tab in “incognito” mode which essentially covers your tracks while surfing the web; thus not leaving any cookies behind whatsoever.

And finally, the sharing features are all there as well since you have options like sending links via Bluetooth, Email, Facebook, Gmail, or Twitter.
In terms of performance, complex pages load up just like they do on a desktop browser, but it’s nice to see that we rarely find long passages of text being crunched into a narrow view. However, it would be nice for certain pages to automatically load their full experience as opposed to their mobile friendly variants – like Wikipedia. Not forgetting that this is a tablet optimized platform, it’s nice to see a new look with the browser as it offers some engaging features that are akin to tablet use.

Android Market:

Still in its infancy, the only thing that’s holding back Honeycomb is the paltry set of tablet optimized apps available in the Android Market. Sure we’re greeted to a new layout with the Android Market, which organizes searches between tablet optimized ones and the usual others found with the platform, but it would’ve been nice to see plenty of optimized third party apps from the onset. Regardless, we’re seeing more and more coming in with each passing day, and eventually, it’ll be at a healthy level.

With the new interface, there is a carousel of featured apps rotating in position at the top, while others are broken down by category beneath it – these include featured tablet apps, top fee apps, best-selling apps, and Verizon. Moreover, there is a section in the Action Bar that place you into the Books Market. And we no longer have to actually launch the Android Market to see any available updates because the platform will automatically pop up a notification for you.

Even though most of the legacy apps are freely available for download, we did experience some unexpected and abrupt force closures with certain apps. It appears that there are still some bugs with the new platform since apps continue to crash at random, but as we all know, it will more than likely be addressed with future updates. Ultimately, Honeycomb’s place in the tablet world is going to come down to its developers since they hold the keys in producing apps that are meticulously optimized for the tablet experience.


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