Tag Archives: Android 3.0 Honeycomb

Android 3.0 Honeycomb

It would appear my previous post about 20 tablets so far being announced at CES was premature, apparently there’s been over 200 so far! So there’s no doubting that 2011 will be the year of the tablet, but what isn’t clear just yet, is who will be the winners and who will be the losers (The Motorola Xoom looks like this years Tablet to watch).

What is clear however, is Google have invested a huge amount of resources and thinking into the next version of Android, plus their Open Source approach is paying huge dividends, it’s obvious they will win no matter which hardware manufacturer wins or loses, as their OS takes the lion’s share of upcoming tablets. As you can see from the video, Android 3.0 is a radical redesign and will propel the OS popularity even further.

A big question circulating at the moment is what will Apple do in response with the iPad to all these new tablets? Unfortunately my guess is, not much right now. It’s not like they didn’t expect to see a huge range of tablets being announced at CES this year, but Apple aren’t know to make knee jerk reactions, they will continue with their meticulously planned iPad 2 release in a month or so and it will be seen by many as safe yet lacklustre upgrade, both in hardware and software (unlikely to have any major OS updates, just functionality and apps, ie camera app etc). iOS is great on phones, but already it’s looking a bit cumbersome, even Microsoft’s Windows Mobile has the edge in many respects, so iOS on the iPad, while functional, is hardly showing the hardware and the platform off to it’s full, there’s so much more Apple could and should be doing. Their desktop OSX has always been their crown jewels and was always years ahead of the competition, but the last couple of updates have lacked any huge innovations, and the competition has caught up.

Apple are of course hugely successful and make incredibly robust and well integrated hardware and software solutions, but they really need to pull the rabbit out of the hat with the next major iOS update, otherwise within a couple of years, their dominance of the tablet and smart phone markets will have all but disappeared.

Android Honeycomb Showcased at CES

interview with Matias Duarte (Director, Android User Experience)

Hey Man, You Wanna Buy Some Tabs?

Is there a single large electronics company NOT announcing a Tablet at CES this year? I’ve read about 20 so far and the numbers keep growing! There’s dual screens (NEC Cloud Communicator, not good), one with a coloured e-ink display (Pocket Book Mirasol, I’m really interested in that one!), one using a LED / eInk Display (Notion Ink Adam, really neat idea, and finally announced!), plus numerous other me toos… but thankfully at least one of them doesn’t look like an iPad clone (I mean in the hardware design department, although it’s still pretty similar)… plus it’s the one that’s been eagerly awaited by the tech industry and I’ve been really interested in seeing, Blackberry’s Playbook (personally I don’t think it’s the best name for a Tablet that will be purchased predominantly within the business sector, but what do I know).

Regardless of the name, it looks like Blackberry have been working hard at creating a pretty slick Tablet, that’s feature rich, responsive, comfortable in the hand and is likely to sell very very well when it’s finally released in the coming months. It’s most similar competitor and undoubtedly main rival after the iPad, is Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which has been out a few months already and has been selling well (thankfully that’s another manufacturer that decided to differentiate itself from the iPad a bit, by adding a white backside). I’ve played around with a Galaxy Tab and it seemed pretty nice, although I found the UI a little frustrating at times, but I’m sure after a few hours I’d get used to it.

Also Google unveiled it’s latest upcoming release, Android 3.0, Honeycomb, designed specifically for Tablets, as the review and video shows, this looks nothing like previous versions of Android for mobile phones… so I’m not sure what the UI of the next release of Android for mobile phones will look like, but keeping the Android UI consistent will be on everyones mind, let’s hope it’s on Googles too.

Neither of these would make me want to part with my iPad, I’ve invested way too many years in Apple and it’s eco-system for me to change now, but new uses without a legacy will find them worthy competitors and on a hardware only comparison, way ahead on features to the current iPad. Although Steve Jobs would disagree entirely, I feel these smaller sized Tablets are an ideal compromise of portability and function.

My iPad is great, often I’ve carried it instead of my MacBook for meetings and presentations, it’s great for recording and taking notes and the screen is an ideal size to show video and slides etc, but it’s too big to carry all the time. I didn’t bring my iPad with me on a recent backpacking trip to Cambodia, as it’s just too big and heavy (although I packed my Kindle!), plus even when I do have it with me on the underground, I don’t feel comfortable using it for reading or catching up on stuff, but with a 7″ version I would. Steve’s argument that a 7″ screen is too small for a tablet to be a useful touchscreen device is flawed, he only has to reach into his pocket and pull out his own iPhone to realise that, yes I agree the larger screen on the current iPad is great when you’re in the office, or at home, but out and about it’s a little cumbersome.

Of course Steve won’t be seen to go back on his word, sadly there won’t be a 7″ iPad anytime soon, if ever (shame as I would have bought one, another 10″ screen with a speed bump and cameras will not be enough incentive for me to purchase a new one)… although of course he never said there wouldn’t be a new 7″ iPod Touch! we live in hope

Engadget Blackberry Play Book review
Samsung Galaxy Tab website
Android 3.0 Honeycomb video