Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

Summary: Every day I hear from people who inform me that tablets running pre-Honeycomb versions of Android are not "real tablets". My own experience with tablets running Froyo, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb tells a very different story.

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Google made it clear that the Honeycomb (and later) versions of Android are required for larger screened tablet devices, and unfortunately that has created a false impression with those who follow tablets. Every day I hear from people who inform me that tablets running Froyo or Gingerbread are not "real tablets", as that requires Honeycomb. My hands-on experience with multiple tablets running Froyo, Gingerbread, and Honeycomb tells a very different story.

The main argument I get from folks is that tablets running Froyo or Gingerbread are just big phones, not tablets. That may be accurate but you know what? That's not a bad thing in my experience. When I use a tablet I focus on one task at a time, no matter what platform it is running. I want the app to take over the whole screen and let me do what I need to do. Just because a tablet only displays one app at a time doesn't negate the multi-tasking that sets all versions of Android apart from the competition. Other tasks keep running fine in the background, but get out of my way when I'm busy doing a specific thing.

I find the Samsung Galaxy Tab running Froyo to be a very useful, highly productive device. The HTC Flyer I am testing now with Gingerbread is even better. Neither of these run Honeycomb, and I am glad about that. My foray into the Honeycomb tablet waters has been less than satisfactory so far. The "real tablet" interface of Honeycomb is a confusing mess, with different software controls all over the place on the screen. Using a Honeycomb tablet is not as good for me given the lack of focus that is not found in previous OS versions. Honeycomb is all over the place, and that is not a desirable thing.

Sure Honeycomb is required to use apps optimized for the larger tablet screen, but there's nothing compelling available to make that an issue for me. Regular Android apps display just fine on 7-inch tablet screens, and I'm not missing anything. I would definitely want Honeycomb on 10-inch tablets, but I prefer the smaller 7-inch form so that's not an issue for me either.

I'm sure Honeycomb will get better over time, or perhaps Ice Cream Sandwich will be the version that brings things all together. But for now, there is a misconception that tablets running anything other than Honeycomb are not good, and the reality couldn't be more different. Google is selling partner tablets short by maintaining that Honeycomb is the platform for tablets. It is just not true in my view.

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Topics: Laptops, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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32 comments
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  • Versions, versions, versions

    Instead of giving names to different versions, it'd be less confusing to the consumers if simple version numbers are made public. As it is, the gingerbread, honeycomb, froyo et all do not have ANY relationship with OSs. I want a tablet, with latest (and hopefully better) OS. GoogleAndroid V3.1.1 would be helpful.
    gurughantal@...
    • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

      @gurughantal@... it's alphabetical order

      eclair = version x
      froyo= version x +1
      gingerbread= version x +2
      honeycomb = version x +3
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@...
        lol.
        it took me far to long to realise the same applies to ubuntu naming as well.
        I think its a nice way to make it not so technical.
        Unlike OSX which does have its naming all over the shop!
        Will T
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@... ice cream sandwich = version x +?
        The_Omega_Man
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@...

        Eclair was 2.1
        Froyo was 2.2
        Gingerbread was 2.3
        Honeycomb is where it gets messy because it's still Android but it runs some things differently. It's 3.0/3.1
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @TheOmegaMan

        It's early days to pick a revision number for Ice Cream Sandwich. Whether you agree with the assessment or not, Google's revision numbers are actually indicative of scope. It's not like Apple for instance saying, "In this .1 revision, we're adding Garageband." Then a year later, "In this .1 revision we're going to change our entire hardware platform." as if the two things were at all similar in scope. Is 11 an unlucky number or something?
        tkejlboom
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@... Hurricanes are named in alphabetical order as well, does that make them good :-)
        non-biased
  • Message has been deleted.

    slickjim
  • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

    I've only played with Honeycomb on a XOOM for a few minutes and I liked it. My ASUS Transformer will be waiting for me today when I get home from work so I Can really dive into the OS then.
    Bates_
  • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

    With Google making that statement about pre Honeycomb tablets, they essentially set the bar very high for the Honeycomb OS. But what they released came nowhere near the bar that they themselves set (Froyo isn't optimized for tablets). Honeycomb's buggy, unstable and half baked, confusing, feels too much like Windows desktop OS. The Samsung 7" Tab offered better and more polished apps than what was included with Moto's Xoom, the flagship Honeycomb tablet. <br><br>So after the disappointing release of Honeycomb, I won't be surprise if both manufacturers and consumers take a second look at Froyo and Gingerbread tablets. Expectation has been lowered.
    dave95.
    • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

      @dave95.

      That is going to be Google's biggest challenge. everything up to, and including, Honeycomb felt like a beta. People ding RIM, but Google is no better.

      What the greatest challenge is for the CEMs is how to make a profit without being left holding the bag with unsold inventory. There will eventually be an attrition in the marketplace with these multitude of vendors. Not all of the CEMs are in a position for the long term carrying costs of these iterative works.
      Your Non Advocate
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@... True, but without Google's foray into the mobile OS space, doing it the way that the have done, many of the CEMs out there, would not have had even a fighting chance to enter into this market space. Success or fail, at least they can try to play, versus watching the game continuously be played by only the bigger players. This (hopefully) sparks some industry innovation by those who wish to differentiate their products. The entire Mobile industry is basically in Beta test mode. There Google is no different and they too are learning as they go.
        The_Omega_Man
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @The_Omega_Man...

        "The entire Mobile industry is basically in Beta test mode. There Google is no different and they too are learning as they go"

        Was with you until you made the above statement. Sure the entire industry is learning as they go but Google is the clear standout in releasing unfinished and unpolished "beta" to the public. They were even bold enough to add "beta" into the naming of their Cloud Music service (Music Beta - by Google), where before "beta" would be in small letters in the sub title. They would like the general public to get used to the idea of beta cause it allows them to release quickly instead of taking the time to get it polished.

        Honeycomb is a perfect example to this, they released it unfinished to select manufacturers like Moto, Samsung and then closed it off to others who had high expectations. Companies like Acer had to delay their tablets yet again until Honeycomb is deemed ready enough by Google.

        Google TV is another perfect example of Google's beta program on display.
        dave95.
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @facebook@... I think Honeycomb was INHERENTLY a Beta release, at best (I like the original, pre-Microsoft version of "beta" -- we have found all the bugs we can, not it's your turn).

        The problem is their release process. Most OSs get a wide variety of field testing during a beta release -- Microsoft, as buggy as they are, had millions of people using an OS during their "beta" phase.

        Google does it differently. They develop the new OS in-house, like most closed development companies (that's fine, Google never promised open development, only open source). When they're ready for release, though, they annoint just one device for the port -- this last time, it was the Xoom. They work with just that one device, one manufacturer, and whatever pre-production prototypes they have to implement and test the port. On the day that device hits the market, they release code to other major OEMs.

        So the beta phase, if there actually is an official one, is limited to essentially the smallest group Google could possibly target. I'm sure it's very organized, but it's small. And not just that -- it's a company rushing to deliver a new hardware product. So their focus is inherently more on the hardware, which ships one-way, versus the OS, which could be updated in a month or two (which, of course, happened... Xooms got 3.1 at GoogleIO time).

        They would deliver a far, far better first release if they had more testing. Specifically, given the myriad of 2.x tablets out there, allowing developers access to code to port to existing tablets, even if they weren't permitted to ship the code, would have permitted drastically better testing of the OS itself.
        Hazydave
  • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

    CEMs can not use Froyo or gingerbread for screen sizes over 1024x600, (technically 854x480 but they have found a way to stretch the current limits) that is where Honeycomb comes in. Honeycomb was not designed to run in less than 1280x720 screen resolution, so that is where I've cream sandwich is supposed to come in. Goggle is not running away from the smaller tablets but does not have an official, "tablet," os specifically built for those screen sizes yet.
    The_Omega_Man
    • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

      @The_Omega_Man Gee.. even crappy old Windows supports 640x480 up to 2400x1600. It's true that 2.x isn't designed to support over 1024x600, but 1280 x 768 is simply the default/target resolution of Honeycomb, not the min or the max.
      Hazydave
  • iPad

    Just get an iPad, better experience, nicer hardware and it's the standard when it comes to tablets..
    Hasam1991
    • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

      @Hasam1991 The iproducts are simple mobile products with the training wheels still attached. Android products are for the folks that want to really get things done. IMHO. <br><br>No Flash Support = FAIL for me, as I am unable to get the things done that I need to do, without it.<br><br><br>On the "nicer" hardware front, I would pit any of the current compatible hardware platforms up against any of the current iproducts.<br><br>People like choices, that is why there really is so such "standard," in the CEM space. Given no other option, people will naturally choose what is currently there and available. Given viable options that will typically turn into a nice (possibly even) distribution curve. The "standard" will typically lie at the Platform level, rather than at the Product level.<br><br>And WHY would you even bring iproducts into a discussion about Google's mobile OS and it's supporting platforms, in the first place? As it really adds nothing useful to the discussion, at hand, here.
      The_Omega_Man
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @The_Omega_Man <br><br>Ok so list the things you would like to get done on Android tablets that you can't on the iPad? With over 70k iPad specific apps ready to get things done with, vs a handful on Honeycomb, I would love to hear your answer. One can even view Flash content if they so choose.
        dave95.
      • RE: Google is selling pre-Honeycomb tablets short, they work fine

        @The_Omega_Man I agree that it shouldn't have been brought into the discussion to begin with and also appreciate your use of IMHO. That is what is so lacking in most of these discussions. In your opinion you can't really get things done on an iDevice which might very well be true for your needs but not for others which is why the IMHO is appreciated. You are not trying to fit EVERYONE into your requirements.
        non-biased