Andy Rubin at the Honeycomb event

There was quite a bit of news to come out of Mountain View, Calif., this past week, with the Android team giving us a more in-depth walkthrough of Honeycomb, plus the bevy of developers on hand. We got looks at a number of new (or revamped) applications coming soon to an Android tablet near you, and got to meet the talented developers behind them.

To say that there's an excitement building around Honeycomb would be quite the understatement. This is far, far more than just Android on a big screen.

So let's revisit the news of the past week. After the break, you'll find the entire presentation, plus demos of the apps. Enjoy!

Youtube link for mobile viewing

Phil goes to Android Mecca

Reader comments

Google Honeycomb event recap


I am really loving Honeycomb but there is one small thing that bugs me about it that has been bugging me (and also is bothersome on my phone with Froyo and every version of android.) How come when they go to place a widget somewhere on the screen, there is a grid that only allows you to move things certain places and not just anywhere on the screen? I can kinda get over it with my phone, but see no reason why this is necessary on a tablet with the larger screen size.

I am hoping what we are seeing here is just that they have a "lock to grid" control enabled and that it can be turned off to let you freely place something anywhere your heart desires.

Using LauncherPro Plus, you can resize widgets. Some widgets won't resize, but when you try, it will realign the widget. This removes the locked grid issue.

It's a nice OS, but too complex. It's more of a Windows tablet PC. The same ones that were unsuccessful before the iPad. The iPad is deliberately designed to be easy to use and not intended to be a full fledged OS like Mac OS 10. These Honeycomb devices are more akin to the Macbook Air than the iPad and when looked at in that vain, they fall short. The iPad is still in it's own category and will remain a big success. The Honeycomb devices will sell okay, but miss the mark that allows the iPad to be unique and continue its success.

If Apple puts these devices against the MacBook Air instead of the iPad in their comparisons, this may force others to see it the same way and that could very well affect it's sales.

Complex? Come on! Explain to us, why do you think this Honeycomb tablet is too complex for you?

As for the iPad, yeah, cannot argue with that, because it is just a giant launcher for apps. Basically it is just icons and icons and 1 tap to launch. With Android, you can have widget and that's the main different.

Oh by the way, you can use this Honeycomb tablet just like the iPad :) Just put all the icons, that's all.

i have managed to visit this site habitually for over a year and not feel the urge to comment on anything...

until i saw this comment...

WTFAREUTALKINGABOUTDUDE? ipad unique?...Yeah, you're right. It's noooooothing like the ipad...i mean ipod...or the iphone...

How I see it, a tablet is supposed to give you somewhat close to the functionality of a laptop combined with the extra mobility provided by a netbook or smartphone...NOT the functionality of a smartphone at the size of a netbook...

p.s. if the honeycomb os is too complex for you, i think the issue of how apple will market vs. hc devices and the effect it will have on hc device sales is WAAAAAYYYYY too complex for you to be commenting on...

The perceived complexity is more a reaction to a guided walkthrough than your own interaction with the device. If you go back to the earliest Engadget videos of iPad walkthroughs, the iPad seemed much more complex than it actually is in day to day operation. Remember when Steve Jobs first presented the iPad? Everyone questioned the point of the device. But once you play with one in an Apple Store, things are pretty obvious. Keep in mind that the purpose of these demonstrations is to pack as much information as possible in a few minutes.

Look at it this way. The apps are what make the device. It becomes whatever app is running at the moment: a calculator, a game like Angry Birds, a GPS app such as Navigon, the phone app to make or receive a call, the Web browser, iTunes, Mail, iPod, etc. You get my meaning? Hence the screen full of apps. It simply makes sense. It's more direct and honest. You can hide the apps and use widgets instead, but there are still apps behind them. You have instead, a screen full of widgets. Stop fooling yourself.

Honeycomb is taking the simplicity of the iPad and replacing it with a full desktop-like OS. This adds complexity and moves it away from the idea of a device between an iPhone and a MacBook. That simple! It now becomes more of a laptop than a iPad like appliance. Apple already builds laptops such as the very successful MacBook Air, which is what the Honeycomb devices are closest to. Apple's idea of a tablet is not to put a desktop OS like MacOS 10 on a tablet device. It has been shown not to work. I bet these devices will be more expensive than the iPad with lousy battery life. This leaves the iPad in a category all its own. Still unmatched in its simplicity and usability.

i bet u'd like iOS on your macbook air too...shoot why not put it on a Mac Pro while ur at it...

i mean after all, stop fooling yourself, behind all those icons, windows, and widgets and "stuff" ur just running apps...that's right APPlicationS...

we should all just take all our programs and make rows upon rows of shortcut icons on our desktop...forget the launcher, forget explorer/finder...let's just dump all our programs on the desktop...after all it's "simpler"...but wait...that's right...nobody does that

i doubt even you would...

(at the of risk of being labeled an indian giver i respectfully take back that last statement)

The reaction to my posting is becoming hostile. I know everyone here is hoping that this will be the one to finally beat the iPad. I'm simply saying it won't if it adds complexity, which Honeycomb does. It misses the mark and is more akin to a laptop than the iPad. I even think it will cost more than the most expensive iPad and have lousy battery life. I've stated my thoughts very clearly and maybe it will take the smartest among you to figure it out and explain to the rest. I don't even know if such a person exists in this forum.

I'm out people!

You can now return to your droid-states and continue worshipping and believing in all things Google.

Widgets are optional. The first thing I do with any Android device is remove the widgets. Even if you decide to keep them, it takes a split second to distinguish between apps and widgets.

What are you talking about when you say "a screen full of widgets"? Look at the top YouTube thumbnail on this page, and you see exactly two widgets, and half a dozen apps. Look at the 10 other video thumbnails on this page, and your seeing demos of apps, not widgets. You're overconceptualizing the interface.

Does anyone know the possibilities of running Honeycomb on any of the aPad/ePads like the Zenithink zt-180?

Ok, so I'm not one to normally pitch a fit, but seeing as how I am on this site every other nano second...Dear writers...SPELL CHECK PLEASE!