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2/2/2011
05:52 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Android 3.0 Honeycomb's Weakness: No Media Support

Google today detailed Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablet devices. While the platform has some nice feature, it is what Google didn't announce that's more important.

Google today detailed Android 3.0 Honeycomb for tablet devices. While the platform has some nice feature, it is what Google didn't announce that's more important.My colleague Gina Smith gave a good run down of today's announcement, but there are some key features missing in Android 3.0 Honeycomb -- and the greater Android ecosystem.

First, no music store. Google did not launch Google Music today. One of Android's continued weaknesses is its lack of a unified music experience. It has no iTunes to call its own. The best option is the Amazon MP3 store. While users can easily use Amazon MP3 to download songs to their device, there's no way to transfer them back to their PC easily.

Second, no desktop support for media. While it's great that Google syncs vital user data to the cloud, users don't have a desktop client to use for syncing their details nor their media. Sure, alternatives such as doubleTwist help to fill in this gap a bit, but it would be better for Google to provide the tools to manage this. Besides, doubleTwist isn't perfect.

Third, no movie store. Android users, even those sporting a spiffy Honeycomb tablet, don't have a central place to purchase video content. Google needs to create an ecosystem that can consistently deliver a good movie experience to tablet devices. It hasn't done that yet. Sideloading movies onto mobile devices is no fun, no fun at all.

The Honeycomb YouTube experience does look compelling, and the user interface tweaks certainly will be embraced by end users, but the entire user interface still lacks the polish of iOS, for example.

A device such as a tablet is begging to be used as a solid media device, and not just a browsing and video chatting device. I love watching movies on the iPad, and syncing it with iTunes is an absolute breeze. Android needs this power!

Google also failed to mention any enterprise-specific features, such as security and IT management support. Will Honeycomb include all the IT features baked into Android 2.2? How will this device be managed by IT -- if at all? Does Google even expect business users to flock to Honeycomb devices?

Despite some of the whiz-bang features that look good, Google left plenty unanswered about Honeycomb.

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