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3/10/2011
04:10 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Android 3.0 Honeycomb Is Doomed

Honeycomb is "by the geeks, for the geeks, and of the geeks," claims a Global Equities Research analyst, who says it will never have mass appeal.

Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry doesn't think Android 3.0 has a very good chance of scoring with consumers. In a note to investors, he claimed it is "by the geeks, for the geeks, of the geeks." In other words, only the technically inclined are apt think all that much of Honeycomb.

Chowdhry took issue with a number of problems he experienced on the Motorola Xoom, the first product to be released with Honeycomb 3.0 on board. He noted that the operating system froze and crashed often, exhibited poor battery life, and said that paying customers are going to get upset if their $800 device doesn't work properly.

Chowdhry isn't 100% wrong in saying that Honeycomb fails to live up to the level of polish that iOS does on the iPad -- it doesn't -- but it's still far too early to count Honeycomb out entirely.

After using Android 2.2 Froyo on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, using Android 3.0 Honeycomb on the Motorola Xoom was a bit of an eye opener. Where Froyo on the Tab felt like a glorified phone, Honeycomb on the Xoom feels like a more complete OS for a tablet.

Honeycomb offers five customizable home screens that can be accessed by swiping to the left or right. The design of these home pages is far more "tablet-like" than what is available on the Galaxy Tab. The larger display and extra real estate also helps to legitimize the feel of Honeycomb as a separate OS from the smartphone version of Android.

In terms of using the OS to move around and perform tasks, it is reasonably good. I noticed a lot of jitters, app crashes, and herky-jerky movement of the software. It feels as though it hasn't been optimized quite yet. The Android Market was on board, but there are barely any apps present that work with Honeycomb, and it was rather crashtastic.

After playing with Honeycomb for a few days, my overall first impressions are that it is in a 0.9 beta state. It's not 100% baked, not at all, but it is close. I fully expect Google will offer updates (hopefully in the near future) that solve a lot of the issues I noticed as user feedback begins to pour in.

Declaring it "by the geeks, for the geeks, and of the geeks" is somewhat insulting, as far as I am concerned. I think most consumers would be able to master Android Honeycomb in an hour's time. Certainly, anyone who uses an Android device will feel at home.

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