11 Comments

Summary:

A YouTube video showing the new Honeycomb, or Google Android 3.0 features, appeared briefly and then was removed. A quick glimpse shows the best of Android 2.2 plus optimized apps for larger screens, such as Gmail, Google Books and video chat on Google Talk.

honeycomb-gmail

Google may have cut the leash on Honeycomb a bit early as a promotional video showing the features of Android 3.0 briefly appeared on the Android Developer YouTube channel before being pulled. Engadget was quick to get a backup copy and has the full video on display. I caught a glimpse and here’s what I saw, although I recommend you take a gander at the full 92 second clip.

  • Larger widgets on home screen which coexist with Android application shortcuts and provide glanceable information without having to open an app. I think widgets are one of the key advantages Android holds over iOS at the moment and Google is wise to leverage them for its tablet operating system.
  • Unlike the current multi-page native browser found on Android devices, Honeycomb brings true multi-tabbed browsing, just as some third-party browsers such as Dolphin HD, do today. The browser looks more like Chrome in that regard.
  • An optimized Google Books app with visual page animations indicates that Google is ready to really go after the growing e-book market.
  • Gmail gets an overhaul with smart sliding panes for inbox, messages and content. The interface reminds me of Twitter on the iPad, which uses a similar slide experience for virtual screen expansion.
  • The new YouTube video app shows the video library in a 3-D-like wall, similar to the photo Gallery in Android 2.2, although it doesn’t appear that videos are “stackable” by category or any other means.
  • Video chat won’t be relegated to third parties such as Skype, Tango and others: Honeycomb brings Google Talk video chat between tablets and desktops.

Although the new optimizations for large screen devices are welcome, it’s nice to see some of the best bits of Android are still there. Aside from the widget support, I see the native sharing feature made the cut: there’s no need for sharing bookmarklets and shortcuts because Android integrates third-party apps for sharing URLs, photos and more. All of a sudden, my Samsung Galaxy Tab with Android 2.2 just got a little stale!

Image credit: Engadget

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  1. john J Jinglehimer Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    I wonder when we can se this released. I haven’t seen a any dates.

    1. Earliest date that I’ve seen or heard so far is April, although Motorola said that their Android 3.0 tablet will be here by end of the first quarter: essentially April, if they wait until the last day of the quarter. ;)

      1. I’m not understanding what the big deal with honeycomb is. What is honeycomb? People are saying they want the Notion Adam Ink, but it doesn’t have honeycomb. What does that mean? I just want an ereader w/out a backlight so I can read pdf files and scanned books from eGoogle. I also wanna do pdf annotations and take notes on those books and be able to import and export those files with notes on them. Does honeycomb make this happen?

  2. T-Mobile, LG Team Up for Honeycomb G-Slate Tablet: Mobile Technology News « Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    [...] I see why that video of Google Android 3.0 was floating around the web earlier today: the Honeycomb tablets are leaving the hive. T-Mobile just announced their G-Slate tablet, which is [...]

  3. Motorola at CES: Smartphones, Tablets and a Lapdoc?: Mobile Technology News « Thursday, January 6, 2011

    [...] over Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G and a 5 megapixel rear camera for stills and 720p video recording. As noted in yesterday’s introductory video of Honeycomb, video chat will be supported directly in Google Talk. Xoom will also function as a mobile hotspot, [...]

  4. What is honeycomb, and why is everyone waiting for it? I just want an ereader w/out a backlight so I can read my scanned books and pdfs from Google ebooks for about 6 hours a day w/out burning my eyes out. I need annotations options on those pdfs and ebooks and the ability to import/export the annotations. Does honeycomb do that?

  5. German American Forum Monday, January 10, 2011

    So is honeycomb exclusive for tablets? It isn’t related to phone OS at all? Seems like a whole new operating system, not an extension of Android (althought it is ANdroid based). That would be like saying Google TV is one of the Android dessert lineage.

    1. Neither Google nor the hardware manufacturers have been clear on this, but my take so far is that it’s for tablets only. The redesigned apps for tablets will be too big to “fit” on a 4.3″ or smaller smartphone screen based on what I’ve seen so far. I don’t know that I’d call it a whole new operating system, however. The apps and UI might be unique, but much of the underlying operating system should be similar, if not the same. There’s a difference between UI and OS.

  6. (Less Than) A Month In The Life of Tech: Tech News and Analysis « Friday, January 21, 2011

    [...] Microsoft will develop Windows for ARM. CES was all about tablets and not PCs or netbooks. AndAndroid “Honeycomb” won the CES hype award, a marked shift from previous years when Microsoft almost always won the [...]

  7. Why I Just Dumped the iPad (Hint: Size Matters): Mobile Technology News « Friday, January 21, 2011

    [...] not likely I’ll jump on one of the new Honeycomb tablets that are coming soon, however. Android 3.0 looks great but all of the announced slates are still 10-inches in size, which means these devices will have [...]

  8. Honeycomb: What You Need to Know (It’s Not Just For Tablets): Mobile Technology News « Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    [...] second, I realize that there’s another perspective to today’s Honeycomb event. Namely: nothing major was shown today that wasn’t either expected or previously announced as a “coming soon” bit from Google in the past. The web-based [...]

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