Posts tagged Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)
NVIDIA CEO – Jen-Hsun Huang is one smart guy, and has helped make NVIDIA on of the top tech companies in the world of GPU’s. Most recently, Huang went on the public record, and said that it is quite safe to assume that concerns and issues surrounding the initial batch of Android-powered tablets “have been largely addressed”, and that things are only going to get better and better. If we can all recall the glory days back to when the original handset was launched, and how far Android has come, and how many devices, countries, and carriers it has gone onto enjoy success with, then we are inclined to agree with Mr. Jen-Hsun Huang, and echo his ideas that things are only going to get better.
Google has reacted rather quickly to a few of the minor maladies in Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and is rolling out several key improvements through its Android 3.1 Honeycomb update, to improve the user experience and offer greater customization, and so forth. Hot off the heels of Google I/O – the development team at Android know that they have to set a strong, strident pace, to stay on top of the latest UI developments, and to help users achieve the experience they are looking for. On the hardware end, we have seen some beautiful tablets, like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s 8.9 and 10.1 inch, and are confident that, once production ramps up, that Android Honeycomb Tablets will begin to enjoy immense success. This too will motivate top developers to make great apps. Plus, with the promise of unifying Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and Android 3.0 Honeycomb in the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich Android 2.4 update, developers will have even greater incentive to produce the apps that users want. According to Huang, there are innumerable improvements expected, and the next generation of Android Honeycomb tablets will be even more awesome. Here’s a small excerpt from the CEO of NVIDIA – Jen Hsun Huang:
“A new wave of tablets are now ramping up and are even more affordable and available on retail channels with WiFi configurations all over the world. You’re also starting to see a lot of different shade of platforms, from devices that are like the Asus transformer where it is a tablet in one configuration and has a detachable keyboard in another configuration. And so those kind of devices are getting a lot of interest and available in computer channels all over the world.
We’re going to expect another wave of tablets that are coming out to the marketplace now, ones that are even thinner and even lighter than the best offerings from anyplace, any supplier in the world. And those devices are just in the process of ramping. There’s the really exciting new build of Honeycomb called Honeycomb 3.1 that Google just demonstrated the other day at Google I/O. We are basically stitching that up now.”
NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 platform was made the reference hardware platform by Google for Android Honeycomb 3.0. Currently, NVIDIA s working closely with Google on Ice Cream Sandwich, but unfortunately declined to comment on whether the timing was good for a release of the Tegra 3 quad core chip.
As we know, things always improve. The pace of innovation from both a hardware and software perspective is simply staggering – and it’s accelerating. Companies are playing for keeps, and so are users. Do you think good times are ahead, dear reader?
We already know (or think we know) that Google TV will play a big role at Google IO next week, under the veil of Android. But if you connect the dots it seems like Google may be planning a powerful foray into the gaming market that could compete with traditional gaming consoles like XBOX360, PS3, and Wii. Let’s follow the trail of clues:
- First of all, we expect Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) to merge with Google TV in the source code for the upcoming release of Android x.x (Ice Cream Sandwich).
- That’ll lay a lot of behind the scenes groundwork, ultimately making the deployment of Android Market on Google TV a much easier task (which we hope to see at Google IO).
Android Market on Google TV provides plenty of gaming fodder alone, but it goes deeper:
- Last year, Google bought into game company Zynga, investing $100 million
- GTVsource reports that Google is currently seeking a Project Manager and Developer Advocate that are gaming related positions.
- GTVsource also confirms that Google TV will receive an overhaul at Google IO to include increased performance, improved UI and… Android apps.
Google clearly recognizes gaming as a frontier opportunity and lately it seems like they’ve lived by the “Go big or go home” motto. Why settle for continuing down the mobile gaming road when they’ve got all the assets to create a gaming juggernaut that competes with the current leaders and takes gaming to the next level?
In this scenario, ridiculously powerful graphics aren’t what I mean by “the next level” but once they develop a critical mass of manufacturers/developers/consumers, technology certainly won’t be holding them back. Much like the inception of Android, the next level of gaming wouldn’t initially be about specs and hardware, but opening the doors of opportunity by unlocking the front door of competition. And once everyone starts walking in, power in numbers handles the rest. Let’s pretend we’re in Rob’s fantasy land for a moment and see how things could potentially play out.
- Google merges GTV with Android source and launches Android Market on Google TV
- As apps and games galore pour into GTV Market the value of owning Google TV rises considerably
- More people buy GTV as its a natural and immediate extension of what they already enjoy
- More manufacturers start building GTV compatible devices and accessories, from TVs and Set Top Boxes to Remote Controls and Keyboards
- Without the requirement for “mobile”, devices would be MUCH more powerful, have a MUCH greater storage capacity, and will always have high speed Internet connections out
There are already hundreds of millions of Android users in the world. All their information, apps, games, connections, preferences and more are already connected to their E-Mail account. Simply connect Google TV and all of a sudden you’ve got an integrated entertainment system that can:
- Download hundreds of GB of games (free and paid) over your Wi-Fi connection
- Play pretty intense games created especially for the big screen: without the need to make the device compact for mobile consumption, manufacturers can affordably beef up their offerings.
- Connect with your friends or groups of friends to play head to head games in real-time over your Wi-Fi connection (at no additional cost)
- Take the entire Android experience into your home at a very, very low price
And what if Google launches Google Music? Download music on your phone, then listen to it on your Home Entertainment System through Google TV, then load it up on your tablet? Anywhere you’ve got an Android device with a login/pass you’ve got apps, games, music, movies, books and everything else you can imagine right in front of you. Not to mention the ability to use your Google Contacts and connections through apps like Facebook and Foursquare to drive your TV entertainment and Gaming experience.
How cool would it be to browse through your local TV listings and at the bottom of the screen see how many of your friends (and which ones) are currently watching that same station? What if you were able to interact with them while the show was going on, through text, audio, and even video? What if you could instantly challenge friends to games, everything from sports games to first person shooter of intensely high quality?
Once Google gets Android Market onto GTV, this could very well play out. Would you rather pay $300 bucks for a system that offers everything you can possibly imagine, already integrated with your life as soon as you plug it in? Of course there will be the real “gamers” who require the real stuff, but the masses will want GTV. Once the masses have it in their hands, developers start developing for it. Before you know it… GTV has become the “real stuff” for the “real gamers”.
Android won’t likely overpower XBOX 360 or PS3 anytime in the next few years, but very well could within a decade. I mean come on, using your Android Phone as a controller it could probably be as good as a Wii out of the box. And there’s a reason Sony Ericsson has the XPERIA Play bulit on Android.
Android has a bright gaming future but perhaps mostly on Google TV. Oh wait, I forgot, they’re almost the same thing. And once they are… that’s half the battle.
A new report claims that NVIDIA has announced they will not offer the necessary Android 3.0 Honeycomb driver update to earlier versions of the companies popular Tegra 2 SoC processor. Lots of Android tablets currently being offered could be endanger.
The Tegra 2 chip which is a pretty old chip (by industry standards) and it has been offered in three versions thus far. Now only the two oldest versions are not getting Android 3.0 driver support Betelgeuse and Harmony (both codenames). The third and newest version of Tegra 2 named Ventana will get the updated Android 3.0 drivers.
Newer tablets like the Motorola XOOM are using the Ventana version of Tegra 2 chips. However older but still relatively popular tablets like the Advent Vega, Notion Ink Adam, Toshiba Folio 100 and ViewSonic G-Tablet all use the two older version of Tegra 2 named above.
Not getting the update means even if Android 3.0 gets ported to those older Tegra 2 tablets system optimization and performance won’t be the best it can be. You see Android 3.0 offers hardware video acceleration which the Tegra 2 can benefit greatly from given the GeForce GPU and dual 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 cores installed on the SoC.
The Android Honeycomb defeatists have already declared the Xoom a flop. While this might be true in financial circles, where savvy investors are looking for the companies that offer the best combination of high margins, and willing hordes of zombie like consumers foaming at the mouth for the latest product they release, Android users a bit too smart for this nonsense. Thankfully, a company called Asus has truly stepped up to the plate and created something magical. Read below for our detailed review and comparison on why we think the Asus Eee Pad Transformer is a particularly innovative and compelling product.
Reading the comments everyday like I do, I think it’s safe to say that intelligent, price conscious shoppers are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the following:
- Prices of Honeycomb tablets to go down, maybe to as low as $350
- The number of apps for Honeycomb to grow and become available
- For the development community to kick into high gear and start producing some seriously innovative stuff
- For the majority of major companies to actually release their wares
So, What Makes the Perfect Honeycomb Tablet?
In all likelihood, people just want a good quality tablet that has great performance, a nice screen that is viewable under most circumstances, good build quality, excellent battery life, and basic, to-be-expected functionality, out of the box. Yes, this includes Flash and SD card functionality as well.
Right now, it’s looking like a repeat of the Netbook wars of 2009/2010. Currently, we have two companies, both from Taiwan, with substantial experience in playing the low margins game. Acer and Asus have debuted their respective offerings, and both are coming Stateside shortly.
Acer Iconia A500 Vs. Asus Eee Pad Transformer
While similarly positioned in terms of specs, there are a few differences that should not go unheeded. We’ve heard reports that both tablets are coming off the same manufacturing lines, most likely assembled by the same sets of hands. Nevertheless, lets see how they stack up!
Both tablets have the NVidia Tegra 2 system on a chip powering them, which is clocked at 1GHz with 1GB RAM. The Nvidia Tegra 2 Soc performs really well on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, so we should consider them very similar performance wise.
The Acer Iconia A500 tablet does contain twice the onboard storage, with 32GB versus the Transformers’ 16GB. Further to this, it also has a better quality front facing camera, and supposedly, a better warranty. Another important thing to know about the Transformer is that it has a microSD slot, as well as an additional full SD Card slot on the Keyboard dock, so theoretically, you could get 32GB+32GB+16GB for a total of 80GB of storage.
The Acer Iconia A500 is thicker & heavier, but just slightly. Further to this it is missing the wonderful keyboard dock addition that the Transformer has, which makes it virtually the same as all other tablets currently on the market, or set to be released shortly.
Strangely, it looks like Acer has dropped the ball on this one. A product sibling of the Iconia A500 is the Iconia W500, which is essentially the Windows Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde version of the A500. This particular model, while aesthetically identical, does come with a keyboard accessory very similar to that of the Eee Pad Transformer’s, but Acer has unfortunately decided that it was not ‘a good fit’ for the A500.
While we haven’t had a chance to compare two production models side by side, we did get a chance to feel them before. The Acer Iconia A500, while a good quality unit, had some flex to it which caused us some concern. Plus, we know that the Asus Eee Pad Transformer has a display with the brilliant IPS technology, that has a great viewing angle, and works well under sunlight. Additionally, the Asus Eee Pad’s display comes with Gorilla Glass, which we know from experience is incredible at resisting scratches.
Winner: Asus Eee Pad Transformer
Here we are talking about the difference of approximately $50, with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer set to be released for the price of $399.99, while the Acer Iconia A500 is being released at $449.99. We know these days, every bit counts.
It’s no secret we’re big fans of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer. With it’s innovative form factor, great battery life, 2 SD Card slots, excellent IPS display, and Keyboard dock, we’re going to give it a big thumbs up!
TAIWANESE HARDWARE FIRM Asus has released the source code for Google’s Android Honeycomb operating system on the product page for its Eee Pad Transformer tablet.
On the support page for Asus’ flagship hybrid tablet, anyone can download the kernel source code for the Honeycomb operating system. It is named Version V188.8.131.52 on the website and is a 97MB file. This is despite Google not releasing the code and also delaying the release of the operating system to developers.
Google has released the software development kit for Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which it made available at the end of February.
Asus is playing by the rules here, complying with the GNU General Public License (GPL) which, in simple terms, states that it must make the source code available that goes with the device.
The Honeycomb download on the Asus website isn’t the full Android 3.0 Honeycomb source code, though, but it should allow developers to start developing for the device. For that matter, developers can start coding away for any other device running Android 3.0 Honeycomb, too.
Google’s operating system that is specifically designed for tablets will appear on a number of devices from different manufacturers this year, such as Motorola’s Xoom and HTC’s Flyer. It is set to take an increasing share of the tablet market over the coming year.
The tablet, which will be one of the first tablets with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, can be pre-ordered at Amazon.co.uk, as well as at other retailers. It is priced at £379.99 without the keyboard dock and has an expected shipping date of 18 April.
We’ve been sent a message by HTC asking us to update our notes here about the HTC EVO View 4G. Apparently when we reported yesterday that Sprint’s HTC EVO View 4G was to ship with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, they’d jumped the gun on their website, which is where the whole world looks for solid info. Now consider this: what does Gingerbread mean for the world of Android phones? HTC EVO View 4G will certainly be upgraded to Android 3.0 Honeycomb soon after it’s released, but does this mean the Gingerbread wave is finally upon us?
What I speak of is of course a combination of the fact that Google doesn’t release its source code all at once, instead choosing a hero device with which they can wow the world, then moving on to the lowly peasants who all get it at the same time. You’re aware of the Nexus S, I’m sure, but did you know that there was another candidate in the Xperia PLAY?
Have a look at a story by the name of Playstation phone confirmed as former Gingerbread hero phone and consider this: with so few phones on the market this moment with Gingerbread and now both the Nexus S and Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY out there, does the HTC EVO View 4G with Gingerbread, again, show itself as a sign of the Gingpocalypse?
Have a look with us at the most dominant weather app in the Android world, this one optimized not only for Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but specifically for the giant screens that Honeycomb is meant for. This is WeatherBug, an app made by WeatherBug Mobile, and we’ve got it working on the Motorola XOOM. This app is not only free, it’s utterly professional, and the ads that make it free are basically completely hidden (or built in so well you don’t even notice them as out of place.
When you first open the app, you notice one thing – your location shows up. Of course, there’s several other locations that show up as well, but you’d like to see the temperature in New York, right? I would. Every other little bit of weather you could ever want to see, the same stuff you’d see on the screen whilst watching the daily news and weather on television. And more. Each city has a tiny arrow in the corner showing that you could click it, or click it twice quickly rather, and there’s even MORE information, like what time of the day the sun is going to rise and set – a feature we’d like all by itself, and here it is in a bigger more awesome app.
And all of this is on the first screen. It’s difficult to say anything negative about this app, and not at all because it’s totally free. The first page has weather information and forecast, the second page has a map that’ll show you a Weather Layer on top of Satellite and Traffic layers fed by Google, those layers adjustable by opacity and animation frames delivered as clouds pass by.
Yes there’s basically a bonus feature that consists of real-world photographs from participating locations in your city. How often are these photos updated? It’s unclear, but that’s alright. Clearly these photos are inside the… hour? We can see that it’s night, and that there’s snow on the ground. That seems pretty accurate for us. If these photos are updated inside the hour, all the better.
Since Accuweather fails at life as a widget on Android 3.0, it brings us great pleasure to inform you that Weatherbug for Honeycomb has been released and is available for free! It has a widget (small one) that actually works, you can set up multiple cities to track, and the UI is a knock-off of Android 3.0 that we 100% approve of. This is how you do a tablet app. Oh, and you’ll also notice a barometer reading because the XOOM has one, unlike some other tablets.
Download Link (free)
The final two features aren’t features really, they’re settings including Units, My Location, and Background Weather Updating, and a screen that’ll allow you to add cities to your list of watched locations. This feature is dense too in that you’re allowed to get quite specific on where you are as well as which weather station you’d like to follow. Well played!
If you reside in the United Kingdom and have a hankering to own the new Android Gingerbread tablet out of the HTC stable, the HTC Flyer, which is reportedly due release sometime in April, you might like to know you can now pre-order the device.
According to an article over on T3, the first retailer to offer the Android HTC Flyer for pre-order in the UK is Clove although the tablet does come with quite a hefty price in tow, 600 quid inclusive of VAT.
However that £600 is not an official price from HTC so apparently that hefty asking price will be altered once HTC confirms the final pricing for the HTC Flyer.
The HTC Flyer is a 7-inch slate sporting a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera and 1.3 megapixel front facing camera, 1.5Ghz processor, 1GB RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, microSD expansion up to 32GB, GPS, Evernote sync, smart stylus, digital compass and ambient light sensor.
However, with the HTC Flyer coming out to play sporting that Android Gingerbread OS rather than Google’s tablet specific OS Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the HTC Flyer may have a battle on its hands against the likes of the Motorola Xoom and LG Optimus Pad.
Looks like HTC’s premiere superphone circa 2009, the HD2, is still alive and kicking. XDA member imilka has cooked up not one, but two impressive ROM dueling for the top spot on your HTC Leo. Hit the break for more details and all the relevant links!
- [Blue Pill] First up is a brand new, highly functioning port of SenseUI 2.1-laced Android 2.3.2 Gingerbread from the Desire S. While this ROM is still undergoing heavy development, it seems like almost everything other than the camera is functioning. That said, don’t be surprised if there are a few gremlins hidden inside. Continue on to the imilka’s Gingerbread Sense thread if you’re feeling brave…
- [Red Pill] Next up is the second release of a Honeycomb SDK port by the same developer, along with substantial contributions from fellow XDA developer crawlingcity, who added significant changes upping the day-to-day usabilty of the ROM for its second version. As to be expected in any SDK port, the gremlins here don’t even pretend to be in hiding. Even with crawlingcity‘s contributions, this ROM is not suitable as a daily driver, as the list of broken components is almost as long as the list of working ones. However, it’s still fun for a test drive, right? Continue on to the imilka’s (and crawlingcity’s) HD2 Honeycomb Development Central thread if you’re feeling crazy…
Who said mobile devices can’t live forever… Which one of these ROMs will win its place in your device’s heart?
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.
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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.