Thursday, January 6, 2011

Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) preview

I was looking at the preview of the Motorola XOOM tablet at PhoneArena. Nothing gimmicky, with the XOOM, just a nice solid Android 3.0 reference tablet. The XOOM has a 10.1-inch capacitive screen high resolution 1280x800 screen, a 5MP HD camcorder, front facing camera, dual-core ARM-based Tegra 2 chipset. The Motorala XOOM is officially the first Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet. 

On the same page was a preview of the Google Android 3.0 operating system which you can view below.

As interesting as the Motorola XOOM is, the Android 3.0 preview was more instructive. The video starts saying "The Next Generation of Android" and that "Built Entirely for Tablet". I think this reinforces our view that there will be a for in Android development. Android 2.x for smart phones and Android 3.0 for tablets. 

Looking at the interface, I can start to understand what Steve Job's says that "size isn’t sufficient to create great tablet apps." It is not difficult to build apps for a 7-inch screen that take full advantage of that screen size as against a smaller 3.5-4.3 inch smart phone screen. It looks like it might be hard to build for both 10.1-inches and 7-inches at the same time. 

Looking at the Honeycomb preview, I noticed that as an eBook reader it displays two pages at once. Given that a 10.1-inch tablet has twice the screen size of a 7-inch tablet, this kind of feature would not be welcome on the smaller tablet. Honeycomb is still a few months off, so best not to speculate too much on how well it will scale down on a 7-inch screen.

My personal interest in this issue is I have been procrastinating on the acquisition of a Samsung Galaxy Tab for a week, wondering if by buying it, it would be an orphaned operating system in a few months. Now I am wondering if I might not be better off with Android 2.x on a 7-inch screen. 

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