Like many tech geeks out there who has yet to climb the ranks of tech journalism enough to get to go fancy places, I walked over to my local Verizon store on Xoom launch day to check out the Xoom tablet. It was my first experience with the tablet, and my first experience with Honeycomb.
There was one Xoom on display. ?There was a dummy display unit at the front of the store, but there were about 8 iPhones on display, 4 iPads, 2 Galaxy Tabs, and one demo Xoom. While I was waiting, I played a bit of Fruit Ninja on an iPad. Overall, the Xoom is a nice piece of hardware. The Honeycomb UI is great. The new notification tray works wonderfully.
The Galaxy Tab is running a phone OS, the iPad is running an app launcher OS, but Honeycomb feels like it really was built for tablets. I found myself missing the dedicated search button. For example, on the homescreen, the default has the search box in the top left, the Android Market app has the search box in the middle, and many other apps have the search button in the top right. The trouble is that Honeycomb is really nice, but a bit hollow right now.
There were about 16 tablet-specific apps for the Xoom launch, compared to about 2000 at the iPad launch. Obviously, the built-in Google apps are nice, but there are very few third-party apps designed for tablets. All the phone apps still work, though the formatting is off. I can’t help but wonder if Google should have released the full SDK longer in advance of the Xoom launch, rather than putting out the full thing out the day before the Xoom launch.
It should be games, social networking, rich media (Hulu, Netflix, etc) and productivity apps pushing the hardware, not apps from companies in a dying business. There are no compelling widgets yet and few compelling apps. With custom keyboards and voice input, the Xoom looks great for creation, but thin on consumption, while the opposite is true for the iPad. The Xoom hardware is nice.
The Google Android 3.0 or Honeycomb made Android tablets at par with Apple’s iPad. Android Honeycomb improved web browsing. Text editing is made easier with the Android Honeycomb. Tap again and you’ll see the Wi-Fi settings shortcut, airplane-mode switch, lock screen orientation button, brightness control, and the notifications enabler.
Lastly, the keyboard is improved greatly in the Android Honeycomb. It offers all the latest news, sports scores, weather, stock quotes and photos, said USA TODAY. In a released statement, said Dave Hunke, president and publisher.