Jul 18 AT 11:31 AM Anthony Domanico 68 Comments

The Complaint Department: Honeycomb and the Tablet Wars

It’s Monday, boys and girls, and you know what that means. The complaint department is back in session! In the crosshairs this week? Our favorite tablet operating system: Honeycomb.

It’s no surprise Apple is winning the tablet wars at the moment. Tablet sales are dominated by Apple’s iPad series, with the plethora of Android tablets being introduced failing to pick up traction. Though this can be attributed to a multitude of reasons, one of the biggest is the complete lack of high-quality applictions on the Honeycomb platform.

The number of applications that fully support Honeycomb tablets is in triple digits, while Apple’s tablet benefits from over 100,000 tablet applications. That’s not to say the few hundred Honeycomb applications out there are bad by any stretch; in fact, several of these applications are simply phenomenal (see CNN, nook or News360, to name a few). The problem is the applications that can’t be found on Honeycomb.

When I made the decision to purchase the Motorola Xoom over an Apple iPad 2, I did so even though I knew Honeycomb didn’t yet support Netflix or mlb.tv (via MLB’s At Bat 2011 application). These were, at the time, two of the main reasons I wanted to have a tablet. But with Honeycomb having only a handful of applications, support for these two services was nowhere to be found. Chances are, those of you who have also seriously considered an Android tablet have also had this experience. No matter which applications you deem “essential” for everyday use, you’re probably stuck with a scaled-up or tiny phone application or your application(s) simply aren’t supported in Honeycomb at all.

In my case, I still bet on the promise of what Honeycomb would become. After all, Google’s tablet-specific operating system had to match the tremendous growth it’s phone-based brother was experiencing, right?

Unfortunately, here we are six months after Honeycomb was released into the wild, and the app-scape still resembles a barren desert. Sure, there are a few oases to be found, but otherwise there’s nothing as far as the eye can see.

One of the main reasons developers have been slow to develop for Honeycomb is because Apple’s iPad and iPad 2 have a stranglehold on the tablet market. Developers want to put their applications where the money is. It makes much more financial sense to develop for iOS (if you’re only going to develop for one platform), since there’s much more money to be made on the platform that has over 50% of the installed market and users that are more likely to splurge on paid applications (see herehere, here and here, for example).

It appears companies are simply holding off on developing for Honeycomb until more consumers start purchasing Android tablets. Unfortunately this is a self-perpetuating cycle, as consumers are holding off purchasing Android tablets until the application ecosystem grows. This creates a situation wherein Android tablets have failed to grow at the same exponential rate as their smartphone brethren. Sure, more Android tablets are being introduced every day, but consumers simply aren’t flocking to them in the same way they’ve flocked to Android devices; a fact that likely won’t change until Honeycomb differentiates itself by producing high-quality applications.

Recent stories have suggested the iPad is the tablet of choice for Android phone users. Personally, I don’t doubt this. I know several Android users who have chosen the iPad over the likes of the Xoom and Tab 10.1, likely attributed in no small part to the lack of applications on Honeycomb. Until this turns around, the mainstream consumer is going to continually choose the iPad 2 over any Android tablet.

Fortunately, new signs are emerging that a short-term fix for this problem may be right around the corner, courtesy of Honeycomb version 3.2. According to a story on ReadWriteWeb this morning, the Android 3.2 update brings with it an “iPad-like 2x mode” that essentially scales applications to better display on the larger-screened devices. How well this is accomplished remains to be seen, though this move will make the 200,000+ applications on the Android market available on Honeycomb devices.

The fact remains that, although scaled-up versions of phone applications are nice, having designed-for-tablet applications is a much more ideal solution to this problem.

Will this trend ever turn around? Is Google simply waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich to save the day? Does the 3.2 update with 2x mode provide enough of a fix for you to finally splurge on an Android tablet? If not, what is an ideal solution?  What’s your take on the Honeycomb platform?  Let us know your thoughts on these questions and more by dropping a comment below.

Anthony loves all things technology, from hardware to apps and games. You can connect with him via Google+ or Twitter by clicking one of the fancy doo-dads above.

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  • http://Website kyle

    I’ve been a devout android user since the G1 and have never been an apple fan. With that said, I love my iPad! I have both, the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 10 and the Galaxy spends most of it’s time on my bookshelf. The tablet is all about the apps, and there just isn’t enough quality apps on Android to keep me engaged. The lack of Flash in the browser is a hurdle, but there are usually apps that overcome this (HBO, ABC, etc).
    I’m crossing my fingers that Android will catch up, but in the meantime I’ll be playing sudoku and Tiny Tower on the iPad

    • http://Website DLT

      I must be missing quite a lot. Since I am not in the iOS ecosystem I am simply ignorant of what it has to offer. In my quest to become a more informed consumer, I wonder;

      What apps do you use on your iPad that cause your Tab to sit on the shelf?

      Is there nothing in the Android Market that could perform the same or similar functions?

  • http://Website daniel walsh

    i think ics will save tablets and ics will destroy ios5 and windows mango. ICS will be a game changer

    • http://Website Stewart

      Thats like Apple crowd saying iPhone 4 will reverse the Android trend, oh no, it will be the Verizon iPhone, oh no, it will be the White iPhone, hmm wrong again, it will be the iPhone 4GS/5. iOS 5 beta 3 is out and adds almost nothing to the tablet, it will need to be some pretty damn impressive hardware in a drop dead sexy case to make a small dent. Apple knows this and that’s why they are turning to litigation over innovation.

      ICS will be great, hopefully it won’t have nearly as many bugs at launch as Honeycomb had, but it will not be an instant game changer. It will take over a year before it is pushed to phones and tablets. Much longer before it has any significant market share, and even longer until devs fully support it because they need to maintain backwards compatibility with 2.1 or 1.6.

      Fragments are in the compatibility package for devs, but action bar is not. You also can’t simply just move all of your activities to fragments, slap in an action bar, add in some xhdpi graphics and call it a phone/tablet/tv app. There is a lot of work involved to support backwards compatibility, even for new projects. ICS will be awesome, instant game changer it won’t.

  • http://Website TJ

    Tab 10.1 here. I find lack of netflix to be a damned shame. Although apps like splashtop HD make it bearable.


    wow those are my 2 biggest gripes too.. No netflix and MLB at bat.. But luckily MLB at bat works through the browser, so I am good there

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      I actually didn’t subscribe to mlb.tv this year because of the lack of Honeycomb support. Crazy that it works through the browser. Will it let you go full-screen?

  • http://Website Peter

    I have a Thunderbolt and have owned a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 for about a month now. I bought an Android tablet to be loyal to the company and I thought it would make the most sense since I already gave an Android phone with apps I paid for, that I can save some $ by not having to download apps for my phone and for an iPad. Being that I bought an Android tablet, it’s not surprising that I am impulsive by nature. I am trying my best to be patient and wait for tablet-optimized apps to appear for Honeycomb. Everyone keeps talking about Ice Cream Sandwich, but I’m not sure when that is coming. Will my 10.1 tab be yesterday’s news by that point? Will ICS be competing against the iPad 3? 4? 5? I talked myself out of returning the 10.1 tab for an iPad2 about 7 or 8 times, and I just wish the developers of popular apps would throw us a bone every now and then.

  • http://Website Kelly

    I think it has something to do with the nature of tablets in general. No one really needs a tablet. The only reason people think they need one is because Apple is really good at convincing people about things like that. Tablets are too big to carry in your pocket, and since they don’t have keyboards on them, you’re not likely to get much work done with one. The main reason you carry one is to look cool in Starbucks or a meeting, and to look at things on a nice big/sharp screen that’s easier to look at than your phone’s screen. Since that data is not typically work-related, we’re talking mostly about playing games, or other toy-like apps. Apple’s iPad has been out longer than Honeycomb, and when people think about getting a device like that, they don’t say “I want a tablet computer”. Instead, they say “I want an iPad”. They’re not likely to be swayed by a Motorola Xoom with a higher price tag, running that “other” OS, Android. The kind of people buying these things either don’t give a crap about the OS, or want an iPad specifically. I got my Tab 10.1 at Google IO for free, and if I hadn’t, the only reason I would have bought one is to have a credible device to test Android apps I’m writing on.

    • http://Website zedklind

      there are a few more reasons to buy a tablet than that. chroot or vnc ubuntu to control servers or computers that are at home. watching movies in bed without your laptop burning ur loins or cricking your neck. use it as a sketching digitizer with autodesk. taking notes during class. read books. read/watch news while on the john lol. showing off to your friends. use it as a music media control for parties. CREATE music on it with FL studio. its easier to carry around compaired to a laptop. most consumers that use a computer now either use it for games or social websites. why cant we just use something like a tablet instead? i have a feeling that tablets with keyboard docks will replace netbooks in the future. you are right about jobs knowing how to sell products but theres more than “ITS AN IPAD” that sells it. it has to be worth buying for some reason or another.

      • Jay

        I agree, I am a student and it is much easier to have this in my pack with a bluetooth keyboard rather than my laptop for most days. Takes up way less space and is lighter. It is also much easier to just pull out and either play with (games, facebook, etc) or be productive (read, email, etc.) in between classes. I would do some of this on my phone last year when it was only a short amount of time between classes and/or when there wasn’t any convenient place to sit at with a place to put the computer, now the keyboard is completely optional.

  • http://Website westy

    lets remember when Android was first released it was struggling. Took a year or two for android to really pick up steam. One thing i give credit to apple for is that they always at launch partner with big name app developers to have some high quality apps ready for their launches. This is very important and Google is HORRIBLE at this. Once you get the must have apps on the tablet the users will come and then the devs. Google’s also needs to do a better job of converting their own apps to be tablet friendly. If Google isnt converting their own apps to be tablet friendly how do they really aspect devs to jump at it. Its a shame that Docs, Reader, Fully functional Browser, Google+, Scoreboard, etc. Wtf is that about?

    • http://Website Stewart

      Oh Google partners with Rovio on everything now, as if the world doesn’t have enough Angry Birds or you can’t play it on anything else.

      The HC browser is fine, whats your gripe with that? G+ just came out, they have a great mobile site and I suspect a tablet specific app is due shortly. The other apps are second rate apps to Google, they suck even on phones. A tablet specific app is far from being the issue for those.

      • http://Website Stewart

        Why down vote this? If an Android blog spouts out all the same crap that Apple blogs do and tells users why they shouldn’t invest in Android tablets, or why developers shouldn’t write software for Android tablets then it will only continue to drive more users and developers from it and will only help to validate their complaints. The author of this post has likely had very little use of Honeycomb themselves and has not even used 3.2 yet. Not everyone needs or cares about Netflix and MLB. Why should I follow an Android blog that clearly has a focus to destroy Android? Anthonys profile in the past was never shy about favoring iOS even as a Android blog editor.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          Really? I favor iOS?

          News to me, considering the only iOS device I’ve owned/played with is the iPod Touch from when before Android came out.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          Which, I might add, I promptly ditched once I was eligible for an upgrade on T-Mobile and got a shiny new Mytouch 3g.

  • http://Website Stewart

    If you keep spreading this FUD then of course it will fail to pick up any traction. Do some research before you post though, both of your complaint department posts have been nothing but FUD from the mouths of Apple fanboys. One more week and you will have lost a long time follower and fan.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      You’re onto me. Next week’s post is…. All hail the glorious iOS… err, hypnotoad??

      I’m totally fine with you not agreeing with me, but what’s your take on why Honeycomb hasn’t taken off, and why several other commentors seem to have the same experience with Honeycomb that I and other staffers have had? Nick has gone so far as to say the HTC Flyer is the best tablet out there in part because it supports all phone applications.

      Seriously though, I appreciate the discussion. Why do you think Honeycomb hasn’t taken off? Why aren’t there high-quality applications out there?

      • http://Website Stewart

        I personally think that the Android tablet market is coming along just fine and meeting the expectations of the manufactures and OEMs. Honeycomb is a true tablet OS, it has been copied by both RIM and HP and it offers a much better experience than iOS. Stuff like USB Host, removable storage (finally in 3.2), hdmi output, faster processors and more memory, the strengths of Honeycomb far exceed the competition. You can’t expect it to trump the competition over night. iPad had first mover advantage and is highly marketed.

        The reason it may not be thriving in the minds of some, IMHO, is simply because of marketing and choice. iPad is a name everyone knows and when tablet shopping a consumer doesn’t know why they should choose one over the other. Sure there is scribe on the flyer, tranforms into a netbook on the transformer, thinner and lighter on the tab, a whole plethora or hardware options on the xoom, etc. But what do these mean to to consumer? And at $499 for all of them, why choose one over the other?

        The Xoom really was a bust though and did Android no favors. At its initial price point, HC bugs, lack of tablet apps at launch, and most of its defining features disabled, it really cast a dark shadow over Android tablets and Honeycomb. That is all being worked out now, but the damage has been done.

        On the software side though, most phone apps run just fine on Honeycomb and the larger screens. It is very simple to make a hybrid app and Android doesn’t need 200,000 tablet specific apps. I have only seen 2 apps that didn’t scale (Speedtest and Bombsquad), a few others that could use tablet optimization, but for the most part software “just works”(tm) on Honeycomb.

        When an Android blog can’t even stand behind a product though, and tells consumers to buy apple and developers to write for iOS, they make the choice very simple. Honeycomb has many strengths, it is only a matter of time. Instead of bashing the hand that feeds, why not discuss the strengths of each and help consumers decide.

      • Taknarosh

        I disagree on a few thingsin the article for one you mention the growth of the smartphone verion of Android being so much more prononouced than the Tablet version. That simply isn’t true. When you look back at the Android timeline, the time it took for the smartphone version to take off was one year.

        After the T-Mobile G1 there was a slew of ccompanies intrigued and interested in Android but not commiting serious R&D and ressources. All of the phone released between the G1 and the OG DROID were rehashes of the same hardware 528MHz Qualcomm but from different companies sometime with custom UIs (think HTC G1, HTC myTouch3G, HTC Hero, Samsung Behold II, Samsung Galaxy (Original), Motorola CLIQ). All of these phones had identical hardware and were running 1.0/1.5/1.6.

        Situation sound familiar to you? AFAIK all Android Tablets are sporting Tegra 2 Chipsets and all have Android 3.0/3.1/3.2.

        Honestly Android had it’s explosion with the Original DROID because of a perfect storm of Verizon lacking a flagship device to combat the iphone, tons of marketing dollars, real ground breaking hardware and a version of Android that really showed a polished OS.

        While marketing for the Xoom has been lackluster and downright laughable for any other tablet, and the tablet market is different than the smartphone market its hard to tell if those two aspects will factor in for tablets but the other factors seem to be on the horizon, groundbreaking hardware (Tegra 3), version of andorid that is more polished (ICS).

        Honestly I think this article is a bit premature. If the state of Android tablets isn’t changed by the 1 year anniversary of the XOOM then an article of this type is warranted.

        • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

          Fair enough.

          I truly hope we’re telling a different story in 6 months (coincidentally, around when ICS is due out). And yes, smartphones took a long time to gain traction, but there was really only 1 device around for the first 6 months. We have many more Android tablets available at the moment.

          • http://Website Alan

            We have plenty of devices, but they’re all broken in some way. The xoom and the iconia have crappy screens, the tab doesn’t have an SD card, usb or hdmi, the transformer is slow for no particular reason. They all have awful cameras. Here in canada, motorola doesn’t update the xoom, touch wiz is an abomination that I don’t want to see ruin my tablet in the future, and I don’t know that I can trust ASUS yet because they’re so new to android (they’re showing promise though). I want an android tablet but I have no idea which feature is going to matter when I pick one. My milestone (Canadian Droid) is the only device I’ve used for an extended period of time, it has a great display, great camera and great build, I don’t know what I can live without. I’m waiting for tablets to have their Droid, one that I don’t have to compromise on.

  • http://Website Kwasi

    Honestly as a person with a crappy laptop and a beastly desktop, a tablet solves all of my problems.

    To be honest, I don’t think anyone needs a tablet. I bought a Xoom because it would cost $100 to buy a new battery for my 2 Hr Battery life Sony Vaio I paid $400 for in 2008. I’m a developer so I sit behind a computer all day.

    My tablet however, has become invaluable to me. I’ve completely stopped printing documents, I just Chrome to Phone them to my tablet. I have all my emails offline backed up, so on the go I have my email with me, some ebooks, any PDFs I’ve sent myself. I use SugarSync, so I can selectively ensure that the tablet backs up documents I want to have with me at all times. Finally, if I really need real computing, I can remote into my desktop using Splashtop or PocketCloud.

    Here’s an example of great usage of a tablet. Say I need to call my bank and I’m not by my computer. It’s very easy to pull up the contact stored on my tablet (and on my phone) and any related documents or messages in my email that I need, without needing internet access or without having to say “hold on” while I turn and face the phone and try to find the email on that stupid tiny screen.

    The best part of all is the battery life. When a $400 laptop gets 8 hours of real battery life and is instant on and off, I’ll consider investing in a laptop, but laptops suck compared to desktops anyway. I think a tablet is better than a laptop if you have access to desktops.

    Would love to hear other opinions.

    As for the iPad…

    No file system is a deal breaker. I wouldn’t tolerate it in a laptop, so it’s not going to fly on a tablet. That’s just not how I use computers. So maybe for people who think a Tablet is not a computer, the things that make the Xoom/Honeycomb good aren’t deal breakers, but I challenge those people to explain why that’s preferred.

    No ports is also a deal breaker. AirPlay costs $100 (for AppleTV). A MicroHDMI to HDMI cable costs $5. I think i’d rather use cables or DLNA.

    No Netflix on Tegra2 sucks, but I use a tablet as work supplement. If I want to watch Netflix, I’m usually by a computer or my PS3 (assuming PSN is up..). Not to mention you can side load whatever videos you want if you can plan ahead.

    • http://www.infotainmentempire.com pekosROB

      100% agreed.

      Used the Xoom to replace my laptop and sold it. Paid for a little over half the cost (off contract that is). Instant on and 8-10 hour of actual use trumps a laptop.

      Add a keyboard and dock for less than $100 if you look in the right places and you have a nice little set up.

  • http://Website Ananth

    My wife has an iPad 2 and I had a Xoom which I returned for the Galaxy Tab 10.1. I think the big problem is developers not allowing apps to be on 3.x devices. For example why is mint not on Android 3.1 at all? HBO Go? I understand why there may not be optimized apps, but I apple is totally on the ball here by allowing all iPhone apps on the iPad. Google should follow suit. Also, you would think they would work to get a Netflx app to honeycomb, but considering the time it’s taken for Videos to even make it to the market.

    Also, I totally get why iOS and the iPad get priority from devs, but there is a lot inexplicable bs going on. Take comixology, marvel can only be bought/read on iOS? why is that? it’s not Google’s fault per se, but they need to do something about this and the blocking of apps that work on phones.

    I do think the ICS will solve alot of this, with a unification of the OS. But allowing coders to target/exclude devices and builds is going to be a problem if it continues.

    • http://Website Kwasi

      I was able to install Mint when I first got my Xoom, but it wasn’t optimized. I prefer to use it on my phone and have been using that and the website, which looks great at 1280×800.

      That’s Mint’s fault though, and if you look at their reviews, it sounds like they’re not doing a very good job of maintaining their Xoom build in a way that keeps people happy.

      • http://Website Ananth

        Yeah I had it on the Xoom too. But that was an old version that also ran on the phone (pre honeycomb) Then they updated it and now you can’t install the updated version on 3.x devices. That’s why people are annoyed because they haven’t made the update available to 3.x. Same thing happened with Skype 2.0, but they made it available soon after. Indicating it was probably a mistake on their part. So it could be the Mint app developers don’t realize that they have to do something to make it available.

  • http://Website gad

    The one thing that can help solve this problem the Developer Competition.
    It helped Android when it just was in its infancy.
    Google should ask developers to develop apps for different categories and and give the best 3 (for example) cash prizes as an incentive.That would surely improve the quality and quantity of apps for Honeycomb tablets

  • http://Website Kwasi


    Did you really need 2x mode? I didn’t and its addition solved no problems for me other than ParkDroid which I use on my phone anyway. Can you name some apps that were fixed for you with this?

    It makes me think you don’t really use a Honeycomb tablet regularly. Otherwise you wouldn’t say “Does the 3.2 update with 2x mode provide enough of a fix for you to finally splurge on an Android tablet?”

    Some of this is pure FUD like Stewart said. Many of things that are “wrong” with Honeycomb aren’t even attempted in iOS for tablets.

    Chrome to Phone is indispensable if you encounter PDFs on the internet that you want to read on your tablet. It beats, emailing them to yourself and opening in some app on iOS. How about it’s just there and done.

    Likewise with if you use multiple Google apps accounts for mail and other things. Some these things just don’t have parity.

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      I don’t have a tablet that supports 3.2 yet. I just sold my Xoom, and the Tab 10.1 is still running 3.1. I honestly don’t know whether 2x will make it better or not.

      The point was not to say that there aren’t some things that Honeycomb does phenomenally. Obviously most things Google on the tablets are phenomenal.

  • http://Website dekkun

    I think the failure to make a dent in the ipadsteamroller is the way in which Android tablet manufacturers released goods not fit for purpose. The ipad does not have expand able memory and it does not have usb support, both of which I wanted. It seemed the Motorola xoom was the obvious answer! It was only after I bought it that I learnt these two features were `non working` features. But that was ok I was told 3.1 will fix this and the upgrade is out now. Only then did I find out its a US only release and it didn’t fix anything. The UK still has not received the working 3.1 update and the US is now on 3.2! Manufacturors attitude like this to their customer base will be the kiss of death to the android tablet

  • http://halmi.sk Rootko

    Speaking as a small developer – I cannot write Honeycomb apps, because emulator is useless. With 1fps you cannot test any app even if you’re counting yourself among biggest of masochists. So I guess I’ll wait until first generation of 3.x tablets will be at sale (with such high prices manufacturers won’t beat iPad sales) and then I can develop something. This obviously isn’t problem of big companies, but I wanted to say what keeps me from making Honeycomb friendly versions of my apps…

  • http://Website mikej

    This hasn’t been posed about before! how much do apple pay you to constantly repeat crap like this?

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      They pay me LOT$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, but it’s mostly in Kool-Aid.

      • http://Website zedklind

        well i get paid in gum!

  • http://Website Greed


  • http://Website Greed

    Hey my stock in this looks better every day. I mean that’s what its about right. Take the money and run. Apps are made for phones and will be for a long time.

  • http://Website Brando56894

    I’ve been using Android for about a year and a half now and I love it. I got an eeePC two years ago and it was slowly annoying me at how slow it was and how little I could actually do with it, even though it ran a full blown Windows OS (and Linux at times!). A few months ago I found myself reaching for my Droid Incredible to check news stories and my email (which was about the extent I could do on my netbook! lol) instead of waiting for my netbook to boot up and load the webpages at a crawl.

    I finally decided a few weeks ago to splurge and get the Asus Transformer and sell my netbook to pay for it. When I first got the tablet I was slightly disappointed at how slow Honeycomb was and certain apps (such as slacker) that I used every day simply weren’t available for HC. I had to side load the apps that I wanted to use that weren’t available. Being the geek I am I immediately rooted it and installed Prime 1.4 and overclocked it, which provided a decent amount of speed enhancements. Once Prime 2.5 came out it made stuff even faster. HC 3.2 will be released in a few weeks so that will offer even more improvements. I can’t wait until ICS comes out because I’m sure that will be the game changer (Hello AOSP roms!)

    I never once considered buying an iPad!

  • http://Website ncb1010

    IDC recently reported that Android tablets make up 34% of the market as of Q1 2011. Considering the Wifi Xoom was only available for about a week in Q1 2011, this number will only grow to likely over 40% when Q2 numbers are released. Gartner in April predicted that Android would only reach 34% market share by around 2015. I don’t see where the author of this post got that android tablets aren’t taking off or gaining traction in the marketplace. Android on tablets is moving a lot faster than it did on phones. That is just another innaccuracy in this article. It took about a year after the G1 came out for the Motorola Droid to come out and gain traction.

    • http://Website Stewart

      You wouldn’t expect any credible editor to do any actual research though, would you? Like I said, Android tablet market is moving along just fine, meeting the expectations of manufacturers and OEMs. He did no research on the topic, and is just spouting out the same FUD as Apple blogs on both this and fragmentation. Trolling for hits will only lose followers.

  • http://Website Stewart


    Replace Evo 4G with Xoom and iPhone 4 with iPad 2 and you have your answer on why iPad sales continue to exceed Android tablets.

    As mentioned before, the emulator is also a big reason why devs haven’t made tablet specific apps, but following best practice any app will scale perfectly on tablets and not need a different tablet version. Multiple APK support when is launched to market will help also. The real driving factor though is marketing and FUD articles like this.

    • http://Website Kwasi

      Seconded on the emulator. it sucks ass if you don’t have hardware, but if you’re a dev, you should have hardware. It’s a breeze on hardware.

      • http://halmi.sk Rootko

        If you are big company – yes. But as a hobby programmer it just doesn’t repay you to have all the different devices just to test your app. At least my apps don’t make me such amount of money to be able to buy all new Android toys I’d want :)

        • http://Website Fahad

          we know the emulator issues are being worked on from the QA and some of the sessions at Google IO.. I know that doesn’t help us now, but at least it’s something to look forward to.

  • http://Website Scott Kilgores

    Sounding off on HC bashing, I think alot of us HC supporters are not as pleased at the rate in which HC has updated in contrast to how quickly android on the phone has. At a certain point, we were almost spoiled to the point how quickly and sucessfully android came from 0 to hero. Each 3 or so months on the phone, we would get big updates, UI updates, new JIT compiler which made the phones fly, etc. HC on the other hand has had only two updates in last year it feels like and they are not nearly as substantive as what we saw on android phones.

    Nevertheless, I think Google is banking in on ICS and alot of developers as well are looking at ICS to really see where google pushes android. Google has really hyped up ICS and I think they are going to go through with that before we really start seeing more “quality” apps from sucessful developers.

    From an optimistic persepective, I think the coming holiday season, Google is going to bring on the fireworks a la ICS and with the leaks of upcoming crazy hardware like the quad core processors that are surfacing, console developers are going looking more closely at the mobile scene.

    Here’s to better things to come!

  • http://Website Kevin

    Really Android should be happy they have the Cell market, they should not be greedy just keep making that market better and get more hold of that market as best they can, Ipad really has no competition. Ipad is superior even if it doesn’t run flash but of course HTML5 which honestly doesn’t run hot like Flash. Also I think the tablet to compete with Ipad is the Web OS system the HP touchpad. I have #1 apple IPAD, #2 Android Xoom or others tabs # 3 the TouchPad WebOS which I believe will pass Android! and really try to compete with IPad. IF you notice all other tablets are pricing the same price point as Ipad $499 for the base model, remember when they would sell for 599-899 when IPad had less price point at least for the base model. Saw an ad yesterday informing me that XOOM android tablet just had a price drop to 100.00 off to $499 for their base unit.. LOL

    • http://Website Kevin

      Oh btw I have a DRoid phone and Ipad tablet! and that is the best of both worlds. android does great on phones, Apple is great on the tablet.

      • http://Website Kwasi


        What’s your primary use case for a tablet. I feel like mine must be different from yours? Mine is a true PDA.

  • http://www.iansapp.com Ian S.

    As an owner of both a first gen iPad and a Xoom, I have to say they both have their pros and cons.

    I took my iPad to Seattle last year during vacation. I was taking a class that had an online drop box, and although I could write up documents on the iPad, I could not use the web based form to access the document and upload it to the dropbox. That pretty much killed me as far as being functional on the go. The lack of file system is a joke.

    I’m still waiting for a decent painting applicaiton for Honeycomb. I’m forced to use SketchBook, which is not tablet optimized)

    The Android OS itself is nicer in my opinion. It still chugs a bit in portrait mode (even on 3.2) which is kind of lousy, but it looks nice and is more functional than the iOS’s version of “multitasking”

    And yes, I’m still waiting for more apps :(

  • 420speedwagon

    im a deep android fanboy. just upgraded to a inspire today after rockin the g1 forever. i would get a honeycomb tablet just cuz its an android, but then again id get an ipad or an ipad2. hate apple, but to be honest i actually like the 2g iphone, guess its the old schoolness in it.

  • WickedToby741

    Android grew so fast in phones because everybody could get one. Unlike the iPhone, Android can be had on nearly every carrier known to man and at a range of different prices and capabilities. You could get them on contract or prepaid, with a keyboard or without, and with a plethora of screen sizes. Android was built on choices that iPhone users didn’t have.

    The difference with the iPad is that hardly anyone ties themselves down to a carrier with a tablet, and those who do could care less who the carrier is because they’re not spending as much money and aren’t relying on the tablet to take phone calls and send text messages. Thus, the iPad is a choice for nearly everyone. Hardware is nearly identical because people who want something with a keyboard are more likely to just buy a laptop, netbook, or Macbook Air. On top of that, the iPad does have thousands of apps whereas Honeycomb only has a few hundred. Its hard to sell someone on an Android tablet when it really doesn’t have the capabilities the iPad does simply due to the smaller number of apps, especially against Apple’s marketing might.

    I think Android tablets will catch up as soon as their prices drop, which they are. The only reason I can see a person picking an Android tablet over an iPad right now is price (or they just have faith in Android like a lot of us). It will also be better development-wise when Ice Cream Sandwich comes along. Developers will no doubt develop for Android phones, so when Android tablets and phones are running the same version of software, a developer is going to be more inclined to develop for Android tablets. What low profile developer is going to go out and learn all the new tricks of Honeycomb when so few are selling?

    I say give it time, but right now, Apple is winning the tablet race no doubt.

    • http://Website Stewart

      First, why someone wouldn’t want an iPad:

      1) It is heavy and has sharp edges, it is awkward to hold and gets tiring fast
      2) Smaller screen with lower resolution and pixel density than most android tablets
      3) 4:3 screen ratio makes it a poor performer for video, news, books and games (what else is left to do with it?)
      4) Lack of input/output connections without expensive accessories. If you want to daisy chain a charger, hdmi output, usb card reader and keyboard be my guest.
      5) Slow CPU (1GHz dual-core running at 900Mhz), lack of ram (256MB) and slow video performance (check benchmarks vs Xoom)
      6) Is a large iPod Touch running an operating system designed for a phone (actually designed in the late 70′s for Unix with no UI at all and has been hacked and forced over the years to support Mac OS X, iPhone/iPod/iPad and Apple TV)

      Second, you are horribly mis-informed (with no help from articles like this) about the software numbers. Android does not have as many tablet specific apps because you don’t need to write tablet specific apps for Android tablets, as by following best practice, your apps will run well and look good on any Android device.

      Third, sorry to bust everyones bubble, but ICS is not some magic bullet. It won’t instantly make phone apps tablet apps (any more than they already are), or get developers making tablet specific apps (any more than they already are). Phone apps will still be phone apps, tablet apps will still be tablet apps, and Android will continue to support both in the same way. It is simply a merging of the two OS’s.

      Tablet specific apps on Android usually have a unique use case and different workflow from their phone counterparts which is what makes them so great and desirable. Not every app needs a different UI or workflow between phone and tablet (and TV?). If someone develops a new ICS app for phones, it will run the same as if someone developed a new Donut (1.6) app for a phone with or without the compatibility package for fragments support. It is still up to the developer to add a unique tablet workflow and UI, there is no magic here. If the ICS emulator for tablets still runs like crap and developers don’t have HC/ICS tablets in their hands, they will not develop tablet specific apps, and if they do have devices, they may decide their apps run without specific optimization just fine and pass.

      Using the Angry Birds example from above, you could run the same APK from your phone running 1.6, on your tablet and your tv running 4.0. No extra work on Rovio’s part is needed (new xhdpi graphics would be nice though). This is not the case with iOS and is the reason they have more tablet specific apps. This argument needs to die already.

      Netflix and MLB examples given here have NOTHING TO DO WITH TABLETS OR HONEYCOMB. They are more inline with last weeks rant of fragmentation, but don’t belong there either. It was the choice of Netflix and MLB not to support those devices by using filters in the Android Market to block them.

      TL;DR, this article (and last weeks) is trash and has no reason to be published, on an Android blog site nonetheless. Help educate people, don’t spread the same FUD.

  • http://maxtechnewz.blogspot.com max

    i will always go android android for life

  • http://Website Dave

    Honestly, I see too many people choosing Android tablets because they simply don’t like Apple. Why sacrifice key tablet features just for Android loyalty? Is Apple really evil or something? Google’s in it for money too.

    As for file systems, I can understand why many people want to stick to what they’re used to. I honestly think the iPads approach of destroying the concept of a file system is amazingly practical. Honestly I wish Android were more like iOS in that sense.

    I watched all of I/O and honestly when I was an Android I felt a huge disconnect. It’s like Google is this absent thing. There is no customer support and the speakers at I/O couldn’t even answer the majority of the questions. They denounced Honeycombs lag and bugginess, which felt like I was being lied to my face.

    • http://Website Peter

      Google doesnt do support. That was fine when they did stuff that worked and cost nothing.

      As for getting over my Apple phobia maybe I will for my next tablet maybe not but my next phone will be a N9. Not sure it has any chance but I will do what I can to help it along.

    • http://Website Alan

      The filesystem is still there, its just hidden from you. Thats the problem. They couldn’t find a way to make the filesystem intuitive (or to look like its made of candy) so they try to pretend it doesn’t exist and then contort the whole OS to make it seem unnecessary. When you run into a place where you need into the filesystem, you really miss it. Android does it right, I only use the file manager on rare occasions, but damn is it ever useful.

    • Rin

      I have an android phone (for the wifi hotspot) and an iTouch. I do most of my word processing on the iTouch to save the battery life on my phone. (No, I’d still do the same regardless of whether I had an android, an iPhone or a dumb phone) .

      One of the most frustrating things I encountered using iOS was the separation from the file system. I don’t mind the idea of it being hidden from me, but something as simple as replying to an email with an attachment from my word processor app. The workflow doesn’t work like that.

      What I’d have to do is open my email, select all, copy, open my word processor app, select the document, choose to send, then paste my email back in, add my comments.

      Maybe I’m using an older version of iOS (4.3.3) but that’s one of the things I’ve found. Sending new emails with attachments is okay. Sharing files between programs is a lot harder.

  • http://Website Peter

    There are lots of reasons tablets are doomed (well maybe not quite doomed).

    Google treats developers poorly IMHO. There is no two way communication available. Maybe that happens at Google IO but that is a couple of percent of devs for a few days. Devs have no real insight into where Android is going, the 3.2 SDK came out after it was released to end users.

    Manufacturers are supporting tablets well so far but I worry for how long. Even now non US Xooms are 2 releases out of date and stuck on 3.0. For most people phone updates role out ever two years so providing updates for a year is almost acceptable but people with unsubsidized tablets will expect more. Will they get it or will makers create an unsupportable number of varients like they have with phones.

    Even the big companies are not supporting honeycomb, where is Facebook or Google+, why can you not even comment on apps in the market? Why is the browser the least stable browser I have used since Netscape 4 on Linux. In 3.0 my browser crashed most days, that says rushed out almost as much as having no email client built in.

    18 month’s from now tablets may resemble a success due to sheer platform momentum but it is not a given.

  • http://cityboytech.wordpress.com cityboytech

    I think you hit it right in the head: the self perpetuating cycle is in full effect. That’s the only reason why I haven’t purchased a tablet yet, and I’m never buying an iPad, so im just waiting for developers to get the picture. I wrote an article on my blog detailing a couple of other things Android tablets need to do to succeed, feel free to check it out

  • http://Website JH

    Speaking from the european market, where we’re getting used to alot of apps missing (when will this issue be dealt with?!), I still want an Android tablet.
    But the pricelevel of an Android tablet in Europe is insane compared to the iPad. So IMHO the pricelevel need to be cut on the Android tablet for more to chose them over the iPad.
    So apps aren’t everything but it’s still an issue (especially in Europe!) – the Android tablets need to be cheeper (especially in Europe, where the prices is close to highway robbery!).

  • http://halmi.sk Rootko

    Just one more thing came to my mind – device life cycle. With apple products it’s easy – one device per year. With Android? Tegra2 is almost yesterday’s news. What’s been hot new product just 2 months ago is now almost obsolete. So let’s be real – would you buy something you may not use extensively for $600, when next generation is just behind the corner? Let’s wait for next Tegra and I’m sure those Tegra2 devices prices will drop. :) For $300 I’d pick up any Honeycomb tablet right now…

  • http://Website Mil

    One of the major issues is that outside of US, there’s big issues with the availability of Android tablets. For example, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a potential big seller but it’s yet to be released outside of US. Motorola have officially announced that the Motorola Xoom within the US is a Google Experience Device but those sold outside US are not. Many people in the UK have been missold the Xoom and are still stock on Android 3.0 when the US Xooms have already gotten 3.1 and are now getting 3.2. How can you expect consumers to take up Android Tablet when these issues are faced by non-US consumers. When you compare it to the HTC G1, the number of applications also were not that high. However, the fact that timely updates were being released for all G1 regions kept consumers happy and the applications increased. I truly think the main issue is with the Android Tablet manufacturers. They should create greater consistency between different regions and not have such large release dates between different regions. They should also be much more timely with Android updates and fully support what Google does with Android. The other issue is that Google is creating Ice Cream Sandwich which has been described many times as proper integration of Tablet optimised experience in the Android code base. It is completely unclear what this means for Honeycomb Tablets. But going on manufacturers track record, I’m pretty sure that most Tablets won’t be given an upgrade path to the Ice Cream Sandwich as they’d much rather force people to upgrade to a new generation of Tablets that come with ICS out of the box.

  • http://Website Charlie

    I agree on most things with the writer. I’ve never owned anything Apple and will probably never own anything Apple. Simply because I don’t like the company and they way they work. Not that Google is some kind of angel or anything, but I just can’t get passed how Apple does business.

    But IF Honeycomb is sooo great? If it’s so fantastic because you can USB host, use SD cards and the multitasking is just so dandy… Why is it not selling then?

    Sure the Android phone took a while to get off the ground, but did you keep in mind that we had like 1 phone for 6 months and maybe 4 or 5 phones for a year? There are so many Android tablets on the marke and we’ve gained some market share. But then again the iPad2 looks as if it’s gonna deal us (yes “us”: dessert-fanboi, so don’t call me no fruit-lover) a pretty hard blow. It’s been reported that Android now owns 34% of the tablet market. I’d still be worried, because in all that time (1.5 years?) there’s only been ONE iPad. Now the iPad2 is here, sales are again trhough the roof.

    Google bets on ICS? That’s a long wait and the problem is that no one knows how long we’ll have to wait. When it’s finally out, how long will it take for the manufacturers to start rolling out ICS tablets? Will my tablet be upgradable to ICS? This creates a lot of uncertainty for a technerd when buying a tablet and the average and ICS is. All he wants is sumthing that “just works”(tm), reason for Apple winning over Android (when it comes to tablets).

    One last note: Android needs to stop focusing on numbers and figures. Android 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2. 1ghz dualcore. 1.2 ghz dualcore. 1.4 times faster that blah blah, 1 Ghz of RAM…. The average consumer has no idea what you’re talking about. The iPad sells like hot cakes without ever mentioning Ghz, RAM, megapixels and how many USB ports it has (none, haha).

    We need to focus more on user experience, that the phone feels breezy and light. Honeycomb is beautiful, my geeksense tingles when I see it. But to be honest, it does look A LITTLE too complicated for the average consumer. It seems daunting sometimes. It’s like you got sucked into TRON world, while when using an iPad you feel like you’re in Finding Nemo or something (the clown fish background haha).

    • Rin

      One of the best parts I like about Android is that google allows the manufacturers to out in what user experience they want. So say, an HTC phone would have a different feel from a Motorola phone, so the manufacturers get to brand their phones with their own personality.

      The downside of this is that manufacturers try, but that’s not necessarily their forte. On top of that, they’re now expected to not only innovate their ui, but also keep track of new version releases from google. So for me, it’s not surprising that they’re falling behind in this area.

      Should google work harder to enhance the user experience? For sure. But i can see them thinking, well, we’d rather work on new ways for the manufacturers to do more, rather than dictate to them what to do, and the manufacturers are caught between manufacturing to hardware specs, integrating new versions and enhancing user ui when back in the day, they had a direction pad and T9 and they were more or less done.

  • http://Website Charlie

    This creates a lot of uncertainty for a technerd when buying a tablet and the average and ICS is. = <<>>

    And I mean a GB of RAM (I’d like to consider myself pretty techy and even I’m confusing things, think how confusing ti must be for that 40-yr old soccer mom that just wants to read some magazines and catc up on Fringe on her tablet).

  • http://Website Polaris

    honeycomb hasn’t taken off because it’s still fairly new. Bear in mind that most HC users also have android phones and that many android users are newbies and just now realizing what a superior OS android is to iOS. So the bottom line is as android users become more savvy they will naturally want to explore/transition to the tablet world.

    The fact that there are quite a few tablet makers in the game and more to come is a sign that the android tablet market is heading in the right direction.

    I believe that similar to iOS vs android in the end honeycomb/ice cream sandwich will quickly mature, offer many models to choose from and offer features/innovations that apple does not.

    Apple owned the smartphone market for years and look how fast our beloved android quickly surpassed them. I see the same happening with tablets.

  • http://sentreesystems.com Kevin

    What I don’t understand is why does most ask the question like this article did is: ” Is Google simply waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich to save the day?” why ask that when Google is not the issue based off of what was in this article previous to that question. You start off by saying that it is the developers who are waiting and it is the consumer that is waiting, a catch 22. So where is it Google that needs to do something? I am just confused about it all. The developers are the ones waiting, and Google has the tools there they just aren’t using them.

  • tor

    ผมชื่อtorเมื่อก่อนเคย ขับมอเตอร์ไซค์รับจ้างแถวบางซื่อและบ้านผมก็อยู่บางซื่อ เรื่่องต่อไปนี้ที่ผมจะเล่าให้ฟังม มีคนคนนึ่งดูเเลวินแต่กลับเก็บค่าวิน 20 บ.มา 5 ปีแล้วอยู่ๆก็มาเก็บค่าวินเพิ่มเป็น 40 บ. มันก็ไม่ต่างอะไรพวกมีอิทธิพล ค่าที่ก็ไม่ได้เสีย เสียแค่ค่าตำรวจ ไม่กี่บาท รถวินมี 95 คัน ถ้าไม่จ่ายค่าวิน 3 วันก็โดนยึดเสื้อวินเก็บทุกวันไม่มีวันหยุด พวกนี้ต้องเรียกว่าปล้นคนจน ให้คนรวย อยากให้รัฐบาลใหม่มาช่ วยดูหน่อยครับ เดือนร้อนจริงๆ