Android 3.0 Threatens Windows, Not iPad
Cleron showed the various 3D capabilities of the Xoom, where information surfaces and disappears along with users' gestures. Google Maps for Android 5.0 on the Xoom drew oohs and ahs from the audience. When Cleron zoomed in and tilted the Xoom, the buildings on the map raised up in 3D. You won't see this on the iPad; Google Maps 5.0 is for Android only right now.Forrester Research analyst Sara Rotman Epps correctly noted that Android 3.0 on the Xoom looked similar to the Palm WebOS "deck of cards" user interface for switching between applications.That's because the lead UI designer for Google on Android 3.0 was none other than former WebOS designer Matias Duarte. In an interview with Engadget, Duarte stressed that Honeycomb offers a virtual button users can tap to see a list of recent applications, along with a name and icon to access them. "I have everything at my fingertips and I haven't even launched any applications yet," Cleron explained in his demo. "This shows what you can do with an operating system that was designed from the ground up to support multitasking." The Xoom will launch in February on Verizon's 3G network, but it will be upgradable to Verizon's 4G LTE network later this year. Verizon's LTE capability will reduce the latency for video and gaming applications. Analysts are excited about this. "We expect Android/Honeycomb to take significant share of mobile operating systems, especially as consumers upgrade to 4G networks," added Jefferies and Co. analyst Youssef Squali. However, Epps cautioned industry watchers not to view Honeycomb tablets as threats to the iPad so much as to Microsoft Windows 7 machines. "Of the 24.1 million tablets we expect U.S. consumers to buy in 2011, the majority will still be iPads, but consumers looking for a cheaper, feature-rich alternative will turn to Google, not Microsoft," Epps concluded.