Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' Is the Most Important Version Yet: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-02-01

Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' Is the Most Important Version Yet: 10 Reasons Why

With the first month of 2011 down, consumers and even some enterprise customers are undoubtedly becoming more and more excited to find out how Android-based tablets will fare in a market that has, at least so far, been dominated by Apple's iPad. Will the Android-based devices overcome Apple's dominance and take over the tablet space? Will they fall flat because the marriage between tablet hardware and the Android mobile operating system leaves too much to be desired? At this point, it's hard to say.

But much of the success of Android in the tablet space will rely on Android 3.0 "Honeycomb," the most anticipated Google platform in quite some time. Android 3.0 Honeycomb will be running on the Motorola Xoom, among several other Android tablets this year. And the operating system could mean the difference between success and failure for Google and its hardware partners in the tablet market.

But Honeycomb's importance goes beyond simple success or failure for Google. The platform could change everything in the tablet space. It might even put Apple on notice.

Read on to find out why Android 3.0 Honeycomb is the most important version of Android yet.

1. It will directly impact the iPad's success

Android 3.0 Honeycomb could single-handedly decide how successful the iPad 2 is this year. If the operating system doesn't work as well as consumers would like and it has some bugs, they will turn even more to Apple's iPad. However, if Honeycomb delivers an innovative and worthwhile experience that consumers enjoy, it could have serious ramifications on Apple's bottom line. Simply put, there is a lot riding on Honeycomb.

2. It offers up a neat new interface

One of the key aspects of Honeycomb is that it delivers one of the more unique interfaces in the tablet space. A video of it on Google's own Web site shows beautiful aesthetics and a unique layout  featuring the company's self-described "virtual and holographic" experience. It's quite unlike Android 2.2 or anything folks have seen from Apple's iOS. It's a risk, to say the least. But it could pay off in a big way.

3. It's Google's best shot over Apple's bow

For a while, some wondered if Google was really as innovative on software design as Apple. To some extent, such a concern made sense. After all, a quick glance at iOS 4 compared to Android 2.2 reveals that Apple offers a more innovative (and an arguably more convenient) experience with a nicer design for consumers. But Android 3.0 changes all that. It shows that Google is not only serious about outstanding software design, but it can deliver. Watch out, Apple.

4. Tablet vendors are relying on it

One of the key reasons Android 3.0 Honeycomb is so important is that its success or failure will have a measurable impact on the bottom lines of Android tablet makers. If the platform is well-received, companies such as Motorola Mobility will profit greatly. If it's a failure, hardware makers will lose out as well, and Android's overall credibility in the market will suffer.. The importance of Honeycomb to Android vendors simply cannot be overestimated.

Honeycomb Could Drive Android App Production


5. Android 2.2 doesn't cut it

Through 2010, Google had very little presence in the tablet space, relying mostly on Android 2.2 to help it compete with Apple's iPad. But as Google pointed out last year, Android 2.2 doesn't cut it on tablets. And, for the most part, it seemed like a bridge to Android 3.0. For Google, that's a good thing. If the company didn't have a solution for tablets that could best Android 2.2 Froyo, it would be in trouble.

6. Developers will like what they see

Based on what's known about Android 3.0 Honeycomb right now, developers will probably like what they see in the platform. Google has redesigned user-interface widgets to help developers do more with their apps. The platform's Action Bar should help developers do the same. Perhaps most important, Android 3.0 Honeycomb's developer-friendliness could improve the platform's chances of matching iOS in terms of available apps. Right now, building up the stock of Android apps is an important goal.

7. It should keep Google's momentum going

Google is performing extremely well in the mobile market. Not only did the company's platform outperform Nokia's Symbian operating system in the fourth quarter, but, in the tablet space, Android saw some success running on Samsung's Galaxy Tab tablet. With the help of Honeycomb, Google can keep the pressure on and continue to prove to customers that it will deliver more appealing services with each passing year.

8. Better multitasking

Android 3.0 Honeycomb is expected to deliver an improved multitasking interface. That's something that folks who use iOS, Android, or any other mobile OS sporting "multitasking" will like to hear. Multitasking on mobile devices has been suspect, to say the least. In iOS, the standard by which other multitasking options are judged, switching between applications is more difficult than it should be. Google hopes to solve that. If it's successful, the company could have a winner on its hands with Honeycomb.

9. It could change browsing on tablets

Another key aspect of Android 3.0 Honeycomb is that it offers a vastly improved browsing experience. According to Google, users will have full-tabbed browsing functionality, auto-fill of forms, and the ability to sync with existing Google Chrome bookmarks. An incognito mode for private browsing will also be available. If those features are implemented well, consumers might quickly realize that Apple's Safari browser falls short-in a big way.

10. It integrates Google's many tools

Honeycomb's importance to Google and the wider tablet market goes beyond that space. The operating system could have a profound impact on Google's other businesses. According to the company, its platform will offer "3D interactions" with Google Maps 5, integration with Google Talk, and the ability to access Google eBooks. If Honeycomb succeeds, it will make the company's other services all the more popular. And that would  make all the difference in the world.

Rocket Fuel