Honeycomb’s Likely Impact in 2011

Google's Honeycomb Bee in the waiting

Motorola’s Xoom is finally here and Apple is set to announce the iPad 2 on March 2nd. There are also rumors floating around of the Playbook getting closer to retail and other companies are preparing their 2011 tablets. The shelves are about to get very crowded at your local Best Buy. And while we have very little idea of who will come out on top by the end of the year, one thing is for certain – Honeycomb will play a large role.

Why Honeycomb Matters

For those that have used the Galaxy Tab or other early Android tablets, you know Google did not intend their operating system for tablets originally, so it took a bit of tweaking by manufacturers to make it functional. The Galaxy Tab was an impressive feat by Samsung, but it was not as good as Android can and should be on this format.

Enter Honeycomb – the official tablet version of Android that we (and manufacturers) have been waiting for. Not only does its release mean big things for companies like Motorola and LG who feature it prominently on their new devices; it means big things for the industry as a whole.

The final Honeycomb SDK was finally released to developers along with the finalized APIs on Tuesday. While plenty of new apps are already in development, this allows developers to go into full speed as they prepare for a likely surge in Android users on tablets. As of right now, tablet-specific apps for Android are limited, as they were for the iPad last April. That will likely change very soon.

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Enterprise and Beyond

Some companies like Microsoft are incredulous that a company would consider using the iPad as an enterprise device, let alone 80% of the Fortune 500 as Apple claims. I don’t think it is that outrageous, but at the same time, the iPad simply has too many hurdles to overcome – largely Apple’s control mechanisms – before it is ready for wide scale implementation.

Honeycomb on the other hand is an open platform and while Google’s enterprise support right now is middling, third parties are already stepping up with solutions. Push updates and application control, taskbar management of support problems and remote access are all soon to be a reality on Android devices. I won’t make any enterprise predictions until we see the BlackBerry Playbook ready for release, but Honeycomb will have an impact.

What’s Next?

How will Honeycomb tablets sell? Will Apple lose market share to Google’s open platform or will the relatively high price of tablets like the Xoom keep consumers waiting until later this spring or summer when the iPad 2 debuts?

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It is hard to tell, but with the work Google has put into the new operating system update and the raw number of devices being released in the next few months, it is safe to bet that we will be hearing about Honeycomb quite a bit more in 2011.

Comments

  1. sfwrtr says

    Regarding iOS apps for enterprise and “…Apple’s control mechanisms”. An enterprise can develop its own internal apps for deployment on its own devices *without* going through the app store. Of course, this requires a different distribution method, one controlled by the enterprise itself. Look it up.

    To answer your question, that’s how.

  2. quillaja says

    You’re forgetting the one BIG reason enterprises would consider Android tablets: Google Apps. Loads of enterprises are already using them, and all that stuff would integrate wonderfully with Android (and Chrome OS for that matter). If part of your workforce requires non-”real work” applications, give them an Android tablet or Chrome notebook. That’s what I’d do if I was running a small business.

    Google really has put itself in a good position for getting into “business” computing in the future. Much more so than Apple.

  3. Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC says

    @sfwrtr and quillaja: I’m an avid fan of tablet for niche and enterprise situations. Will Honeycomb be “all that” for this sector however is yet to be proven. I don’t believe Apple and their Apps model is the answer but Android will be a lot closer. :-)

  4. Bjornv says

    While it is true that enterprises can develop their own apps for iphone, most companies outsource this to smaller/bigger development companies and currently this is not allowed for custom programmed apps. Why Apple have set this up this way I have no clue, probably their strong consumer focus but while this rule is in effect, there is no way that iOS devices are going to lead the enterprise market.

  5. Hugo Ortega @MrMobilePC says

    @Bjornv: I strongly believe Apple is more focused on profit than benefiting end-users (and this includes business). Their limitations and restrictions often are very manipulative and strategic. As long as the public lets them get away with it, they will.

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