Android Honeycomb Tablet OS is official. This does not suck!

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones / Entertainment' started by Sam Posten, Jan 5, 2011.

  1. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    These tours don't give me a good sense of how the OS works, much less how it will be used by a real human (vs a tech reporter). I guess that's the weakness of shaky-cam recording of a 5 min first experience.


    That said, some glimpses suggest a very interesting and powerful take on the tablet experience.


    So far, Android has felt like a bad copy of iOS to me. Android phones, even brand new hardware, are noticeably less responsive than an iPhone, and feel off in comparison. In contrast to the Pre and WP7, it's been basically a lagging derivative of the iPhone (give or take some niceties like multitasking and notifications).


    But these little previews of A3 suggest some original thinking, a new take on the touch interface and how to manage a 10" screen. It's not merely an endless expanse of app icons. It suggests a set of live screens, each of which is used for some different task, or set of tasks. Perhaps a combination of mini-apps running to give live info, without hopping from full-screen app to full-screen app.


    It looks like it might be very powerful. It looks like Apple might have some real competition now for a great tablet experience.


    I'm still buying the first iPad this Spring, for my wife. But I'm interested in seeing a 10" Android tablet before buying my iPad this summer.
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  3. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That's the best overview so far.


    My guess: if iOS 5 doesn't break from screens-of-icons, Apple will look stale compared to Android. And sales will start to reflect that.


    I'm not sure I want widgets...I see some value. But I also see a demo-esque quality (*cough* CoverFlow *cough*) that's not really practical in use. But it looks like a something that can sell devices.


    No comments on battery life, of course. Is this the same hardware expected for the iPad 2, so presumably 8+ hrs?
     
  4. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    VERY different processors, video GPU and battery management software I suspect.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/06/best-buy-ad-prices-motorola-xoom-at-800-affirms-february-24th/ $800 entry price for Xoom. Ouch.
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    As Senor Gruber would say 'Good luck with that'


    Oh and by the way, you can't frigging use free wifi with it, you HAVE to sign up for a month of 3g before they will let you use wifi. What kind of crap is that?
     
  7. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    This is indeed interesting. I had assumed the iPad 2 would have a higher resolution screen, but rumors are suggesting that it will be a thinner, lighter model with two cameras. In other words, a minor iteration. Which means that they will probably keep the current pricing structure and drop the price of the first gen iPad accordingly.


    But it also means it will be outspecced by the Xoom out of the box and basically every other Android tab that comes forward. And the UI will probably stay an app drawer and will look very old and old-fashioned compared to Honeycomb.


    Now, I don't personally think that the Xoom will be a big seller initially due to its price tag, but there are two factors here:


    1) Until these Android tabs come out from under the yoke of carriers, they will never be priced correctly. Personally, I think $800 for the Xoom is an artificially overstated price in order to grab as much cash as they can from early adopters. Even at $400, or $100 more than comparably sized tablets from Archos, the Galaxy Tab would have been a good value proposition. But they released it at $600, which took a lot of wind out of their sails. However...


    2) You can now get a Galaxy Tab for $400. So the Xoom very easily could be $600 in a few months, unless it's selling out at $800 anyway. Which I doubt it will.


    I'm not in the market for a 10" tablet, but if I were, I'd just wait a couple of months and see how the pricing changes.

    BTW Sam, anything that has to do with gouging on plans or whatnot can be attributed to the fact that it's Verizon. They pathologically cannot offer the consumer a fair shake -- it appears to be their corporate duty to bleed their customers as much as they can.
     
  8. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You can get a Tab for $400 on plan, how much are they unlocked? Gouging or not the unlocked price is what we need to know to compare to iPad.


    The iPad plans on both carriers appear to be eminently reasonable to me with them getting better all the time as competition heats up. Tethering is a different story of course.
     
  9. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I basically agree with everything you say, Hanson.


    IMO it's a given the iPad 2 will run iOS 4.3; it will be "app tray" as you call it. This summer, assuming past behavior, iOS 5 will be out. So this summer the Xoom and Honeycomb will be competing against the iPad 2 running iOS 5. Maybe it will still be screens of icons. Or maybe Apple is cooking up something unexpected to compete against Android's new talents. (I won't hazard a guess.)


    But, the tablet competition seems strongly skewed towards the iPad for the rest of 2011, for the reasons you give, and others.


    I'm not up on iPad h'ware rumors, but let's suppose the iPad 2 is behind in tech compared to the Xoom and others. I'm not sure it matters much. The iPad is mainstream. Teenage girls hang out at Apple stores playing with them. Apple has done a good job of abstracting the hardware (they never talk about megahertz or megabytes or GPU fill rates). The customer sees the storage space, if it has 3G and that's it. The selling point is on the experience.


    What's going to sell a tablet to teenage girls? A9 chips and Tegra Gigaflops (and "I'm not an iPad" advertising)? Or the largest online music store, TV store, video store along with Angry Birds, Kindle and etc? And where will normal people shop: at Verizon or at Wal*Mart and the Apple store?


    And maybe....the current iPad 16 GB wifi drops to $399. (Will Apple go "iPod" or "iPhone" with the iPad refresh?)


    Honeycomb, from demos, looks great. Google's finally showing some original thinking in their mobile OS; some very smart thinking too. The UI looks to be getting easier and more responsive. But the Xoom costs $71 more than the equivalent iPad, and is $300 overpriced for entry-level shoppers, and relies heavily on phone stores for sales channels. They've got real challenges ahead.


    It's going to be an interesting year in Tablets :)
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Xoom, priced to fail:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/official-motorolas-xoom-tablet-will-cost-600-for-wifi-800-for-3g-2011-2

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/02/16/motorola-xoom-price-official-799-unsubsidized-on-verizon-600/

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2011/02/motorola-xoom-tablet-will-come-in-wifi-only-version-priced-at-600.ars
     
  11. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    A 32GB wifi Xoom at $600 would be priced to match the 32GB iPad 2, presumably.


    The $799 3G model still doesn't make any sense, compared against an assumed $729 iPad 2.
     
  12. Hanson

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    Not really sure how a 32gb wifi only is "priced to fail" at $600. As Dave points out, it's competitive with a 32gb iPad. Unless the 3g version sells out at $800, it will likely drop to $700 after a month or so. Looks like they're chiseling another $100 from the early adopters. Typical Verizon.
     
  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    You are telling me that you know ANY non engineer who would think that a Xoom is worth a $100 price premium over an iPad? Cause that's how the norms are going to look at it, comparing the cheapest models regardless of specs
     
  14. Hanson

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    I think for many non-engineers, the Honeycomb interface looks new and modern compared to the iPad interface, which is the same as the iPhone interface. That will justify the premium to many people.


    But I'm curious -- do you think the 32gb and 64gb iPads are priced to fail? Why should Apple even make them? I mean, lots of people fork over an extra $100 for a 32GB iPhone. I think most consumers can make that leap in logic -- it's not really that techie.

    BTW, "norms"? Why not just say morlocks?
     
  15. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    The 3G Xoom is priced to lose. But a $599 (about $600) wifi Xoom is priced to compete.

    Who's going to buy it?


    * My dad. He wants a tablet to run Windows Remote Desktop, which we've found can't be done on an iPad

    * Apple-hating geeks

    * Family of Apple-hating geeks

    * People who ask BestBuy blue-shirts for advice, and get the Apple-hating geek who's working that Saturday afternoon

    * People with an Android phone that want to stay in the "family", not buy anew a whole suite of apps on an iPad

    * People who buy on specs and see that the Xoom r0ckers the iPad by 15 pixels screen res, and 2MB RAM, and 10 kHz faster snapping-turtle processor


    After those 250,000 people have bought the Xoom, then we find out if it's good enough for word of mouth to sell a few million more. And we see if reviewers like Pogue and Ihnatko tell us that Xoom / Honeycomb is better than iPad 2 / iOS 4, so give it up, kiddies, and switch platforms.


    In a nation of 300 million people, there's enough to people who simply want to be different to make profitable an alternate tablet, especially if it's at least 90% as good as the iPad. And given Android Phone popularity, it's a cinch it will see a fair number. What we don't know is if it will sell iPad quantities.
     
  16. Hanson

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    It's almost a certainty that the Xoom will be $699 with contract within 2 months. Depending on how much juice you have with Verizon, you could probably get $100 off at launch with a 2 year contract.
     
  17. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Rumors? Or personal speculation?


    Does the Xoom 3G require a 2 year contract? Is it not like the iPad with a la carte monthly 3G pricing? That would be a real detractor, IMO.
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

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    Huh... Why would you pay that much and still be on contract?


    I thought they're quoting "unsubsidized" pricing.


    I just looked, and V doesn't (currently?) seem to offer subsidizing pricing on the Samsung Galaxy Tab either -- they haven't for the iPad+MiFi bundle either, IIRC.


    So far, V seems to be only doing month-to-month w/ all these tablet offerings. It's the other carriers that are doing the subsidized offerings (w/ contract of course).


    _Man_
     
  19. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    You're right Man, Verizon does not offer any subsidized contract pricing for the SGT. When they dropped the price again, all the other carriers offered it with a contract, I assumed Verizon followed along.


    Dave, the price drop is speculation on my part, but note that the SGT was released on 11/11, and by 1/1, Verizon was offering it for $499 off-contract. That's what I'm basing my speculation on.


    But what if the 3G Xoom is a huge seller, you ask? Well, it's almost guaranteed it won't be. Most people who bought the SGT wished there was a cheaper wifi only model, and from what I gather on the forums, most people never renewed their data plan after the first mandatory month. Anecdotally speaking, most of the owners who had data were in Europe and also had voice access. So if you don't want the 3G because you don't want to pay monthly for data plans and you want to save $200, you would buy the wifi only Xoom. And if most people are in either category, they won't be selling many 3G Xooms.
     
  20. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That mandatory month of 3G is real?!? I figured that had to be a typo, it's such an asinine rquirement.
     

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