Is Android Honeycomb intentionally broken?
Certainly iOS and OS X products are quite complete as well, but Cupertino obviously doesn’t need to provide differentiation for OEMs - because Apple is effectively its own (and only) OEM.
Although the tablet has some pretty cool hardware specs, I couldn't help notice how unfinished Honeycomb is. Then again, I wonder if Acer didn’t miss the meeting where they were supposed to finish off what Google did in order to differentiate. Let me explain.
It boasts a wide angle panoramic screen, Nvidia's Tegra 2 graphics system, beautiful hardware, nice port out (USB in and out, HDMI, docking port), a flash slot for additional memory, and a 8-10 hour battery life.
Regarding hardware, the Iconia, with the exception of battery life and a front facing camera (which I doubt I’d ever use), definitely presents a better (in my view) hardware load out than Apple's iPad 2.
In addition, finding the media player on the device wasn’t intuitive (it’s the "Nemoplayer") but it worked fine once I got movies onto the device; there was no music folder (had to add it); I couldn’t find my favorite streaming music player (Slacker) in the store (not ready for Honeycomb yet); and Netflix still won’t work on Android tablets. By the way, Slacker works just fine on Android as I tricked the Xoom into running it. The app runs native on my Dell tablet native; with Slacker saying they have a Honeycomb version due out shortly.
Finally, there was no native Outlook support. In contrast, my Dell Streak has this app built in, and it is also expected on the coming HTC tablet as well.
Yes, Google definitely has to fix Netflix, but the issue is that the content owners don’t think the platform is secure enough (yet). However, it is being worked on (you can get this on some Android phones now), and Slacker support is waiting on Slacker and a personal preference. But I believe mostly everything else could be addressed by the OEM.
A little thing like changing the icon on the movie player to a movie reel would have helpful. Why? Because I know "Nemo" the PC product but didn’t connect it to Nemoplayer, at least visually. This was both because of the icon and I’m not used to seeing Nemoplayer as one word – I was pronouncing it in my head with a soft "e").
It also needs an improved and more up to date client than Windows Media Player and Nemo - which some other third party likely could provide - and should ship with one or more of the streaming music service clients already installed and in the multimedia folder (Pandora, Napster, Slacker).
For someone willing to put in a little elbow grease and who wants something decidedly different than the iPad that they can connect to a TV, the Iconia is a nice alternative. However, had Acer done just a little more work, it could have been a vastly better product.
So, regardless of whether Google broke Honeycomb intentionally, it has given the OEMs the opportunity they wanted to differentiate by fixing or finishing the OS.