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Google Says Honeycomb Will Not Come To Smartphones 193

Posted by timothy
from the xda-devs-need-some-love dept.
tekgoblin writes "Google has officially announced that Honeycomb will not be coming to Android based smartphones. Android 3.0 Honeycomb was specifically made for Tablets according to a Google spokesperson. Although, certain features that are present on Honeycomb will become available over time on Android smartphones. Google has not offered any information to what features will be ported over specifically." On the bright side, Honeycomb will come with disk-encryption capabilities built in.
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Google Says Honeycomb Will Not Come To Smartphones

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  • Heh... Riiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Svartalf (2997) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:49PM (#35097560) Homepage

    They said the same basic thing about Tablets and the pre-Honeycomb versions of Android... ChromeOS was supposed to be for Tablets earlier on- and people went and did Tablets with 1.x and 2.x versions anyway to mostly good results. If there's not anything explicitly keeping it from being useful on phones, SOMEONE will do a phone with it.

  • So on a platform that (supposedly) is already rife with fragmentation they are going to have completely different versions just for tablets? How does this make any sense? I understand that tablets and smartphones have different uses and thus different needs, but really a completely separate version?

    As an aside... What does this mean for smartphone android version numbers? Will it never get to 3.0? Or will it have a different 3.0?

    • by click2005 (921437) *

      If the instruction set and APIs are compatible it should make it no harder to create apps than it is for the Iphone & Ipad.

      • by usul294 (1163169)
        From Android Development's Website:


        Android 3.0 brings a new UI designed for tablets and other larger screen devices, but it also is fully compatible with applications developed for earlier versions of the platform, or for smaller screen sizes. Existing applications can seamlessly participate in the new holographic UI theme without code changes, by adding a single attribute in their manifest files. The platform emulates the Menu key, which is replaced by the overflow menu in the Action Bar in the new UI
    • Re:Fragmentation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by robmv (855035) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:07PM (#35097808)

      I think this is no different than iOS iPad version, Apple released a different UI than the one used on iPhone, with a lot of different APIs, then later both were merged when iPhone got a new iOS release. So Google saying Honeycomb is not for smartphones means, we need another release to integrate both, that makes sense to me

    • Re:Fragmentation (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zizagoo (1848812) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:11PM (#35097856)
      The Director Engineering said as much to TechRadar two weeks ago, so I'm surprised this is news. http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/honeycomb-may-never-come-to-mobiles-922897 [techradar.com] So Phones = 2.X, Tablets = 3.X, until Google reunite the number systems. According to the Dev blog post today, they're creating a Fragments API static library for use with phones going down to 1.6. http://android-developers.blogspot.com/2011/02/android-30-fragments-api.html [blogspot.com] so universal apps for tablets and phones can be coded.
    • I know you might find this hard to accept, but Apple actually did this with the iPad. The first iPad version of iOS never hit the iPhone and iOS 4 wasn't available on the iPad at release. They slowly blended them together, which, shock horror, is pretty much exactly was Google is doing with Android.
    • So on a platform that (supposedly) is already rife with fragmentation they are going to have completely different versions just for tablets?

      One: Note the word "supposedly".
      Two: Nope, they won't. While Honeycomb is for tablets, Ice Cream will be for phones (or phone/tablet convergence) has been previously reported, followed by the statement leading to the misinterpretation in TFA, Google has clarified [bgr.com], stating “The version of Honeycomb we’ve shown is optimized for tablet form factors. All of the UI changes are the future of Android. Yesterday’s event focused on tablet form factors, which is where you’ll first see Honeycom

    • by DeadboltX (751907)
      I would rather have two vastly different operating systems with each tailored to the device it is supposed to be on rather than what Apple has done. An iPad is literally just a huge iPod Touch, the world doesn't need more of that.
      • by Tacvek (948259)

        A Samsung Galaxy Tab is currently just an over-sized Android smartphone, down to literally still being a phone! Honecomb will add a bit more differentiation between the Android phones and tablets, but the Framework and Kernel have relatively few differences from gingerbread, and those changes will almost certainly find their way to smartphones where relevant.

        The real differences are in the built-in apps.For example, even when the UI changes of Honeycomb comes to phones, the version of the start screen seen

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      It may be as different as Windows 7 and Windows 2008R2, basically the same thing and most stuff works on both, but optimised for different uses.

    • by usul294 (1163169)
      Supposedly there is a 2.4 Ice Cream as the next smartphone iteration of Android. I'm not sure what the numbers mean exactly. I think this fragmentation might be good because you want apps that are written explicitly for tablets, and take advantage of the screen size, that don't have to work on small screens. Also, 2.x apps are going to be able to run on Honeycomb according to Google. From what I've seen of the Honeycomb SDK, the changes are to interact with the new UI, the hardware API's seem unchanged.
    • While you or I may not have a problem with using a tablet-optimized UI on a small screen, the average person might have trouble with the small fonts and buttons. Fragmentation is an absolute necessity if both form factors are to be utilized to their maximum potential...

      Personally, I'm torn between wanting to have Honeycomb on my phone (I run a custom LCD pixel density anyway, which makes screen elements about as small as they would be with the Xoom Honeycomb build scaled directly down to the smaller screen)

  • by TroZ (160902) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:54PM (#35097630)

    I guess that is because
    Honeycomb is Big!
    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!
    It's not small!
    No, No, No!

  • Of course it doesn't, and I'm glad it won't. The UI has been adapted for big screens!

    Notifications, fragments, new homescreen layout that makes better use of the extra screen space are only some of the specific changes for tablets. I hope everyone agrees that those changes don't make any sense for smartphones with smaller screens.

    Note that they mention that new honeycomb features WILL make it to smartphones. So what's the news?

    Some of those criticizing that Honeycomb won't make it as-is to smartphones proba

    • I have one and its a complete copy paste of the iphone, a big iphone for better and for worse.

      One way or the other, you are lying. The iPad UI differs in many ways from the iPhone UI. It is not a "complete copy/paste of the iPhone". The code is exactly the same, but the UI is certainly not.

      • Do a Google search for iPad. Look at the most common image for it (the one showing the home screen). Are you really trying to tell me that isn't nearly identical to the iPhone? The apps' UIs are the only thing different between the two.

        • The fact that Springboard is essentially the same does not mean the rest of the UI is. It's not. And what the fuck do you mean "The apps' UIs are the only thing different between the two."? Every single thing you see on the screen is an app UI. With the possible exception of the status bar at the top, depending on how you want to define it.

          The iPad UI and the iPhone UI are not the same, nor "nearly identical". The iPhone UI is a subset of the iPad UI. Not just in terms of the actual UI of the apps, but in t

          • The point is that that's the only area where it makes sense to draw comparisons. Developers can already do whatever they want in both Android and iOS (I'm talking *before* tablet APIs). The new APIs may make it easier, but if you're going to draw a comparison, you need to look at the parts of the OS that aren't "apps."

      • Other than the fact that the iPad's desktop launcher supports landscape orientation, what are the differences? I can't think of any offhand.

  • by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@NOsPaM.yahoo.com> on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:03PM (#35097760)

    The following is a legit set of questions...

    First, are tablet PCs *REALLY* the future of computing? I mean, PADDs were cool on Star Trek and all, but are they really more desirable than either smaller form factor laptops and/or the iPod Touch and its ilk on a grand scale? I realize that not everyone is like me and needs to carry around an 11-pound laptop everywhere, but despite the current iPad/Galaxy Tab craze, is it really likely that tablets will be the de facto laptop replacement in five years?

    Second, and more relevant to the topic, what's the major difference at an OS level in Honeycomb that makes it ideal for a tablet that's either 1.) unsuitable for mobile phones, or 2.) optimized for a tablet? I can see things at the application level that could be different (a bleeding obvious example being the Office 2007/2010 Ribbon), and making apps optimized for a tablet sized display would yield different capabilities, the least of which being a little UI scaling so there aren't unnecessary empty areas where additional controls could replace cascading menus,but at the OS level, what kind of tablet optimizations would make the code so radically different from smartphones and iPod Touch clones that it deserves its own fork?

    • At some point you want a real keyboard for one.

      Secondly, it is a nightmare on your neck and back to try and use a tablet for a couple hours on end.

      And, when you're used to having tons of screen real estate and multiple monitors, it is hard to be productive on a small, single screen.

      • It's not that hard to pair a bluetooth keyboard with the iPad and suspect the same for the android tablets. You can even get iPad cases with a built in keyboard: http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/e65a/?pfm=Carousel_iPad_Keyboard_Case_4 [thinkgeek.com]

        I don't find using the iPad any better/worse than a laptop.

        And if you're in a job/position where you need multiple monitors, then you aren't the target market for a tablet. But there are a lot more people out there who more or less need a calendar, email, ad

        • i cringe whenever I come across statements like "you're not the target market".
          ARM SoC designs might never replace today's core i7 behemoths but they're quickly reaching sufficiency for many computing tasks. Slap a 2nd hdmi port in and there's no reason why multi-monitors couldn't be driven by a smartphone or tablet (on ac power, as required). I'm talking the next-gen cortexA15 for performance reasons.
          Anything else is just software. If android won't scale up to a desktop experience, fingers crossed meego wi

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        1. My phone has both a real keyboard and will accept a bluetooth one.
        2. The tablet can be placed in a cradle if you plan to use it for long periods.
        3. There are many android phones with HDMI out. This means having a small screen while on the go and a large one at your desk are not at odds with each other. Multiple Monitors would require more HDMI outs, but that is not a huge limitation.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          3. There are many android phones with HDMI out. This means having a small screen while on the go and a large one at your desk are not at odds with each other. Multiple Monitors would require more HDMI outs, but that is not a huge limitation.

          Phone resolutions are nowhere near the resolution of multi-display setups, in fact they can't even match one modern display yet. So i'd say that's quite a long way off, not to mention you'd need touchscreen monitors otherwise you'd have to be simulating touch input with a mouse.

          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            No reason the video out must be constrained to the same resolution as the phone screen. There is also no reason why the touch input would need to be simulated. At worst case you have it you a different desktop environment.

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              No reason the video out must be constrained to the same resolution as the phone screen.

              I mean the GPUs aren't capable of those higher resolutions.

              There is also no reason why the touch input would need to be simulated. At worst case you have it you a different desktop environment.

              That's true, but it certainly would be annoying having to separate applications on one device based on what peripherals are connected to it.

              • by h4rr4r (612664)

                No reason for them to need to be capable of it. My netbook can't do enough pixels in hardware either for my other monitor at the same time, software rendering to the rescue! If you are not familiar with linux video not know that is something we can forgive.

                No need for separate applications either, the applications just would have to have gtk/qt frontends and android ones.

                • by exomondo (1725132)

                  No reason for them to need to be capable of it. My netbook can't do enough pixels in hardware either for my other monitor at the same time, software rendering to the rescue! If you are not familiar with linux video not know that is something we can forgive.

                  Not really ideal, but that would be a workable solution in the interim, at least until we get GPUs powerful enough to do it.

                  No need for separate applications either, the applications just would have to have gtk/qt frontends and android ones.

                  That's the tricky thing though not all applications are designed to do both in their workflow, so you get a different experience in each shell if - and only if - the application has 2 frontends coded for it. If not then switching to another application would mean you would have to switch shells as well.

                  i can see the potential for it but i doubt an OS with multiple shells that requires

    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:23PM (#35098030)

      For most users the answer is "Yes, these are the devices of the future of computing".

      I bought my iPad about a year ago. By July I stopped carrying a laptop. I didn't need it anymore and once I was able to get printing from the iPad, it did everything I needed at home and 95% of what I needed at work. I still have to dive into code/troubleshoot technical problems at work, but even that is getting less often. I still have an iMac there. I bought one of those bluetooth keyboard cases from think geek over christmas, but before that I used a docking station at home and the wireless keyboard at the office.

      But as far as email, word processing, spreadsheets, and even presentations go, I can do all of that on my iPad now. Even our SVN hosting has an iPad/iPhone app that I can check bug report status messages, assign tasks, etc.. If Barebones came out with BBEdit for iPad, I probably could get away with not even having a computer at work. (None of the work I do involves compiling anymore).

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Don't extrapolate too much -- computing seems to be finally diversifying, and making the assumption that $latest_new_thing is somehow generally the best solution for most people in most cases is ... probably over-eager. Don't get me wrong, I realize Ipad is awesome for you and millions of other people: I just don't see any evidence to support the claim that they are the "future of computing for most users"

    • No, tablets aren't the future of computing, just a part of it. All because I can make spreadsheets on my rooted Nook Color doesn't mean I want to. There will always be tasks you will want to keep doing on the PC.
    • I can carry a xPad/Tablet in one hand and use the other to control it like a clipboard. Laptop, not so much. So yeah, there is a need for a mobile computing device that isn't a "laptop" in a variety of places. The issue is can you model inputs to mimic that of a clipboard well enough to replace one?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I have a tablet. And I used to think like you. Tablets would never replace laptops.

      And I still think they won't. The thing is, I personally don't view tablets as 'small laptops' but rather 'large mobiles'. If you think of it that way, you get the clearest idea of what they're going to replace. You can't type as fast on a tablet , that's true. But if you want to read a document? Its brilliant. I can walk around, holding my Galaxy Tab in one hand, and I can sustain that for hours. I can watch videos on the bu

      • by breeze95 (880714)

        I have a tablet. And I used to think like you. Tablets would never replace laptops.

        And I still think they won't. The thing is, I personally don't view tablets as 'small laptops' but rather 'large mobiles'. If you think of it that way, you get the clearest idea of what they're going to replace. You can't type as fast on a tablet , that's true. But if you want to read a document? Its brilliant. I can walk around, holding my Galaxy Tab in one hand, and I can sustain that for hours. I can watch videos on the bus. I can play games on it when I'm bored.

        So no. Tablets won't replace laptops. But I think they'll replace Mobiles. Or rather fall in between. Carrying a 7'' tablet around is borderline. 10'' I'd say impossible.

        Really? Are you going to carry around your 7" or 10" tablet to make phone calls? My cell phone can fit in my shirt pocket and my tablet will not and wasn't meant to replace it. I just bought a Barnes & Noble Nook Color, and it is meant to fulfill most of the functions of my old laptop, if possible. My wife who is looking to buy a 10" Netbook would buy an iPad instead if it had a keyboard and she can use it to login into her school's website. The millions of iPad, Nook Color and Android tablets owners a

        • by Thing 1 (178996)
          Echoing your sister post: foldable/rollable. So it'll still be the same form factor (or perhaps smaller than my phone currently is), and it will enlarge to whatever dimension you need. And have a projector. And ponies.
    • by teadrop (1151099)
      To answer your questions:

      are tablet PCs *REALLY* the future of computing?

      For us (i.e. /. people), no, . But for the other 90% of population, it would be a resounding yes. I have seen many non-IT people using computers and I have never seen them doing any task that exceed the capability of an ipad.

      For years those 90% have been scammed into buying overpowering computers and thus brought down the average price of computing equipment so people like us would benefit. But that may not happen in the future...

      A CALL OF ACTION: we should talk down the tablets so

    • 1) There is about to be a ton of dirt cheap tablets. We are talking less than $50 cheap. It will be EVERYWHERE.

      2) I think it was just to refute Steve Jobs who jabbed that Honeycomb was just "A phone os".
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @08:06PM (#35098512)

      First, are tablet PCs *REALLY* the future of computing?

      No, they aren't the future of computing, anymore than any one of servers running could-enabling software, traditional laptops, smartphones and so on is the future of computing.

      Like each of those other things, tablets are part of the present of computing that is bound to have a role for quite some time in the future.

      is it really likely that tablets will be the de facto laptop replacement in five years?

      No, its likely that tablets will replace laptops for some users in 5 years (and, for some, they already have) and that they will fill serve new roles that laptops don't currently serve for other users. The set of niches for computing devices to fill is not fixed with new devices competing over the same limited set of niches. When laptops were introduced, some of them displaced desktops, but more of them opened up new roles.

      Second, and more relevant to the topic, what's the major difference at an OS level in Honeycomb that makes it ideal for a tablet that's either 1.) unsuitable for mobile phones, or 2.) optimized for a tablet?

      The ActionBar and some other UI changes are pretty much the only tablet specific parts. Other bits may be more resource intensive and not appropriate for current smartphones, but I wouldn't be surprised to see all of the features make it into Android versions targetting phones eventually. (Probably many of the features will come to phones relatively quickly in Ice Cream.)

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      They are not the complete future, but they will certainly play a part in it. I think you will see them replace some of the rugidised laptops used by field engineers. They will also be used as a sort of converged ebook reader / portable tv.

    • It's the short sighted vision of people like Rupert Murdoch, who have made great decisions in the past but are ignoring how things are playing out IMHO. I think we will see more and more customizable and personalized devices in the next 5-10 years and the idea of keyboard versus no keyboard will be moot. It will be up to the user, as it should be. Not everyone is alike and the technology to make very specialized devices becomes cheaper and cheaper by the day.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      Is it really likely that tablets will be the de facto laptop replacement in five years?

      Most definitely. Think about it. What's the big difference between a laptop and a tablet?

      No drives: solid state has taken off, and the network is fast and ubiquitous enough that you don't need optical drives.

      Few ports: Integration of features, and wireless tech has almost eliminated the need for wires, and hence, the ports they plugged into.

      Touch screen instead of a touch pad. Thia is at least a small improvement (i

      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        Well, that's a matter of definition then. A tablet with a keyboard and a stand for the screen - that has the same potential as a laptop, I'd agree with that. On the other hand - you could also call this a laptop.

        And having several separate pieces isn't necessarily a gain in convenience. Maybe in the near future we'll see pads with slide-out keyboards - essentially convertible computers.

    • by Zelgadiss (213127)

      Despite what Steve Jobs thinks, I doubt tablets will replace desktops and their portable cousin laptops for doing real work.

      Tablets have their place, they are "great carry around" computers.
      I think of them as clipboards. You can do some writing on them, but if you are writing a novel you might want to do it at a desk sitting on a chair.

    • by Eivind (15695)

      There isn't one "future of computing", there are many. You won't see stacks of tablets acting as webservers. You won't see programmers inputting C-code by tapping a on-screen-keyboard on a tablet.

      You *will* see a proliferation of different form-factors intended for different purposes. Sometimes 2 distinct form-factors may merge into one product, and sometimes one multi-function device can split into two (or more) special-purpose devices.

      A tablet is a special-purpose device optimised for consumption of infor

    • The following is a legit set of questions...

      First, are tablet PCs *REALLY* the future of computing? I mean, PADDs were cool on Star Trek and all, but are they really more desirable than either smaller form factor laptops and/or the iPod Touch and its ilk on a grand scale? I realize that not everyone is like me and needs to carry around an 11-pound laptop everywhere, but despite the current iPad/Galaxy Tab craze, is it really likely that tablets will be the de facto laptop replacement in five years?

      For the average consumer, who doesn't do a lot of text entry? Very likely.

      Hopefully this will lead to a world in which only tablets and Thinkpads/EliteBooks/Dell Precision are available. No more crappy consumer laptops with incredibly bad keyboards, super-glossy screens and mediocre battery life.

      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        No more crappy consumer laptops with incredibly bad keyboards, super-glossy screens and mediocre battery life.

        Well, an on-screen keyboard on a touch screen makes even the crappiest laptop-keyboard look good. And as far as glossy screens go ... at least the iPad is pretty horrible in that respect.

    • It is a false dichotomy to imply that either tablets or laptops will be the future. Tablets are the great for consumption, less so for work. They have a bright future in personal entertainment, they have little to no future in word processing and programing. Both will continue to be a success for their target markets, and given the pace of technology, we will all likely have both in the not too distant future.

  • Just kidding (Score:5, Informative)

    by oldmankdude (1196325) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:08PM (#35097820)
    Looks like Google clarified what they said a bit (original source): http://www.bgr.com/2011/02/03/google-will-not-bring-honeycomb-to-smartphones/ [bgr.com]
  • Credit where due.. This is the original article... http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379271,00.asp [pcmag.com]
  • Already Corrected (Score:5, Informative)

    by mmurphy000 (556983) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:43PM (#35098246)
    If you actually get to the Boy Genius Report post [bgr.com], you will see that this statement has already been corrected, at least somewhat:

    The version of Honeycomb we’ve shown is optimized for tablet form factors. All of the UI changes are the future of Android. Yesterday’s event focused on tablet form factors, which is where you’ll first see Honeycomb.

  • BGR, the source of this info writes:

    UPDATE: It turns out there may have been a bit of confusion surrounding Kovacs’ comments at the Google event. Google reached out to clarify, supplying BGR with the following statement: “The version of Honeycomb we’ve shown is optimized for tablet form factors. All of the UI changes are the future of Android. Yesterday’s event focused on tablet form factors, which is where you’ll first see Honeycomb.”

    In other words, they said it's going to be optimized for tablets first but did not specifically state that it won't be on phones.

  • I'm still waiting for google to get it's ass in gear and release the update for the nexus one. Come on, google, you said it was going to be your damn reference hardware.
  • Atlan: How soon can this be fitted to our space choppers?
    Plaxton: Napier.
    [Napier exits]
    Atlan: Well?
    Plaxton: What's wrong with the Mark One? It gives your space choppers TD twelve.
    Atlan: Not as good as fifteen. No Space Rat likes to put up with second best.
    Plaxton: Speed and violence. That's all you Space Rats think about.
    Atlan: As you well know, I am not a Space Rat. But so long as I give them what they want, they accept me as their leader.
    Plaxton: Mindless destruction of Federation ships. It's mindless; yo

  • Honeycomb looks amazing on a tablet, and just like Steve Jobs said, iOS is like "baby software" compared to it.

    Apple needs to make iOS on tablet more optimized for the bigger screen, and for the same reason, I don't expect Honeycomb fits the small screen of a smart phone. iOS still makes more sense on a Phone.

  • Whyt he fuck does the new system, in your "Comments" section for your account, take you to the parent conversation when you click on it instead of your fucking post? It's very stupid, is this some new "default" functionality I need to turn off? Seriously, why would I want to dig through a conversation tree looking for _my_ post, instead of being taken right to it?

    • by julesh (229690)

      Dunno. It's totally idiotic, and it applies to all links to posts, including the one when you've just posted a comment via a new window rather than the embedded form.

    • by gtall (79522)

      Yep, this site is become more and more a PITA with each new round of changes. I think it is a social experiment gone horribly wrong because it is run by demented aliens who figure if they cannot suck your brain matter out through your ears they can at least destroy it in situ.

    • I'm pretty sure it's a bug. I hope they fix it. The new system really shouldn't have been released with it in place, though.

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Friday February 04, 2011 @08:51AM (#35102496) Journal

    ...anyone else think this is a seriously bad idea?

    You're essentially creating two operating systems to develop for. Now I don't just have to support the quirks of iPhone+iPad+iTouch/Android I have to support Android Tablet as well.

    I seriously hope, and there very likely is, a plan at Google exists for merging at 3.1 or something similar. Come on Google, Android is much more developer friendly than iOS, let's keep it that way (please note that I did not say 'better'.)

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