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Android Honeycomb Born Too Early 192

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bees-are-in-my-mouth dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "This year's Mobile World Congress was the stage for dozens of new tablets. Unfortunately, Android Honeycomb tablets lacked presence; amongst the top Android tablets demonstrated at the show, only the Motorola Xoom was running Honeycomb, whereas others were running either Android 2.3 or older versions. Moreover, most of the top apps announced for the OS were not new, just reworked. Gigaom may believe that Honeycomb tablets will be iPad's true competition, but progress has been slow, in my opinion. Honeycomb was born too early, primarily out pressure from the iPad getting a one year headstart in the tablet market."
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Android Honeycomb Born Too Early

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  • by goombah99 (560566) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:44AM (#35279012)

    Widows 3 was half baked too. Imagine for a moment there was no iphone (or mac) to compare andorid (win 3) to. both would seem amazing. But the are kind of a joke compared to the seamlessness of the apple garden. Win3 more so. andorid is pretty polished.

    The difference this time is that there's no substantial price differential. even the cheapest android is only a couple hundred less than the apple model. not so in the days of win 3. Also the Apple SDK has made it more not less enterprise ready.

    So it's hard to make comparisons.

    • One of the main problems with initial ndroid releases (2.2, 2.3, 3.0, etc) is that Google works very closely with only one vendor. All the rest then need to play catch-up. With only one 'set of hands' working with the HW/SW mix you don't get as much progress before it hits the stores/streets.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Not really. Google seems to work closely with HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. HTC made the G1, and the Nexus. Samsung makes the Nexus S. Motorola makes the Xoom tablet plus Google really did work with them on the Droid. I thing they also worked hard with Sony since 2.3 has support for game controllers for the Playstation phone.
        The lag isn't being caused by Google not working with them. The lag is being caused by Sense, Touch Wiz, and MotoBlur. I forget what Sony calls their skin of Android. Combine that with th

    • by Okonomiyaki (662220) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:54AM (#35279166) Homepage

      Title: just like windows 3
      Conclusion: it's hard to make comparisons

      You win.

    • I can't get Windows 3.0 to run in colour on my 8086 with EGA graphics. Anyone help?

      I'm serious. Best I can find out is that Windows 3.0's colour drivers require at least a 286, so I'm stuck with monochrome for now.

      • I can't get Windows 3.0 to run in colour on my 8086 with EGA graphics. Anyone help?

        I'm serious. Best I can find out is that Windows 3.0's colour drivers require at least a 286, so I'm stuck with monochrome for now.

        Hast thou considered asking thy question on SuperUser [superuser.com]?

      • by SETIGuy (33768)

        I'm serious. Best I can find out is that Windows 3.0's colour drivers require at least a 286, so I'm stuck with monochrome for now.

        I'd be surprised if that's true. I used to run Windows 3.0 at 640x480x16 on a VGA board. (Same board (Video7 VEGA) used to run Windows 1.04 at 800x600x16, which was very nice for CAD.) That machine did have a V30, so maybe there was some instruction set requirement for the standard windows driver that a standard 8086/8 doesn't have. Your best bet is to find the driver for your specific graphics board, especially if it's a EGA+ that supports higher resolutions or colors than 640x350x16.

    • Widows 3 was half baked too. Imagine for a moment there was no iphone (or mac) to compare andorid (win 3) to. both would seem amazing. But the are kind of a joke compared to the seamlessness of the apple garden. Win3 more so. andorid is pretty polished.

      The difference this time is that there's no substantial price differential. even the cheapest android is only a couple hundred less than the apple model. not so in the days of win 3. Also the Apple SDK has made it more not less enterprise ready.

      So it's hard to make comparisons.

      Following that logic, Apple (or IBM with OS/2) should have roundly and soundly whomped (a technical term) Windows in the marketplace back in the 80s and 90s... but didn't. Personally, I think they will continue to retain their lead for a Long Time, but it's not a completely fair comparison to Windows 3 back in the day.

  • Not too early. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by teh31337one (1590023) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:45AM (#35279032)

    amongst the top Android tablets demonstrated at the show, only the Motorola Xoom was running Honeycomb, whereas others were running either Android 2.3 or older versions.

    Hmm, we had the Galaxy Tab 10.1, and LG G-pad too. They both had Honeycomb.

    whereas others were running either Android 2.3 or older versions

    Considering Google haven't released the source code for Honeycomb yet, I'm not surprised others didn't have Honeycomb.

    • Considering Google haven't released the source code for Honeycomb yet, I'm not surprised others didn't have Honeycomb.

      Considering that people consider Android to be an open source project, I'm surprised to not see others with a pre-release version of Honeycomb too.

      • Re:Not too early. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kangsterizer (1698322) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:52AM (#35279882)

        Android is pretty much "open source when Google decides"

        Not like Meego for example, which is more in thee spirit of the open source development (and most other open source projects)

        • Re:Not too early. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @11:08AM (#35280066)

          Yea I know. I noticed this behavior when the Droid was coming out. Evidently the only way Google is able to get hardware vendors on board is to offer some exclusivity to them prior to release. I always wondered how HTC felt being "shafted" by the exclusive deal with Motorola after they were the ones that put Android phones in the hands of the consumer.

          It's as if Google is using "open source development" as a facade to sell Android to us geeks. It's not really fully open sourced if we are only allowed to fix bugs or add features after the initial version release. Then again we are only fixing bugs and adding features to OUR phones, since the average non-rooting consumer will most likely be stuck with the initial version of the OS that came with their phone for the life of the contract.

          Still it is the more open than iOS, but less open than Meego.

          • Yeah that's the only reason I would like Meego to succeed. (or to have succeeded, who knows ;)
            I can hack around Android (i run Android from sources, 2.3.2 + some unfortunately required binaries from the original phone), its not that bad, but it's not all that good either on that point of view.

            Unfortunately most people still don't get the differences and advantages of freedom vs free as in beer, and confuse them a lot. Real open development is seriously good. Maybe not for capitalism (although many using rea

      • by Namarrgon (105036)

        All *released* versions of Android are fully open source, unreleased not so much. Honeycomb had only an early pre-release of code a couple weeks earlier, so no surprise that not only partner vendors had time to port it to their hardware.

        That said, the xda guys got that early Honeycomb running (unpolished) on the Nook Color, so what you're looking for did exist, at least unofficially.

  • Too early? If anything the summary gives you the idea that it came too late. But I digress.

    Only time will tell if Android 3.0 is any good, but as long as nothing extremely unlikely happens, Android isn't going anywhere: it has a sizable market presence and some of us even like it. As long as I can add my home-made apps to my handsets/tablets, I'll keep using Android. It can only get better.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Too early, too late, nothing's ever just on time anymore :P

      I'm pretty happy with my G-Tablet running a custom TnT-Lite ROM (well, "custom" in the sense that it uncustomized all the crap that Viewsonic put in the OS). The surprising thing for me was that Dolphin HD was the main app I find myself using on it... in preference to all of the crappy app-ified versions of several services. Flash videos and stuff work great, much better than my eeePC (probably due to the nVidia stuff).

      I'm looking forward to getti

      • Obsolescence.

        And agreed - current Android builds work just fine on tablets...

      • Re:"Too Early" (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:52AM (#35279876)

        I'm pretty happy with my G-Tablet running a custom TnT-Lite ROM (well, "custom" in the sense that it uncustomized all the crap that Viewsonic put in the OS). The surprising thing for me was that Dolphin HD was the main app I find myself using on it... in preference to all of the crappy app-ified versions of several services. Flash videos and stuff work great, much better than my eeePC (probably due to the nVidia stuff).

        Here's my delima which probably mirror others. I'd like to have a tablet PC to take with me on a very long (more than 24 hours from the first plane to the last plane) flight itinerary. I can get a Viewsonic gTablet 10.1 for $350, spend an afternoon installing one of the xda custom ROMs and get a crippled experience in exchange for getting a 2.2 version of Android working on an otherwise fine piece of hardware (WTF Viewsonic?). Or I can spend a $100 more and get an iPad (that may soon be replaced with iPad2) but works out of the box with all the apps that would keep me entertained and somewhat productive until I land and able to use my laptop.

        I'd like to play with an Android tablet, since I have an Android phone *but* my time is worth more than the $100 I'd save. So I wait...

        • I bought and rooted my Nook Color ($250). The battery lasts fairly long, it's got fairly decent performance (I think it uses an 800 or 850 MHz ARM processor?), it's easily modifiable, and very difficult to brick. It also has a very nice 7 inch color screen. It does everything I would want on a tablet. Why not look into that?

          • My daughter has one that she uses for reading, and she is happy with its response.

            I heard there was a way of booting an alternate firmware version from the MicroSD without messing with the original stock nook ROM. If this proves to be true, than I might consider running out and spending $250 on something that may not get used much. Then again, I could just use the stock ROM and read a book during the flight.

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          keep me entertained and somewhat productive until I land and able to use my laptop.

          Or you could just use your laptop on the flight.

  • by jac89 (979421) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:46AM (#35279052)
    Both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and the LG Optimus Pad (G-Slate) were running honeycomb at MWC. http://www.androidcentral.com/lg-optimus-pad-hands [androidcentral.com] http://www.androidcentral.com/hands-10-inch-samsung-galaxy-tab-android-30-honeycomb [androidcentral.com]
  • by Qwavel (733416) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @09:47AM (#35279076)

    As far as I can tell, the only evidence to support adeelaershad82's conclusion that Android was "born too early" is that the top apps are not new. To my surprise, none of the links given really backup or explain his this thesis.

    So, at launch, Honeycomb will not have very many tablet-specific apps, so early adopters will be stuck mostly with regular Android apps. Wow! Big surprise.

    If this is the best attack on Android they can come up with then Honeycomb must be pretty good.

    • by alvinrod (889928)
      Actually it's better that Honeycomb is coming out now. If it weren't, companies would still be releasing Android tablets, but they would all be based on 2.2 or 2.3, which many will admit isn't exactly designed for the tablet form factor. The companies that make these tablets really don't care if the OS isn't the best, they're more concerned with shipping units and making money. They've seen how successful Apple has been, and depending on whose numbers you believe, the Galaxy S Tab may have also done impress
    • by bonch (38532)

      So, at launch, Honeycomb will not have very many tablet-specific apps, so early adopters will be stuck mostly with regular Android apps. Wow! Big surprise.

      That's actually a bigger issue than your dismissiveness implies.

      • The iPad also had a pretty limited selection of "optimised" apps at release; didn't take long for that to change.

        And unlike with iOS, most existing Android apps scale nicely to any resolution and aspect, rather than just being pixel-doubled, thanks to Android's resolution-independent UI API. You can release a tablet-optimised version of your app to take better advantage of the extra screen area, but at least it won't be ignored altogether.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      To my surprise, none of the links given really backup or explain his this thesis.

      thesis? wtf?

  • Look at the iPad. It's half backed in my opinion. That's why I will not buy it. The absence of a rear camera and gyroscope make it a none starter for me, yet millions have bought the device and are satisfied.

    If the folks at Motorola price the Xoom well, they will sell millions...well, it does not look so.

    Folks, for many things in this world, it is a matter of perception. Period.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Okay I find your complaints about the Ipad odd at bast. No gyro or rear facing camera?
      I don't get it.
      I would find taking pictures with the iPad to be cumbersome at best so why would I want a rear facing camera.
      Gyros maybe but really but I do not know that motion gaming with the ipad will be all that practical because of the size.
      To me you are really missing a lot of the really big missing features.
      1. No multitasking. The new fast task switching is at the same level as switcher for Mac OS was way back when.

      • by Karlt1 (231423)

        1. No multitasking. The new fast task switching is at the same level as switcher for Mac OS was way back when. It is a fast improvement but not really multitasking.

        So it's "not really multitasking" that:

        1. Music apps work in the background (Pandora, iPod, etc.) and can be controlled by the standard music controls of iOS devices.

        2. VoIP apps work in the background. (iCall, Yahoo Messenger voice chat, etc) and allow you talk and receive calls.

        3. Navigation apps/Location aware apps work in the background.

        4. Ap

        • You have to excuse him. He wanted a replacement for Microsoft's Tablet PC at a much lower price, and you wanted a dedicated media consumer appliance that works out of the box the way you like it.

          I don't know why the two camps can't get along on Slashdot, but here we are.

          • by bonch (38532)

            I don't know why the two camps can't get along on Slashdot, but here we are.

            Because this is Google territory, and Google is one of Apple's competitors.

          • by Belial6 (794905)

            consumer appliance that works out of the box the way you like it.

            I think this kind of statement is a sign of having fallen for the PR. Clearly none of the devices "work the way you like". If they did, you wouldn't look forward to newer models with better features.

            • I don't per se think it's "falling for the PR" so much as natural evolution of expectations as you learn what you want, what you need, and what you like or dislike. When I bought my Palm Treo I had an image of a device that "worked the way I liked". It was a phone and it could surf the web and check my e-mail. That was what I wanted when I bought it, and for three years it gave good service. It even, in the end, did some unexpected things like running a (really awful) SSH client and playing a few games

            • I think you meant marketing instead of PR, and it's marketing that makes us desire the newest model of just about anything.

              No I haven't fallen for the PR, but thanks for the concern.

              Anyway, Google doesn't need marketing to make us buy the newest Android handset/tablet. We just assume that maybe they got it working correctly on the newer models :P

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            Not really. I do not think that the iPad sucks just that it isn't perfect. As I said the task switching isn't a terrible solution and a huge improvement over when the iPad was launched with out it.
            Thing is that when a product is launched like the iPad I must ask myself what would make it better. It is just my nature. Everything can be improved.
            I noticed that no one commented on my other complants about it.
            The simple truth is that the iPad so good IMHO it is getting very close to being the ideal solution for

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      There's a lot of things to gripe about with the iPad, but a rear camera? A gyroscope? Holding up a 10-inch aluminium slab to wave it around and take pictures are make-or-break features to you? You sound like the kind of guy who has a laser sight on his golf clubs.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I can see lots of uses for rear facing cameras on tablets. I haven't looked at the quality of the iPad's camera, but the video on my G2 and Nexus One are both better than the quality of the picture on my Canon Camcorder. The Camcorder is in the closet, never to be used again. With that in mind, I can certainly see how someone might want to use an iPad as a camcorder. That way you could see what you are taking a video of without having to peek through a little hole. Heck, I could see it being used for t
  • It's not too early for Android. It may be too late. Android's biggest flaw is that Google isn't "steering the ship at all". Unfortunately, it's just about to hit a rock. Contrast that to Apple (run by obsessive-compulsive micro-managers) that tries to chart a course with millimeter tolerance.
    If it were not for so many people eschewing Apple (and it's closed platform) in favor of Android, it would all be over.

    • Can't imagine why you think Android is directionless.

      The difference is that, where Apple controls, restricts and micromanages as you say, Google simply leads Android, and vendors are free to follow along or not (most do). The only incentive to follow that Google explicitly provides is its own apps and Market, which are arguably important but not actually necessary.

  • I saw another article talking about the $500 price point as being 'unbeatable' in the market, this is an odd place for Apple as they actually seem to be the price leader. I'm sure that Google will sort things out with Android's issues, but for now, I think this is Apple's game.
    • by Sockatume (732728)

      I suspect it's the iPod Shuffle all over again. Apple was able to undercut competitors on price by buying up a simple majority of the available flash memory supply. They're probably doing something similar on displays to keep the iPad cost low without compromising their "high-end" image.

      (That they're willing to cut off features on the presumption that they're not big selling points can't hurt.)

    • You can get Android tablets at slightly cheaper prices (Notion Ink's Adam), equivalent prices and higher prices (Xoom) - and of all of these significantly outstrip the iPad in features. From what we've heard, they will outstrip the iPad 2 as well. Don't know why you think this isn't competitive.

      If you go a fair bit cheaper, the Nook Color makes a very decent alternative (some assembly required). Going much cheaper unsurprisingly requires a big drop in features and usability, but we're talking less than half

      • No you can't. With the exception of the Nook none are shipping while rooted Nook Color is not a mass market product - that's a geek toy.

  • Uninformed OMG!!!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JAlexoi (1085785) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:10AM (#35279350) Homepage
    At MWC 2011 the following new tablets were presented:
    • Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Honeycomb)
    • LG Optimus Pad (Honeycomb)
    • Huawei IDEOS S7 (Froyo)
    • HTC Flyer (Gingerbread)

    Huawei and HTC devices didn't have Honeycomb on them. HTC said that Flyer would get Honeycomb at at lunch or right after launch.
    In essence, there are 5 new tablets(Moto XOOM) on the scene. With 60%(3/5) of them on Honecomb!
    If you add Galaxy Tab, then it drops to 50%.


    The Honeycomb Born Too Early is an overstatement at this point.

    • by Glock27 (446276)

      HTC said that Flyer would get Honeycomb at at lunch or right after launch.

      Calm down, now. They're only tablet computers, not anything terribly exciting... ;-)

      Your post did make me realize I'm hungry though.

    • by CaseM (746707)

      would get Honeycomb at at lunch

      I knew it! Should have never scheduled that noon meeting...

  • Thesis? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:15AM (#35279420) Journal
    TFS' assertion that Honeycomb is "born too early" seems not just ill-supported; but simply followed by irrelevant information occupying the location where supporting details customarily go.

    Obviously, Honeycomb is later than Google would want it to be. All software, even stuff that ships as predicted, is later than its creators would want(because who wouldn't want software to be done in zero time?) However, that seems to have no logical connection to how many devices are being displayed with it. As with essentially any OS that isn't tied directly to one specific product, early development likely occurs on dev boards that will never be made into products, or on last-gen stuff that is deemed adequately representative for testing purposes. Eventually, it matures enough to appear in public facing tech demos, and then it ships. In this case, Motorola seems to have been the BFF launch buddy. Other than the trivial sense in which it is "too early" for Honeycomb to have broad distribution(which is true of every software package at some point in its life) how is this relevant?

    Clearly, Google is working on catching up to the incumbent(and busy stealing share from the other players, especially no networks that Apple doesn't care to deal with); but, unless there is a cogent argument that Apple will do something in the near future that will be so groundbreaking that Google will just have to run away and abandon their efforts, the notion that they are "too late" seems dubious. Later than they would like, obviously; but (unless public reports are being fudged pretty seriously) moving more than enough Android devices to make their improvement efforts strategically viable, possibly even self-sustaining, for the forseeable future.
  • Two problems.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:15AM (#35279424) Homepage

    iPad has 2 years head start. Honestly Apple had been working on it for more than 30 seconds. Google has a LOT of catch-up to do.
    Most of the manufacturers of android tablets are making low grade junk in hardware quality and choice. Yes the new ones are far better but have a price point that is the same as a iPad, so now they have to compete in direct comparison. If you were able to undershoot by even as little as $100.00 you make sales a whole lot easier. Hit the $200.00 price point and suddenly you will get even ipad diehards buying them.

    But, what was released at the $200.00 pricepoint were junk. Processors and ram to slow and small to even run android 1.x decently. All of them came with a bastardized version of android and not a pure android that would have ran faster. AND all of them had severe battery problems that make them useless as a tablet.... sorry but 10 hours on and playing a video is needed. I do not want to have to charge my tablet nightly. WEEKLY is the most you will get on the charger.

    Android will get there, but the current offerings do not entice me. more expensive than an ipad and still not big enough screens. Dammit I need a 8.5" by 11" screen with the resolution to match. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, and students all would want this size.

    • by jo_ham (604554)

      I think it's telling on the price point. Everyone assumes that Apple has just slapped a massive profit margin on the iPad and released it (even though it was released a few hundred cheaper than most estimates originally, they just revised downwards), but I think people are starting to realise that the components really are that expensive right now and that it's very, very difficult to undershoot the price of the iPad while keeping the hardware decent (it is a benefit to Apple that they have economies of sca

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      I am really surprised that we have not seen a single tablet that is 8.5"x11". Yes, it is a little big, but there would be great value in having the screen be a correct size for paper.
    • I certainly agree that the cheapest Android tablets are junk, just like the cheapest phones, cheapest cars, and cheapest products of any open market. But we don't judge all cars by the crap ones when there are many great alternatives, and those are now arriving (with Google's blessing).

      Take the Notion Ink Adam - cheaper than iPad, much fancier hardware (including a Pixel Qi screen option for full daylight operation), and a UI with lots of nice tablet-oriented improvements. The Galaxy Tab sold well (with les

  • by swb (14022) on Tuesday February 22, 2011 @10:34AM (#35279648)

    Could Google slightly change the "rules" for Android to keep release cycles and the released base a little tighter?

    I'm an admitted iPhone addict and one of the things that keeps me from looking at Android is going back to the world of waiting for the carrier to "approve" or distribute OS updates and the sinking feeling that they won't ever approve them (so you'll re-up and get a new phone...)

    If Google could tweak their language a tad, maybe they could coerce handset makers and carriers to either more frequently approve updates or allow customers to bypass the vendor and carrier and self-install. This might also require rules designed to keep handset makers and/or carriers from de-standardizing Android so much that updates can't be applied or are onerous to create (which gives them an excuse to not create them...)

    They might also create a "new device sunset" date for specific Android revisions so that vendors can't release an "obsolete" Android version on new hardware, promising updates that they never deliver as they chase after the next hot thing.

    • by TyIzaeL (1203354)

      If Google could tweak their language a tad, maybe they could coerce handset makers and carriers to either more frequently approve updates or allow customers to bypass the vendor and carrier and self-install. This might also require rules designed to keep handset makers and/or carriers from de-standardizing Android so much that updates can't be applied or are onerous to create (which gives them an excuse to not create them...)

      I have to admit, this is really my biggest problem with my Android device. It's a Motorola Milestone running 2.1. It's capable of running 2.3, but I doubt it will ever see an official update.

      • by hey! (33014)

        I wonder if this kind of problem isn't inherent in using a non-proprietary OS in the smartphone market.

        Users -- some users at least -- want to be able to treat their phone hardware like their computer hardware. That would work if everyone bought unlocked phones and then purchased their data plans separately. But we don't buy smartphones this way. We buy them "subsidized" by the carrier, which is another way to say we buy them in package deals where we have no clear idea how much each of the pieces cost us.

    • I hear you. I'm a iPhone owner willing to look at Android devices, but the questionable updates thing has me saying no. I understand even the Nexus One isn't current with updates of Android and if Google can't/won't keep their own phone up to date, then it's too big a risk to bet on anybody else.
  • The only things Android would need for tablets are reworked apps and a resolution independent UI API.

    If Android hasn't had a good resolution independent UI API since birth, I'm a little afraid given how flexible it's supposed to be. The built in browser, email client, and other system default apps should be rebuilt for larger screen resolutions.

    I think GigOm is full of it, and I normally fanboy for Apple.

  • I am okay with people criticising products that have actually been given a fair chance. But honeycomb is not even out. Of course earlier versions of android will have more apps - what an unbelievable stupid observation.

    The web is flooded with critics trashing products that have not even been released, and products that these critics have never even used.

    Why do I suspect that some of this is a smear campaign from the competition?

  • You will see this xmas, more HC tablets than you can shake a stick at. The platform is just getting started, it's essentially finished and now it is up to device makers to finish polishing their industrial designs and start shipping out tablets. The main difference between Android and iOS (and people often forget this) is that every aspect is not under central control. It takes a while for Google to release the OS, then it takes a while for chip vendors to release a BSP (usually with Google's help), then it

  • You're saying there weren't many Honeycomb tablets out yet and because of that Honeycomb was born too early?

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