Five Years of Android Honeycomb 3.0: When Google Decided to Take Tablets Seriously

Feeling old yet? It has become a perfect meme to talk about how quickly that passes the time. Sure that you have seen ever on social networks to talk about how a celebrity “suddenly” it has aged a lot or your life has changed completely. That feeling is not unique, in the world of technology also takes place and Today we have to remember that Android 3.0 Honeycomb came out five years ago. What, do you feel a little older now?

It seems impossible, but yes, five years (just a little brand new Xataka Android) Google announced Android 3.0 Honeycomb, specifically the January 5, 2011. We had to wait until the middle of February to see how came to our hands with the Motorola Xoom, which at the time we thought was the greatest thing that had done with Android. Now, in 2016, the situation of the tablets has changed a lot and all that ambition that Google has been diluted.

Placing order at a time of much chaos

In 2011 Matías Duarte walked away from his current position as Vice President of design at Google. Five years ago He already had experience working on the design of interfaces for some versions of PalmOS. Mountain View decided to sign him and proposed a challenge: make a version of Android optimized for tablets. Said and done, this was the first time Duarte hand you could see in the operating system. Change with important Gingerbread. Inside video.

Honeycomb had that futuristic touch and cyber that we had seen in Gingerbread. Black, blue, neon lights, This version of Android for tablets seemed to come from the future. The main hook was the introduction of applications optimized for large screens. Google finally dared to use so much space and not just offer stretched versions of the apps that we had in the mobile.

I remember Honeycomb as a veritable revolution in 2011. There was much enthusiasm at the time as few devices that came with this version surprised us. Set notification bar, optimized applications and a promise that ended not complied with in the future: the developers were going to adapt their creations. All that was in the air and rarely came to materialize. It was difficult to convince developers that worth the effort to have an optimized application.

Google made a major effort to bring us a more attractive browser, a video editor (which I think nobody managed to get out) and some promises of productivity that later took shape on other operating systems such as Windows 8 and its convertible devices. That was still underway. We, meanwhile, lost the head with tablet with keyboard like that Asus Ee Pad Transformer.

His life was short and showed us that Google liked the versions of transition: updates to Android that brought many new features but who subsequently received a major revision. Ice Cream served to Polish many things, not the sufficient because then he had another much-needed patch called Jelly Bean. In any case, Honeycomb served to lay the foundations of what should be Android tablets. A pity that their legacy has been so short.

The abandonment of the Android tablets

Honeycomb came a little later than desired. Apple’s iPad had been a year in the market and with them started the fashion of the tablets. Android manufacturers clung to Gingerbread with all kinds of customizations that today would make us bleed from the eyes. Google placed order with Android 3.0 and from there the tablets (both seven and ten inches) were settled as most attractive devices.

The years were passing and we were seeing very attractive devices: that ASUS, the first Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, Tablet Nexus, Xperia Z Tablet, models oriented to play as the NVIDIA Shield Tablet, convertible from China the Xiaomi MiPad came… All this enthusiasm has been lost and with each new version of Android updates for the tablets were reducing increasingly. This year, for example, we have not had a Tablet Nexus. Yes, Google has launched a Pixel C but the product philosophy is different.

Today Android for tablets has been very stagnant: screen size is not well used and the tendency is to show all in very large sizes to fill the space. Material Design has helped to a certain extent the same design of an app to be scalable to different formats but the reality today is that takes care not just optimization in tablets.

Android 3.0 served its purpose: bring order to the chaos of manufacturers who wanted to sell tablets at all costs but his work was not enough in the long run. The system intended for tablets will drift. Pixel C could have been a good beacon, but when compared to other iOS or 10 Windows Mobile platforms we see that Android has been in the queue. In mobile, little can be blamed him but as a Tablet does need a new Honeycomb to be at the forefront.