The Honeycomb Update & Software Preload

When I reviewed the Motorola Xoom I praised Honeycomb for being a brave effort by Google to reinvent the Android UI, as well as for delivering a tabbed web browser as a part of the default software configuration. Since that review Google updated Honeycomb to 3.0.1 and enabled support for Adobe Flash 10.2.

The move to 3.0.1 fixed some obvious bugs with the OS; nearly everything I complained about in our Xoom review has been addressed either mostly or entirely. Right now the biggest issue that remains with 3.0.1 has to do with performance. From a clean boot, Honeycomb feels reasonably snappy but performance seems to degrade quicker with use than on earlier Android releases. Force quitting apps will generally restore performance but it's something I've noticed seems necessary more frequently than on phones that run Froyo or Gingerbread.

With flash enabled the Honeycomb web browser is pretty compatible with a lot of what you'll encounter on the web. There are occasionally issues, such as the reddit front page:

Performance is good on simpler pages but it can quickly get bogged down on anything more complex with a lot of Flash. Google is planning a major update to Honeycomb that should improve performance across the board but there's no skirting the issue that we'll need more CPU and GPU power in these tablets.

While the Honeycomb experience is mostly stock on the Eee Pad, ASUS does include some custom software. ASUS' MyNet app is a DLNA controller that lets you push content from the Eee Pad to DLNA compliant devices on the same network. The Eee Pad also has a couple of custom widgets enabled, mainly weather, time/date and email. As I mentioned earlier, ASUS even enabled screenshot functionality from within the OS:

The Eee Pad comes pre-loaded with an Android office suite called Polaris Office. Polaris includes a document, spreadsheet, and presentation app, all of which are compatible with Microsoft Office as well as Google Docs.

If you supply your Google login credentials you can edit/save documents stored in the cloud. It's a pretty useful set of apps that work very well with the Eee Pad in docked mode as a netbook replacement. Unfortunately several bouts of instability and the fact that Polaris doesn't auto save your documents kept me from using the apps to write too much of this review.

ASUS ships the Eee Pad with a custom live wallpaper it calls MyWater. The animated background represents battery life by a rising/falling water level in a virtual glass. The water will also slosh around depending on how you hold the tablet. Unfortunately battery life is impacted by the wallpaper on the order of 4% and animated backgrounds can reduce overall system performance so I recommend disabling it.

ASUS thankfully did away with the dreadful back/home/task icons Motorola used on the Xoom. The icons in the lower left of the screen are far more legible now.

Battery Life & Performance Final Words
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  • agprimed - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    Would love even more to have one Reply
  • Magictoaster - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I can has tablet Reply
  • honvl - Monday, July 18, 2011 - link

    I'd study for a networking certification at the local park by reading ebooks and using telnet over wifi. Reply
  • javelin_tech@msn.com - Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - link

    Where were these 5 years ago? Reply
  • MikeFagi - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    All the convertibles should use this attachment, because too many have broken or damaged hinges, so an attachment with a replaceable keyboard would ensure long term usability and durability. Reply
  • MikeFagi - Thursday, July 21, 2011 - link

    I wish that the reviews indicated if the USB ports in these devices are compatible with USB wireless internet sticks, like the Sprint Novatel/Sierra or the Verizon... that way you could get internet on the go and still use the stick with your laptop. Many linux laptops can use the USB wireless sticks, so an Android device might, if it is based on linux as I heard. Also, can the USB support external keyboards or mice? I would much prefer a full sized external keyboard and to connect this device to an external monitor than to use it with the connector as a netbook. Reply
  • lyndsay - Monday, January 09, 2012 - link

    Have any of you ever loaded a file from a USB Stick to the keyboard of the Asus EEE Pad transformer? Every time I load the book to the computer. I go to the bottom right and open the file. But it says, open file failed. Im not sure how to get my files to open, or what settings need to be changed. If anyone can let me know, that would be great. Thanks Reply

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