Monday, June 13, 2011


This is the last post I will make here at Bobert's Tech, but I'm not leaving. I'm just moving to a new blog (which has not been created yet). The Notion Ink community has died, and I can't keep up on all of the tablet news, so I will be covering a very broad topic. Tech in general. I will write mostly columns and analysis on the latest there is to write about. If you would like to follow this young blogger's journey I will post the link to the new blog when it is up.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Question of Eden on Honeycomb (Reposted)

(An opinion of how the Adam's future should look written in February. With Honeycomb coming in less than a month, I thought it could serve as somewhat of a prediction and possibly a guide of what we want to see for the Notion Ink devs.)     
     In Rohan's latest blog post he made a quick statement saying that the Eden apps have been ported to Honeycomb. We all know that the Adam is eventually getting an update to Honeycomb. It may be weeks or months before Notion Ink finalizes the update for us. The Adam will be absolutely awesome with Honeycomb on it, but the question is how much of the Eden UI will be thrown on top of Honeycomb?
     As you can see in the picture above, vanilla Honeycomb even looks good on the Adam. There's no telling how far into the core the Eden UI will dig, but this is most likely not what the final product will end up looking like. Unlike previous versions of Android, it is very hard to put a custom UI over the top of Honeycomb without completely destroying it. This is a good thing, because I generally hate the custom skins they throw on top on Android.
     Way back in December Android Police had an interview with sir Rohan of Notion Ink. When asked if Eden would be preserved with Honeycomb, he said yes. In that same interview Rohan also said he would bring the Android Market with the Honeycomb update. (I'm still crossing my fingers in hope on the Market.) A lot has changed since December and Notion Ink's design team could have very well changed their minds on the Eden thing.

     Honeycomb could definitely benefit from the panels concept of multitasking (see this column). They have made Froyo into something that is truly tablet worthy. That required a lot of work and deep digging into the source code. The problem could be that Eden is built totally around a smartphone OS, and cannot be reworked too well with a tablet OS. In Eden they have replaced the normal multitasking interface with a panel switcher that is completely useless with the multitude of apps that do not have panels. In Honeycomb, the app switching has been moved to a soft button in the status bar area. What I'm saying is that some things simply can't get carried over to Honeycomb.

     Honeycomb is very widget heavy, and if Eden completely annihilates the home screen like they do in the current version, it could be a very low point of Eden. The home screen needs to stay. They could possibly throw a dedicated panel button in the navigation bar at the bottom to bring up the panel view. That brings e to my next point. Notion Ink has managed to add a hiding feature to the Froyo status bar so it will be out of site unless it is truly necessary. Rohan said that tablets shouldn't always have a status bar to take up screen real-estate. This idea is going to go out of the windows if they want a feasible Honeycomb design. The always there navigation bar is another high point in Honeycomb, and to get rid of it would just not work.

     Coming back to the panels idea now. If they added an extra button in the navigation bar to open the panels, it would be absolutely fantastic. I'm not saying that it should replace the recent apps button, but it would do nicely in the adjacent space. It would be there at all times to quickly start your multitasking duties. The best part about having a dedicated panels button is that the home screen will remain intact. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep the home screen intact.

     There is no doubt that Honeycomb can get better with a sprinkling of Eden on top, but a smattering would be all too much. Honeycomb needs little improving as it is, so too much wouldn't jive very well with a lot of people (me included). I suppose if Eden angers you too much you could always get a different tablet or a custom ROM. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and the pool on the right.