Information Rich Honeycomb Widgets a Win for Android Tablets

I’ve beem using a WiFi-only Motorola Xoom for about a week now (14-day review unit loan courtesy of Motorola’s PR firm). It is the first Honeycomb device (the Xoom runs Android OS 3.1) that I’ve used. Honeycomb really is quite different from Android OS for smartphones. It took a while for me to get comfortable with the user interface even though I am an experience Android phone user. Once I did, however, my favorite Honeycomb feature is an improved aspect of my favorite feature of Android for smartphones: Widgets.

The first thing you should do before you start adding Widgets is to clear off most of the app icons you may have on the home (center) page. Honeycomb provides five pages for icons and widgets. But, I knew I wanted a lot of Widgets on my home page.

Tap and hold on any empty spot on a Honeycomb tablet’s display to bring up a horizontal list of available widgets. Then start adding these widgets to your home page one at a time. You can see my Honeycomb home page has a Google search bar, an Evernote bar, a CNN news box, weather courtesy of the Weather Channel, my Gmail inbox, my calendar and the Google Music player. I left four app icons on the right side of the display.

I added the Facebook app’s widget. However, it only displays one status line. While it is scrollable, it is faster to launch the app and visually scan Facebook updates. If the Facebook widget display three or four status updates like the Gmail widget does, I would have kept in on the screen. The Twitter client I’m using on the Xoom (TweetComb) does not provide a widget.

This selection of widgets gives me the ability to quickly scan and access most of the information I want throughout the day: News, weather, email, events, and notes. This is something that the iPad does not provide me. This instant summary of things important to me is a great feature. And, it may even be a deciding factor for some people.