Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system “still has several issues,” according to Taiwan newspaper DigiTimes, which also called the OS “unstable.” The article cited sources in the touch panel upstream chain who said that second quarter orders from Motorola and other would-be iPad competitors have slowed, as manufacturers take a wait-and-see approach to the situation.
Honeycomb is the first version of Android that was intended for tablets, and it made its debut on the Motorola Xoom. On April 5th, Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette told clients that sell-through for the Xoom to end-users “has been disappointing.” DigiTimes echoed this, saying that Motorola shipped 700,000 Xooms into the channel, but hasn’t provided a forecast to suppliers for the rest of the year or put in new orders.
The Android hiccups are an opportunity for tablet makers that compete with iPad with their own OS to get a head start on Android in this space. At this point, that’s limited to Research In Motion’s PlayBook, set to be released this month, and HP’s TouchPad, which runs Palm’s WebOS.
Not everyone is down on Honeycomb, however; for instance, HTC recently announced plans to shift a tablet called Flyer from Android 2.3 (which was not designed for tablets) to Honeycomb. Acer is also still on course to release the 7” A100 tablet in May with Honeycomb, and in April it will ship the Iconia Tab A500 with the OS.
Note that DigiTimes’s sources tend to be from component makers and suppliers, and not from within the companies that are behind the devices. The newspaper has a mixed record with Apple (though in the last 2-3 years, it’s been more right than wrong), and today’s report on Honeycomb should be taken with a similar grain of salt.