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Why Android Honeycomb should have Apple scared

February 4, 2011: 12:19 PM ET

The fusion of cutting edge hardware and radical user interface improvements proves iOS has catching up to do.

Depending on who you asked at yesterday's Android Honeycomb launch event in Mountain View, California, the latest upgrade to Google's (GOOG) mobile OS was either a revelation or another iterative upgrade.

Some of the attendees I spoke to shrugged when I asked what they thought.

"Looks like just the next natural step for the OS," said one.

Interestingly enough, none of those questioned actually owned iPads. Now if you're one of the millions who use Apple's (AAPL) popular tablet regularly, you'll likely agree it's probably changed the way you interact with media: you're probably more likely to check email or read your favorite blogs on the couch, in bed, or on a plane. And those stats about enterprise adoption probably aren't lying: 80 of the Fortune 100 companies are testing out or using the iPad in the corporate workplace. In fact, I can't tell you how many meetings I've had with executives and press reps who swear by it and then proceed to give an entire presentation on the device.

I've owned an iPad for 10 months now, and I'll be the first to tell you that I didn't really view it as more than a luxury item until recently. Sure, it's lighter than my MacBook Pro and still lighter than the recently introduced MacBook Airs by at least half a pound, but it was only until I started traveling more for work and pleasure did I realize its true utility. In between meetings and at launch events, I'm perfectly comfortable banging out emails, sending instant messages to my colleagues, and catching up on the latest tech news in the blogosphere.

Then Honeycomb came along. You'll be forgiven for seeing the leaked preview footage and thinking it's just another OS update because it's not until you actually see Honeycomb up close and play with it on a device like Motorola's Xoom that you realize just how limited the iPad experience remains.

There are some real reasons to be excited about Honeycomb from both a hardware and software perspective: More

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