HoneyComb on GTab!

 

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This entire series of articles is deprecated! Newer ROMs and advanced procedures have replaced (or made obsolete) the information in these articles. This article is retained only for archival purposes.

Please check out our NEWER series of articles on the ViewSonic G-Tablet: https://bishoptec.com/series/gtab-2/

REVIEW: Honeycomb (3.0.1) ROM from Zyhong

This is a pretty amazing tablet – our iPad killer! Now, we have HONEYCOMB! I really like the Honeycomb interface but there are some caveats. You may want to see my recent comparison of three major Honeycomb ROMS here: GTabComb vs Illuminate HC vs Flashback HC.

NOTE: As of Sep 4, 2011, none of the HoneyComb roms (that I know of) support hardware acceleration. Also, Flash animation (including HD video) is difficult or non-existent. Finally, the camera is NON-functional on the GTab with HoneyComb installed. All of these will likely be resolved in the future but if any of them is a deal-breaker for you, then you should stay with a GingerBread Rom.

Here is my YouTube walk through: 

Screen display is FANTASTIC! It is almost like I replaced the (already good) display with a SUPER display. It appears crisp, with very deep contrast, and vibrant colors. I am impressed. It may operate just a “tad” slower than the CM7 ROM but it is not really noticeable. Many items operate as widgets and many of those can be configured to be transparent. The entire display and user interface is “slick”!

Ray's Honeycomb Homescreen

Ray’s Honeycomb Homescreen

User Interface takes some getting used to. Some of the controls and menus in the Froyo (2.2) and Gingerbread (2.3) versions of Android were less-than-obvious. However, I had almost everything figured out. Now, with Honeycomb (3.0) much of that has changed. The underlying menu structure remains pretty much the same but how to get to those menus is different. The first learning issue is the new style soft-buttons.

There are either three or four “soft” keys in the lower left corner (location is the same – regardless of orientation).

  • The left pointing arrow is the “Back” key to take you back to where you were.
  • The middle “Home” key is similar to the standard Android hardware key for “Home.” The Home key functions appear to vary according to what you are doing.
  • The third key is the “Recent Apps” key. It appears as two overlapping rectangles. It pulls up a list of the currently running or recently closed apps that can be selected from their thumbnails.
  • The fourth key is to the right of the Recent Apps key and is the equivalent of the standard “Menu” key. It does not appear all of the time but when it is available, it can be used to visit the settings for that application.

In the lower right corner is the clock and notifications bar. It includes a battery level indicator and the WiFi strength indicator. When you click on the clock, it enlarges and displays both the date and a “Settings” icon. Click the settings and you get to the normal Android Settings menus.

The top bar display changes according to what you happen to be doing. Generally, it disappears when you execute an application and displays app specific information. But while you are viewing the home screens, you will find:

  • The “Apps” key (to select from all installed apps) is in the upper right corner.
  • The Google Search widget occupies the upper left corner.

If you want to learn more about the UI, here is a link to Engadget’s tour.

The Changes: Beyond the general look and feel of the UI, several widgets are significantly better. The GMail widget allows you to scroll through your inbox without executing the app. Within the GMail app, the interface is MUCH better. See my video to understand what I mean. The Gallery widget is really cool – again, check my video to see it at work. The Bookmarks (Internet) widget is new and welcome, I demo it on the video as well. The internal BROWSER is one of the best features of HC. It appears to be a variation of Chrome and will sync with your desktop Chrome. I find it superior to any other (including Dolphin). Unfortunately, it still will not do Flash. You may wish to install the Opera Mobile web browser to accomplish those duties. I found Opera to be VERY sluggish on this version of HC but it does do Flash pretty well.

For some additional help with the interface and more Honeycomb tips, visit our “Tips for Android Users” page.

The Challenges: The learning curve is pretty quick. It took me an hour or so to DISCOVER the functions of most of the buttons. But, after unlearning the old interface,  the overall feel of HC is simple and fluid. I will define the specific issues on our “How to Flash Honeycomb on a GTab” page. That way, I can keep them all together and keep them updated as we find solutions.

So, how do you get this on your GTab? Visit our “How to Flash Honeycomb on a GTab” page.

We welcome your comments about this review. If you have technical issues with ROM or with the installation, etc, please leave those comments on the “How to Flash Honeycomb on a GTab” page.

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105 Responses to HoneyComb on GTab!

  1. Franz says:

    For anyone still interested in this topic, I recently installed the Dolphin browser App and most Flash based video works just fine.
    Also, the latest Netflix App works great with the GTabComb ROM.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Hey Franz!
      Thanks for posting that info. I am sure that there are some people who are looking for that function.

      BTW, I had begun to wonder if I had done something to block commenting on the site – so few comments lately!

      • Franz says:

        Perhaps because things are working smoothly?
        I had not checked in for a while because I am very happy with the functionality of my tablet ever since I changed the OS (HC) following the directions in this site.

        I use it for work and I sit side by side with folks using I-Pads but have nothing to envy from them…

  2. Steven says:

    Ray –
    Any word yet on whether or not the camera will work correctly on Honeycomb? Last time I tried, it was not working yet.

    Thanks.
    Steve

    • Chris says:

      Hi, I followed your tutorial (awesome btw! thanks!) however when I boot into GTABCOMB and it says to click on the Android to start all it does is force close over and over and that screen never goes away. I am able to get into other menus and connect to my wifi, anyway to make this screen go away? Thanks!

      • Ray Waldo says:

        That should be the setup application.
        Did you do a “reset to factory” in CWM? If not, that is likely the issue.
        You might go to settings-applications then find it and uninstall (if you don’t need it to set up.) Otherwise, try clearing the data on it there – Then reboot and see if it works.
        Next thing to try is to boot into CWM – clear both caches and “fix permissions” then reboot.
        Next would be to CWM – “reset to factory”, clear both caches & reboot.
        If it still will not clear, then you probably have a bad flash. Download the ROM file again (could have gotten a bad download), copy it to the GTab’s root; Reboot into CWM – flash the rom and clear both caches (again).

        • Chris says:

          Hi Ray,

          One more quick question since I am a noob here, I didn’t know where else to post this so if it is in the wrong place I apologize. My question is about apps from the Android market, there are some apps I can’t seem to install on my gtablet, saying that they are incompatible. If I am running a common version of Android (2.3.4) w/ Cyanogen mod why cannot I install these apps? Is my only option to find independently created apps instead? For example, Eyefi, the official app says not compatible, yet one made by a independent developer that is not free is. I don’t mind paying for something that is better but I am just not understanding how this works. The latest Facebook update also says incompatible.

          Thanks for your help!

  3. Steven says:

    Ray –
    Any word yet on whether or not the camera will work correctly on Honeycomb? Last time I tried, it was not working yet.

    Thanks.
    Steve

    • Ray Waldo says:

      As I said before, it is a function of when Google releases the code / drivers.

    • Chris says:

      Hi, I followed your tutorial (awesome btw! thanks!) however when I boot into GTABCOMB and it says to click on the Android to start all it does is force close over and over and that screen never goes away. I am able to get into other menus and connect to my wifi, anyway to make this screen go away? Thanks!

      • Ray Waldo says:

        That should be the setup application.
        Did you do a “reset to factory” in CWM? If not, that is likely the issue.
        You might go to settings-applications then find it and uninstall (if you don’t need it to set up.) Otherwise, try clearing the data on it there – Then reboot and see if it works.
        Next thing to try is to boot into CWM – clear both caches and “fix permissions” then reboot.
        Next would be to CWM – “reset to factory”, clear both caches & reboot.
        If it still will not clear, then you probably have a bad flash. Download the ROM file again (could have gotten a bad download), copy it to the GTab’s root; Reboot into CWM – flash the rom and clear both caches (again).

        • Chris says:

          Thanks for the quick reply Ray! And sorry for the double post, I was confused when I couldn’t find my post. I ended up installing Cyanogen 7 for now, it looks pretty cool and it seems super snappy! I am going to play with this for a while and then I will give you recommendations a try when I try Honeycomb. I kinda want to be able to use the camera so maybe I will wait for that to be worked out if ever. Now I just have to find out how to over clock this puppy!

        • Chris says:

          Hi Ray,

          One more quick question since I am a noob here, I didn’t know where else to post this so if it is in the wrong place I apologize. My question is about apps from the Android market, there are some apps I can’t seem to install on my gtablet, saying that they are incompatible. If I am running a common version of Android (2.3.4) w/ Cyanogen mod why cannot I install these apps? Is my only option to find independently created apps instead? For example, Eyefi, the official app says not compatible, yet one made by a independent developer that is not free is. I don’t mind paying for something that is better but I am just not understanding how this works. The latest Facebook update also says incompatible.

          Thanks for your help!

  4. Gowtham says:

    What is the latest Honeycomb version available for GTablet?
    Is there a stable working version? I installed GtabComb_b3.3_bl1.2 with the help of your instructions on https://bishoptec.com/2011/07/clockworkmod-1-2bl-honeycomb-on-gtab/ and I am having trouble installing apps from market. Is it something I didn’t do right or is it my hardware? I still can’t figure out. Please give me any suggestions for this.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I have read that there is a problem at Google concerning the market and the ViewSonic G-Tablet. It was not supported in the stock (Tap-n-Tap) interface and Google reps are now responding that Google’s Market does not support the GTab. I don’t know if that is actually true or what.
      The LATEST version of HC that I am aware of is FlashBack a.9.0. It was released 10/09/11. I installed it yesterday and it works great. I may have (finally) been convinced to convert to FlashBack.
      Find it here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1138100
      Since you did our NVFlash, you have the larger system partition (250meg) so, you should be able to download the file, use CWM Recovery to “Reset to Factory”; then Clear both caches and install. Note that the FB archive comes named as UPDATE.ZIP. I suggest that you rename it (on your computer) to FB-9.0-UPDATE.ZIP and then copy it to the root of your GTab. That will keep you from getting confused about which rom it is. Use CWM “Install Zip from SDCard” option – like all of our instructions and you should be fine!

  5. harvey says:

    how do i open the .rar file to view its’ contents and install the HC 3.3 ROM

  6. av says:

    have they done anything to fix the camera and flash on websites? I would love to use skype on my tablet for travel

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Those are issues that arise for all hc roms.
      You can use cwm to do a full backup. Flash CM7 and use it while traveling. Then when you return, let cwm restore hc to exactly where you were.
      For flash use Opera and download flash 10.3 from the market. It will do most flash on sites. Example: native hc browser will not display my walkthru (above). But opera will.

  7. av says:

    have they done anything to fix the camera and flash on websites? I would love to use skype on my tablet for travel

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Those are issues that arise for all hc roms.
      You can use cwm to do a full backup. Flash CM7 and use it while traveling. Then when you return, let cwm restore hc to exactly where you were.
      For flash use Opera and download flash 10.3 from the market. It will do most flash on sites. Example: native hc browser will not display my walkthru (above). But opera will.

  8. djmurphy46 says:

    Hello All..I love Honeycomb on my GTab. I just rooted and loaded HC 3.03 last night and I am exploring.
    I do have a question? I have a rooted HTC Eris that I am using Wifi Tether and have it set up as a secured HotSpot. My PCs at home can use it for internet access with no issue. However the GTab is showing it in the wifi area with a (*) in front of the SSID (network name). It shows a connection but won’t access internet.
    Any ideas on how to trouble shoot this?
    I am able to connect to my wifi at home (linksys router)with the GTab.

  9. Gary Nachman says:

    Put HoneyComb on. I really love it. Netflix loaded from the link, but I cannot load any apps from the Market. I get “download was was unsuccessful, please try again.” This occurs even for a Google Maps update. For apps that I have not yet downloaded such as opera, I get “purchase cancelled, error processing purchase.”

    Any ideas? Credit card tied to account is good.

    If not, I will got back to CM7 and try again.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      That is a problem for several people on the XDA forum. I suspect that you did not do a full wipe before the install. Those who have fixed it say that is what they had to do.

      You could try to CWM Wipe Cache, Wipe Dalvik, Fix Permissions. That will retain your settings.

      If that does not fix it, then you might try to the Factory Reset and finally, Partition the SD Card (2048/0).

      My suggestion: go for the real, first time. Use my 1.2/honeycomb guide to totally wipe everything and start fresh.

    • Gary Nachman says:

      OK. Reinstalled Honeycomb and this time, all my apps are restoring. Go figure.

      Email client is MUCH faster for yahoo and ATT email accounts.

      Font seems to be smaller. Have to look in the settings to see if I can make it a bit larger for these old eyes.

      Honeycomb rules.

  10. Dave Sass says:

    Ray:

    Thanks – that’s what I gathered reading the XD forum.

  11. Dave Sass says:

    Ray:

    Thanks – that’s what I gathered reading the XD forum.

  12. Dave Sass says:

    Ray:

    I see that there are a couple of HC Roms available for the Gtab. Another one is “Bottle of Smoke”

    What made you choose this one over BOS?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I have not used bos but even roebeet mentions its shortcomings. Many on zyhong’s forum left bos and are clear that zyhong is better.

  13. Andres says:

    Ray, I followed the instructions to a T and my GTab just sits at the 3 Birds at bootup. I tried the partitioning to no avail. I am at least able to restore to original setup. I started with 1.2 BL and am currently running the 1.1. I tried both CM7 and then HC. Any suggestions?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Sorry Andres. I know it is confusing but the guide has worked for hundreds of people already – I have used it several times, myself. The guide works. Probably there is some portion of the guide that you do not understand and that you are making the wrong choice – or missing a step.

      There is no way that I can diagnose your problem with such a limited amount of information as can be placed in a comment. What I have attempted to do is to create a “cook book” approach that you can make decisions based upon your situation. *ALL* of my suggestions are already in the guides.

      My suggestion is to START OVER at the “NVFlash for dummies” and choose to follow the 1.2 bootloader options. Then visit the “ClockworkMod 1.2bl & Honeycomb on GTab” page to wipe the GTab completely and then install Zyhong’s 1.2bl version of Honeycomb.

      Do NOT SKIP ANY STEPS!

      • Andres says:

        Ray, I will go back to 1.2 and restart the process. I likely made a mistake, but after several tries and don’t know where that was.

        • Ray Waldo says:

          I realize it is frustrating but that is the only option I can give. Just do a FULL wipe and be sure to complete every step.
          As far as I know, no one has ever totally “bricked” a GTab.
          NVFlash is your friend. When all else fails, go there. Flash back to 1.2-4349. Then use the “ClockworkMod 1.2bl & Honeycomb on GTab” to install the CWM Recovery and the Honeycomb ROM. Again, EVERY STEP!

  14. Christopher says:

    Here’s one of the first glitches I have experienced with new HC ROM (beta 3.2): using ES File Explorer, I am unable to add a LAN server in order to access files from my PC from the gTab.
    User error? Can anyone replicate or make this work?
    (PS: I just read Ray’s post about “major” problems. Not sure if I have just escaped these issues so far, or if they are to come. But at this point, all is mostly well.)
    Chris

    • Ray Waldo says:

      I also had trouble with that Chris. However, my Linux shares are not always discovered by non-linux devices anyway. Therefore, I did not consider it a problem for the ROM.
      As to my other issues, I am seriously considering upgrading to BL1.2 again. Then flash the 1.2 version of Zyhong. I have read that that version does not experience as many issues. I just don’t know if I want to: 1) get out of sync with all of the users of this site who are on 1.1. or 2) have to go through the setup of the screen again. I get the widgets and icons configured and then if I change, they have to be rebuilt.
      Nothing will fix the QuickOffice issue, though. I did send an email to support asking if they can/will do something for those of us caught in the crunch.

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