27
Jul
viewsonic-gtablet-hero_duo_logo-sm

In a move that will certainly irritate many people, ViewSonic has taken to its Facebook page with an official word on the gTablet, future support, and whether or not it will ever officially see Honeycomb. As you may have already guessed, the simple answer from ViewSonic to the latter is "no," with very little reasoning behind the decision.

The ViewSonic gTablet was one of the first Android tablets to hit the market with the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset onboard, but at the time of release it was powered by Android 2.2, as 3.0 had yet to hit the market. Naturally, early adopters of the device assumed that Google's tablet specific operating system would eventually make its way onto the gTablet... but that has just not been the case. While ViewSonic has released several updates to the device to bring things like Adobe Flash support and certain GUI enhancements, the tablet is still powered by none other than Android 2.2.

ViewSonic is attempting to somewhat justify its update stance by stating that "the product was advertised and sold as an Android 2.2 tablet and we continue to support it as such." To add to that, the company went on to say "in releasing the gTablet with hardware well ahead of its time, ViewSonic may have set certain unrealistic expectations; the gTablet was never advertised as or intended to be anything other than an Android 2.2 tablet."

Of course, ViewSonic is not entirely to blame for the inability to update the gTablet to any variant of Honeycomb, even if the desire was there at one point: Google never released the source code. Unfortunately, without the source, it's nearly impossible to bring a fully working Android 3.x build to the device on any sort of an official level.

ViewSonic still stands by its product, though; stating that the gTablet "is, and always will be, supported by the company" -- just not in the way that many of its users may agree with.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. This device will continue to receive much love from the development community, just as it has up to this point. Once Google releases the source code for Ice Cream Sandwich, we should be able to turn all eyes to the amazing Android dev community and watch as they work their magic and breathe new life into this product once again.

In my opinion, this is less a tale of yet another manufacturer not updating its products appropriately, but more an affirmation of why our community is as well-loved, needed, and incredible as it is.

To get involved in the conversation, head over the ViewSonic's Facebook page, where it has enabled a discussion board for all comments, questions, retorts, and the like.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • http://trsohmers.com trsohmers

    This isn't Viewsonic's fault... The NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset is not the same as any of the 3.0 tablets. The Xoom and other Honeycomb tablets use the "Ventana" Tegra 2 board, while the Viewsonic G Tablet has the "Harmony" Tegra 2 board. NVIDIA has not released the drivers for Honeycomb on the Harmony boards, and NVIDIA says they will not support it. Blame NVIDIA... the only thing you can really blame Viewsonic for is not pushing NVIDIA to do anything.

  • godsfilth

    as an optimist i see this as them saying it will never get honeycomb because they plan on getting it ice cream sandwich instead, but are not allowed to say so yet.

    as a pessimist i see this as them saying they dont feel like undermining their future tabs with HC/ICS

    as a conspiracy theorist i see this being a result of google punishing them for not waiting to release a tab like google wanted.

    the truth, probably a bit of all three

  • johnny99

    A big reason that the Android tablet market is in shambles is software fragmentation. Tablets are more expensive than cell phones and people will hold on to tablets for longer periods of time. If you can't trust Android manufacturers to keep the software up to date for several years, then why not just buy an ipad instead?

    • Falcor

      Because then you get a sub-par GUI built opon yesteryear's technology, while Hitler HIMSELF tells you what you can and cannot do with "your" iPad...

      Try to be at least a LITTLE original in your thought process, eh?

    • Vi

      Why would someone wanting an Android buy an iPad? I would think people wouldn't be that stupid.

  • http://digitaldumptruck.jotabout.com Mike

    Guess I can strike ViewSonic off my list of companies to consider for my next tablet purchase.

  • JayMonster

    Sadly, Viewsonic has bungled the gTablet from the word go, first releasing with that adult tap n tap interface, half added support, their first that broke side-loading... On a device that doesn't have (official) market support, releases that are released, then pulled, even down to technically not having official Flash support, which keeps getting pushed into the future.
    done little to improve it. They promise support, but do nothing but release yet another half added tablet series. This could have been the darling underdog cheap tablet like the nook, but instead they lie and frustrated people. Yes XDA may be able to breathe some life into it, but Viewsonic doesn't deserve a pass for being a black eye on the tablet market.

  • Vi

    These manufactures need to disclaim that the devices will not get upgraded.

    And that it's the way we roll, if you don't like it buy (the real reason) the new one.

  • Bobe

    I think there is a version of Honeycomb already for the gtab if you're up for some work on it.

    The version of " Android " Viewsonic shipped with is one step short of a crime against nature.

    The above quotes are for the fact that it isn't Android if it doesn't have Market period end of discussion.

    That being said, I'm not unhappy with mine and I've had it for a few months.

  • pablo

    The worst part of the gtablet is not even the OS is the screen with those awful viewing angles... not much the community can do about it.
    I had one and sold it. Bought a nook color and I really love it.

    • Simon Belmont

      Exactly. The gTablet was in the running originally as my first Android tablet, but then I saw those viewing angles. Oh boy. Yuck.

      I happily got a B&N Nook Color for Christmas instead. I am still in love with it to this day.

  • Edd

    "Guess I can strike ViewSonic off my list of companies to consider for my next tablet purchase."

    This. And they were an option of mine.

    To a tiny extent I get their reasoning, but all it means is they released a lame duck of a product, and that makes them one to not trust in future.

  • jbomics

    You just can't beat the Asus transformer for $400. Almost bought gtablet twice but it was just fail after fail.

  • William Landis

    Viewsonic DOES NOT support their product Gtablet, they had 2 ota releases and then turn around in 24 hours to take them off their website, they send their customers to xda for support. Had I known what I know now I would not had bought mine. Viewsonic never planned to go above android 2.2

    • Daniel

      The viewsonic gtablet is able to upgrade itself to use the honeycomb version of android, as I write this post I am using gtabcomb 3.3 which is on a beta stage. I would say that the experience of tweaking the OS is what should drive your purchase, if you dont want to play around with it, maybe an iPad is the best option.

  • Navin

    Daniel, did you mean that you received OTA update for honeycomb from viewsonic?

  • Hesham

    @Navin, No, he means that he installed Honeycomb unofficially, through the kind of "tweaking" he talks about which isn't the way iPads offer, hence quoting from him "maybe an iPad is the best option".

  • http://moswl.blogspot.com/ Ezequiel

    There are several honeycombs ROMs ready to be installed on the Gtablet. Go to http://raywaldo.com/topic/gtab-tablet-computing/ for details. These ROMs are still in beta stage and you will find several minor bugs. Market and Flash support is not perfect, sometimes it works, sometimes does not. Hopefully things will improve as they move to Android 4.0 a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich. Full release of the source code should be completed before the end of this year and I will hope to see the first Android 4.0 roms for Gtablet early next year. Looking forward for them!

  • Chris

    NVIDIA hasn't released the drivers for the camera or hardware acceleration, so that has really thrown a bump in the development road. If the drivers were released, all the great developers would have fully working Gingerbread (and possibly Honeycomb) ROMs out already. It would also make ICS a faster reality.