What Honeycomb Means for Apple and Microsoft

Overall tablet sales for 2011 are estimated in the tens of millions, and many of those new units will run Google's tablet-specific mobile platform, Honeycomb. Though a number of the OS's new features and functions—from a new graphics engine to support for a variety of device sizes—appear specific to slates now, some are sure to filter down to smartphones, bringing greater Android unification across device types. And while Apple's (AAPL) iPad may have the current lead in the tablet market, Honeycomb puts Google (GOOG) in an excellent position to catch up, much as Android has done in competing with iOS. But Apple isn't the only competitor Google's got in its crosshairs: Microsoft (MSFT) is also likely to be affected, from both a mobile and a desktop computing perspective.

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