Google announces ‘Honeycomb’ Tablet

by editor on Dec.07, 2010, under News

A Tablet version of Android was debuted on a large-screen Motorola device today.

Google always mentioned that Froyo, or Android 2.2, was not ready for the tablet. There was speculation that Gingerbread, or Android 2.3, would be designed for the tablet, but the improvements in 2.3 that was released last week did not have an impact.

Google Mobile Platform vice president Andy Rubin showed publicly for the very first time an Android “Honeycomb” tablet. The roughly 10-inch Motorola device, sleek, black, thin, and sporting an Android interface seemed to have a very clean interface, with an apps dock much like the Apple iPad. Rubin didn’t offer my many spec details on the tablet, which he joked would cost $10,000, but he did say it was running an Nvidia dual core CPU (presumably a Tegra).

Rubin showed off an upcoming version of Google Maps for Android which adds a new vector-based map drawing system, which appeared to improve speed and map flexibility. As Rubin manipulated the map with his fingers, it changed from a flat map to a three-dimensional outline of the roads and buildings. In general, Rubin said he believes tablets “represent a fundamental change in the way computing works.” By allowing users to interact with them physically, Rubin explained, tablets “removed a degree of abstraction.”

Honeycomb should release sometime next year and most major OEMs planning on building Android tablets have expressed interest in using this version of the Android platform which is built for tablets. In terms of SDK required for tablet apps, Honeycomb adds APIs called fragments that allow one app to hold multiple views for different platforms (phones and tablets).

The Samsung Galaxy Tab which sold a million units last week, and many other tablets are already on Android 2.2 Froyo. Will Honeycom again introduce fragmentation in the tablet marketplace for tablets, just like in the mobile space? Or will Samsung catch up and provide OTA updates to its users?

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