Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Google might have two-track Android tablet plan

Google might be planning for a dual-track strategy for Android tablets, using the upcoming Honeycomb OS release being targeted firmly with the top end, and requiring dual-core processors and hi-res screens. This can leave the newest Gingerbread Operating system to the lower end products, that are dominating the primary wave of Android slates.

Device makers are actually frustrated for the deficit of an Android release optimized for big screen products like tablets. Some vendors, notably Samsung, went ahead using the existing Operating system despite a less-than-perfect experience for some applications - and a lot Android OEMs stuck to the 7-inch form factor rather than the 10-inch size. The current Gingerbread update improved matters for 7-inch tablets, but some manufacturers are nevertheless awaiting the full tablet support promised from the forthcoming Honeycomb version.

However, numerous sources indicate that Honeycomb won't be suitable for low priced or simple devices, but will likely be geared for iPad challengers. Bobby Cha, MD of Korean consumer electronics firm Enspert, told PC Mag that Honeycomb would require at the least a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor (just like the Nvidia Tegra2 and the new Freescale platform). This may mean many current tablets wouldn't be upgradeable to Honeycomb, as they will lack the processor power needed - which may explain the reasons firms, including LG and Lenovo, have said they'll wait for Honeycomb to launch into this high profile sector.

Google hasn't revealed hardware requirements to its new release yet, though it's shown a Motorola prototype running the OS. Should the reports prove right, Honeycomb will probably be specific to high-end tablets and superphones (though having a range of screen sizes), while there may be another update to Froyo (Android 2.2 and Gingerbread (2.3), directed at single-core smartphones and low end tablets. This raises the problem of Android's worst problem, fragmentation, becoming rather more serious.

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