An LG executive has revealed that an upcoming version of Google’s Android OS is being developed with tablet computers in mind. This version — code-named “Honeycomb” — is expected to support larger screens than its predecessors do.
Not a Perfect Fit
A number of tablets running this operating system have already been released or will be soon, most notably the Samsung Galaxy Tab. But Google created its operating system for smartphones, not tablets.
The latest version, Android OS 2.2 (Froyo) supports a maximum screen resolution of 854 × 480. That is a good resolution for a device with a screen 5 inches or smaller, but not a 10-inch display. This is why Google’s director of products for mobile, Hugo Barra, said in September: “Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets.”
The Galaxy Tab uses version 2.2 and it has a 1024 × 600 touchscreen, but this required a custom modification of the operating system by Samsung.
A Little Bee Told Me…
Google generally keeps quiet about the features that will be in upcoming versions of its OS, but an LG executive was more forthcoming this week. He promised that Google is working on Honeycomb, which he described as a “tablet PC-version Android OS”.
Although this source did not give details about Honeycomb, support for higher-resolution screens is almost certain.
A few months ago, an unconfirmed report indicated that Google OS Gingerbread would include support for 1280 × 760 displays. Apparently this feature is actually coming in the next version.
Patience Is Required
The LG executive said that Honeycomb is going to be released in the first quarter of next year, while Gingerbread is expected to be unveiled later this month.
A Google employee recently let slip that Gingerbread will be named Android OS 2.3. Considering it will include some significant changes, it’s possible that Honeycomb will be named Android OS 3.0.
Information leaking out of Google indicates that Android OS 2.3 is going to offer some tweaks to the user interface, but not any significant changes.
When Honeycomb is released, its likely that tablet makers like Samsung will offer operating system upgrades.