Did the relatively minor and incremental Gingerbread update leave you hungry and wanting more? Well, Google’s Andy Rubin has a Honeycomb morsel in the form of a Motorola Android tablet prototype running the soon-to-be-next Android version to keep your taste buds and interested piqued.
Google’s chief Android engineer took the stage Monday for the D: Dive Into Mobile conference with the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg to show off the still-in-development device and what Rubin claims will be the next version of the Android operating system.
Rubin did not provide detailed device specs, only that it sports a “dual-core Nvidia 3D processor.” From the video of the demonstration, it’s impossible to accurately gauge the tablet’s screen size, though it appears to fall somewhere between seven and ten inches. Also, the tablet had no physical buttons, only on-screen icons that adjusted as the device changed from a horizontal to vertical orientation.
It’s unclear if the on-screen buttons are a new feature of Honeycomb, the now-confirmed next version of Android, which all indications suggest will be a major update designed to make the smartphone operating system more tablet friendly. When pressed by Mossberg as to whether Honeycomb will be a tablet operating system or a mobile operating system that works well with tablets, Rubin stated, “it’s both.” Rubin added that Honeycomb will be available next year.
Also coming to Honeycomb is the ability for applications to “split its views,” in the words of Rubin. Meaning, the same application can run on both a tablet and smartphone, only with a different interface depending on the hardware, allowing application developers to exploit tablet screen real estate without having to create two separate apps.
Motorola Rumors Confirmed?
Motorola, makers of the popular Droid Android smartphone, has long been rumored to be working closely with Google on Honeycomb. Last month, the perpetual rumor mongers at the DigiTimes reported Motorola will launch its Nvidia Tegra 2-powered Honeycomb tablet in February or March 2011. Rubin did not provide any information on a release date, only stating that the prototype tablet costs “literally $10,000.” TabletPCReview suspects it will cost much less when it actually ships.
See Honeycomb in Action