A number of companies are building tablet computers running Google’s Android OS, even though the operating system was originally designed for smartphones. They include Dell, MSI and maybe even Google itself.
The model most likely to hit the market first is being made by Dell, which has been demonstrating the Mini 5 for the several months. It’s going to have a WVGA touchscreen and 1 GHz processor, as well as Wi-Fi and 3G cellular-wireless networking.
The first version of it will have a 5-inch display, making it more a large smartphone than “real” tablet, but the company intends to make versions with larger screens in the future.
Another company with a Android-powered slate in its labs is HP. It’s going to supposedly be a bigger version of Dell’s first entry since it’s based on a 6-inch display.
Not all the super-sized Android OS devices in the pipeline are tablets; HP has been showing off a netbook running Google’s operating system, which will have a 10-inch touchscreen, a 1 GHz processor, Wi-Fi and 3G.
The company is also working on a slate running Microsoft Windows.
MSI is prepping an Android-based tablet with a 10-inch touchscreen. Most of the details have yet to be announced, but it will definitely be based on NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor.
The company says that it plans to make a range of tablets with different specifications. They are going to be light and slim, with some form of wireless connectivity.
MSI plans to have its first Android OS model on the market in the second half of the year. Prices will surely vary depending on configuration, but its manufacturer says they will start at $500.
The developer of the Android OS reportedly plans to enter this market too.
Google’s slate-shaped computer is going to supposedly emphasize reading e-books and magazines, but most of the details on this upcoming model remain unknown.
In addition, Google reportedly intends to actively support other companies’ efforts to make Android OS-based tablets, and is apparently working on a version of its software store, the Android Market, for these devices.
The goal of tablets is to carve a niche in the market between a laptop and a smartphone. That’s why these products offer features drawn from both – a larger screen to make web browsing and watching movies easier, but without keyboard to save on size and weight.
Companies are turning to smartphone operating systems like Android because hardware requirements are much lower than for a desktop OS. An Android-based tablet could run easily on a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM, a configuration that would choke Microsoft Windows.
There are drawbacks, however; the Android OS does not have the power or flexibility of Microsoft’s desktop OS.
Source: New York Times