Motorola Honeycomb Tablet: What We Know So Far

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Here’s what we think we know about the first Android Honeycomb tablet based on rumors and leaks: Motorola and Google have worked together to create the first tablet running Android Honeycomb. The Motorola tablet will be released through carrier Verizon Wireless, tentatively due for a big unveiling during Super Bowl weekend (February 6, 2011). If it is not launched on Super Bowl weekend as rumors indicate, it is being said to be launched sometime in March instead.

This much we definitely know from Google’s chief Android engineer, Andy Rubin, as revealed during the All Things Digital D: Dive into Mobile talk conference: the Motorola tablet will run the new Android Honeycomb OS, and it will sport a “dual-core Nvidia 3D processor.”

Back to the rumors: Android Honeycomb is an OS Google worked closely with Motorola — makers of the popular Droid smartphone — in developing, and will almost certainly be versioned 3.0 as it will mark a major update to the Android operating system. Judging from video shot from Rubin’s presentation, the Motorola tablet could come in with either a seven-inch screen, like the Galaxy Tab, or a ten-inch display, like the Apple iPad. Also, the Motorola Honeycomb tablet may be a 4G device, running on Verizon’s LTE network, as leaked pictures showing a prototype unit with Verizon branding suggest.

What should we call this next-generation device? The tablet is currently codenamed Everest or Stingray — but some people have been calling it Trygon and the name MOTOPAD, leaked on Twitter a few months ago, too.

Motorola Honeycomb tablet
The Motorola Honeycomb tablet

Here is a list of the specifications we think we know thus far:

  • 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 T20 3D dual-core processor
  • Android 3.0, Honeycomb
  • LTE
  • 10-inch multi-touch screen (possibly a 7-inch version too)
  • 1280 x 800 pixel resolution
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 32 GB internal storage
  • 2 MP front-facing camera and 5 MP rear camera
  • Gyroscope sensor
  • MicroSD slot (up to 32 GB)
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Headphone jack
  • Mini-HDMI port
  • Lightweight
  • Multi-touch screen only; no outer buttons

Tablet Android OS in Development: Honeycomb

The latest version of the Android OS is the recently-developed 2.3 Gingerbread, an incremental update to its former 2.2 version, Froyo. Gingerbread was originally rumored to be the tablet-friendly Android OS, as previous versions of Android were designed for smaller smartphones. But it was confirmed that the Motorola tablet will be running on Honeycomb by Rubin. Also, Honeycomb is an OS designed to have full support for a tablet hardware and displays.

Rubin showed off an unfinished Motorola tablet with Honeycomb to Wall Street Journal‘s Walt Mossberg. During the conference, Mossberg asked if Honeycomb “is just a version of Android that happens to work well on tablets or is it a tablet version of Android?” and Rubin replied “It’s both, I would say.”

Rubin went on to say that Honeycomb has enhancements and new APIs that will “allow an application to split its functionality to multiple views, multiple columns.” This means the screen won’t slide away like a Droid phone, it’ll just be split to show more than one column.

As far as price goes, Rubin claimed his prototype unit cost “literally $10,000.” The price should be more reasonable when the device actually ships. 

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