What do we have here? Why, it's a giant Gingerbread statue getting installed over at Googleplex, right next to Froyo and the rest of the gang. It's not exactly what we'd been expecting and hoping to see today, but it's a start. Last time the Froyo statue was installed, we got the SDK a week later. Bring it on, Google!
Samsung may have its Android tablet out and about in Europe, but it looks like the other large Android manufacturers - Motorola and HTC - are just getting themselves into gear. Last month, DigiTimes reported some dubious rumours that Pegatron (a division of ASUS) had won the contract to manufacture HTC's tablet device with the following description:
Take this with a large grain of salt as it's just a rumor at this point, but one of our sources very close to the Android core who has been testing and working with Gingerbread for quite a while recently shared a little tidbit of info. According to the source, we won't have to wonder what exactly Gingerbread, the next Android OS, is going to bring to the table for too long because the Gingerbread SDK is going to go public next week.
Getting access to the latest revision of the Android SDK means we'll find out all the new API calls showing new OS functionality and, more importantly, will have access to the latest emulator showing exactly what the stock Android Gbread will look like.
The latest Android platform numbers are out, and thanks to carrier support of updates (Verizon and Sprint, anyway) FroYo has made an impressive boost to capture 33.4% of Android devices. This isn't enough to upset Android 2.1, which remains on top with 40.4%, but it's a good sign of diminishing Android fragmentation nonetheless.
When Gingerbread hits this fall/winter, however, this chart is bound to get pretty ugly - while Donut and Cupcake continued their decline, together they still make up a decent portion of Android devices, at 26.1% combined. Fortunately, while phones running these outdated operating systems will probably not be updated in the near future, they will be discontinued by carriers and replaced with newer models running newer versions of Android (for example, T-Mobile is discontinuing the original myTouch, Motorola CLIQ, and CLIQ XT today, and has already done it to the G1).
It's been so long off the radar that you can be forgiven for forgetting about it, but LG has had plans to release an Android tablet originating all the way back in July. The original release was set to be sometime in Q4 of 2010, but it's just been pushed back indefinitely when an unnamed official at LG commented:
We plan to introduce a tablet that runs on the most reliable Android version ... We are in talks with Google to decide on the most suitable version for our tablet and that is not Froyo 2.2.
This sentiment certainly resonates with what we have heard directly from Google before, and it leaves Samsung in the awkward position of having made a massive push to release a tablet on a platform that other large manufacturers are now shying away from.
Take this one with a huge grain of salt: DigiTimes is reporting, yet again, that HTC is about to enter the tablet market by leveraging their expertise with Android and their relations with carriers around the world. The rumours point to a launch date in early 2011 and specs that certainly look good, but would you pay the rumoured price of $790 for it?
The claimed specs:
- 1280×720 display (from earlier reports, that may point towards Gingerbread)
- nVidia Tegra 2 SoC
- 32 GB SSD
- 2 GB RAM
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
- Full Android Market
- Support for Chrome Web Apps
That Tegra 2 chipset should provide enough power to surpass the iPad and make for a very fluid experience.
During the Deutsche Bank Technology Conference yesterday, Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha said, “I will only develop a tablet if it is sufficiently compelling. Hopefully, that is early next year.” In fact, according to his comments, it seems that they haven't even started development of a tablet yet.
This doesn't quite jibe with what we've heard before. In mid-August, word around the 'net was that a Motorola tablet device was coming to Verizon sometime in November. The next day, rumor had it that Moto was working directly with Google on a 10.1" Android 3.0 tablet. We're talking separate rumors here, not one stemming from another.
From the Unsurprising But Still Exciting department comes this fresh tip, via everyone’s favourite rumour rag, Digitimes. With a suitably vague allusion to “Taiwan component makers”, Digitimes claims that HTC will be leveraging their strong partnership with Google in releasing a tablet worldwide.
Much like the Galaxy Tab, HTC’s take on the new tablet market will be powered by smartphone components and will feature similar performance and design quality. This doesn’t really give us much to pin our hopes on, but as AndroidCentral points out, the supposed Q1 2011 release date aligns with the previous release of the Nexus One, and we know how special that was.
One of the many great things about Android is how open it is: just about anyone can put it on just about anything (except for the Android Market and Google's suite of proprietary apps (ie, Gmail, Google Talk, etc), which are not officially part of Android and are therefore not open). However, that doesn't always mean the end user is going to receive a great experience; quite the contrary, if you ask Google's Hugo Barra.
In a recent interview with Tech Radar, the Director of Products for Mobile at Google stated that "FroYo is not optimized for tablets" and that the Market is "not going to be available on devices that don't allow applications to run correctly," aka tablets.