You could say Motorola's earnings call ended on a high note - the company's CEO, Sanjay Jha, told analysts that the Atrix 4G will be launching at the end of February, as will the 3G version of the XOOM. That doesn't quite line up with the rumors we've been hearing about a February 17th release, and Jha later added that the XOOM might even be bumped to a release in March if things don't go according to plan.
The Android Developers Blog just announced the availability of a "preview" of the upcoming Android 3.0 SDK. Developers can start getting their Honeycomb on immediately, as the preview is available via the Android SDK and AVD manager as part of the Android SDK.
But even more exciting is the fact that the Android Developers page has been updated with a plethora of information regarding Honeycomb and its features. Where to begin?
Every year, Google takes over the Moscone Center in San Francisco (a convenient train ride away from me) and hosts a full-blown conference called Google I/O. The usual schedule consists of 2 opening keynotes followed by presentations and demos related to all kinds of Google technologies. Google I/O also gives you an excellent chance to mingle with developers from all over the world, network, and exchange contact information. My favorite part is something called Fireside Chats, where developers from a specific team in Google sit around, talk about their product, and answer questions.
An eager reader forwarded an internal Best Buy memo to Engadget which indicates, in no uncertain terms, that the Motorola XOOM tablet is set to launch at Best Buy on February 17th.
A leak from Verizon has confirmed that the unsubsidized price of the XOOM will be $799. However, Best Buy may be retailing the device for an altogether different price.
The XOOM is an important device for both Motorola and Google because it will be the first tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb, an iteration of the Android OS that supports the tablet form factor.
Toshiba's Android tablet (it remains unnamed) just got an awesome teaser site, complete with specs, 360-degree view, gallery, and confirmation that the device will be running Honeycomb at launch.
We got some personal time with the Toshiba tablet back at CES, and were thoroughly impressed with its tactile rubber finish and large, glossy display. We'll give you a quick refresh on the specs:
- 10.1" display
- Tegra 2 dual-core processor
- Android 3.0 Honeycomb
- 2MP front facing camera
- Stereo Speakers
- Landscape mode dock
- HDMI out
- USB 2.0 port
- MicroUSB port
- Headphone and microphone jacks
- User-replaceable battery
- Combined volume, screen orientation, and power buttons
- Full-size SD card slot
The Toshiba tablet is definitely packing some serious heat in the features department, and it's only the second Android tablet I've seen that I might genuinely be interested in buying.
Remember the mind-blowing Honeycomb UI that we saw a preview of during CES? Well, the absolutely beautiful clock widget from the update is now available for download. The free version offers the standard blue widget we saw on video, while the $1 paid version offers customizable colors. As our friends at Droid-Life point out, this marks the second app available that provides a taste of Honeycomb - we've been playing with the music player for some time now.
In what is the most carefully-worded way of saying "we don't know" I've seen in a while, Asus's UK marketing manager John Swatton has told Pocket-lint that the company's new Android tablets will be shipping with Honeycomb "if Honeycomb is available." The reason for the uncertainty? Swanson seems to be suggesting that Motorola's XOOM has been given special treatment by Google, while Honeycomb remains unavailable to most, if not all, other tablet manufacturers.
As you probably know by now, versions of the Android OS tend to be alphabetically named and include some sort of reference to a dessert. Therefore, it was only reasonable to assume that the version of Android following Honeycomb would be called "Ice Cream."
However, according to Andy Rubin, that is not the case - instead, the name will be "Ice Cream Sandwich."
We still don't know Ice Cream Sandwich's version number, the features it will introduce, or anything else about it, but for those of you interested in the reason behind the name, TechCrunch has a pretty good theory: Google's statue for Android 2.2 includes frozen yogurt, which would be pretty hard to distinguish from ice cream.
If there's one thing CES told us about the upcoming twelve months in technology, it's that 2011 will be the year of Android tablets. And with noteworthy entries such as the Motorola XOOM, ASUS' lineup, and the T-Mobile G-Slate, it looks like the tablets' quality might be just as high as their quantity - at least hardware-wise.
But what about the software? After all, isn't a device's OS what makes or breaks it?
During CES 2011 Sony Ericsson's newest smartphone, the Xperia arc, was sighted running Android version "2.4".
A few weeks ago there were rumours that Honeycomb, Google's next iteration of the Android platform, would actually be Android 2.4 and not Android 3.0. Although it was later confirmed that Honeycomb will indeed be Android 3.0, rumours suggested that an incremental update to Android was being readied. The About section of the Xperia arc, displayed below, appeared to confirm that there was indeed a version 2.4.