Google Android 3.0 aka Honeycomb requires a dual core ARM Cortex 9 processor chipset to operate, such as Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chipset, according to Bobby Cha, director of Korean consumer electronics company Enspert.
Cha has told PC Magazine that Motorola’s tablet (speculated to be called Motorola Xoom) will be the first device to use Honeycomb. The tablet was recently revealed by Google while its chief engineer used the device to demonstrate Honeycomb. Motorola’s tablet is to be a Google standard for what is likely version 3.0 of Android OS, and it has a Verizon logo on it. Incidentally, speculation is rife that Honeycomb may be Android 2.4 and not version 3.0.
Another minimum specification for Android Honeycomb, according to the director of Enspert, is 1280 x 720 pixel resolution. The optimum size for running the OS might be 10 inches, though there will be tablets as small as 7 inches using it. This information is corroborated by the spec lists of Android 3.0 tablets from LG and Samsung. These too use Tegra 2 processors and display at least 720p HD resolution.
The versions of Android for smartphones – those that preceded 3.0, can be used on a wide range of mobile devices; but since Honeycomb isn’t out yet, perhaps over a period of a year it will turn out to be quite as versatile like the previous versions of Android.
Windows Phone 7 requires a list of specific hardware, such as a 5 megapixel camera and ARM version 7 processor, etc. Sony Ericsson and other firms have found it difficult to differentiate their WP7 smartphone among others running the OS, because of the minimum hardware requirements that are rather on the high end – as opposed to less fussy and consequently cheaper hardware requirements that might have left a wider margin of choice for device manufacturers and for users as well. Also see: Microsoft to launch Windows for tablets
Google’s existing Android OS, meanwhile, allows for innovation because it has relatively simpler hardware demands. However, as Ensper’s Cha points out, the components that Android Honeycomb requires will be cheaper by the end of next year and this would mean that even lower end devices will use the OS.
Enspert has produced a $100 Android tablet called Identity Tab with a 3 megapixel camera, 1 GHz processor and 7-inch screen. The tablet will be exhibited at the CES 2011 this week when we will also find out which version of Android Enspert has used.
When Honeycomb devices are available, there will be two types of tablets using Android – those using Android 2.2 Froyo and those using the upcoming version of the OS. There are many types of devices between tablets and phones running Android now, such as Dell’s 5-inch device called Dell Streak; And Tegra 2 processors are said to deliver the kind of power that laptop computers do.
These developments are blurring the previously well defined gap between phones and computers, and perhaps all the versions of Android OS are meant to enable all such devices with varying combinations of hardware to co-exist.