Wednesday, January 05, 2011

OEM reports Honeycomb to require more beeswax: dual-core CPU, 1280 x 720 screen

Not too much is known about the first tablet-optimized version of Android, Honeycomb, although we know some OEMs are waiting for it before releasing a tablet. One rumor that's being spread around, however, is that Honeycomb (Android 3.) will require a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor to run properly, and a 1280 x 720 screen.

That information comes from Bobby Cha, managing director of Korean consumer electronics firm Enspert, which is working on Android 2.2 / 2.3 / 3.0 devices. Right now, NVIDIA's Tegra 2 is the only chipset in products on the market to include a Cortex-A9 processor.

Although Cha mentioned a 1280 x 720, a 10-inch screen is not required. Android 3.0 will work just fine on 7-inch screens, he noted. However, if this is true, most of the existing Android tablets won't be upgradeable to Honeycomb. It would mean the Samsung's Galaxy Tabs, for example, could be upgraded to Gingerbread (Android 2.3), but not Honeycomb.

A number of manufacturers are expected to unveil Android tablets at CES. Among them will be Motorola, which has already teased its upcoming tablet, expected to be named Xoom, as running Honeycomb.

Despite the higher-end requirements, we should expect Honeycomb to eventually land on lower-cost products as parts costs come down.
"You're going to see price erosion on many of the components in tablets right now. Folks like Samsung, the industry heavyweights, are going to add pressure to the component guys to lower their costs. A tablet is still kind of an expensive toy."
It is true that most people who have a tablet also need a smartphone to carry with them. For most, it's not a replacement device (at least for a smartphone, but perhaps for a netbook), but rather an additional device, requiring more disposable income.

Cha said Honeycomb will probably be ready for manufacturers to install "towards the end of January," although Motorola, based on its teasing, might have its Xoom with Honeycomb installed. Toshiba earlier announced its unnamed 10.1-inch tablet, but as yet, it does not have operable software on it.

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