Google Android creator Andy Rubin showed off a Motorola tablet based on Google's future Android operating system, code-named Honeycomb, at the D: Dive into Mobile show Dec. 6.
Motorola is launching an Android tablet based on Google's
next-generation Android operating system, code-named Honeycomb, which will be
optimized for tablets.
Google Android creator Andy Rubin demonstrated the device Dec. 6 on stage at the D: Dive into Mobile show in San
The thin, light-looking machine appeared to be closer to
the 9.7-inch screen size of Apple's iPad than the 7-inch display of Samsung's
Galaxy Tab, though no such dimensions were confirmed.
A Motorola spokesperson told eWEEK "we
are working on both a 7- and 10-inch Android tablet and intend to introduce a
tablet in the first half of 2011."
"We want to make sure that any tablet we
deliver is compelling and competitive in the marketplace, and we will only
deliver a tablet when that occurs."
Rubin did confirm the device features a "dual-core Nvidia
3D processor," which should provide solid 3D graphics for gaming and
multimedia apps on the tablet.
This makes sense; Rubin and his team just introduced
Android 2.3, the Gingerbread build, which is slated to appear first on the
Samsung Nexus S Dec. 16 from T-Mobile and Best Buy.
Rubin called up the tablet screen quickly using virtual icons
on the screen--there are no hard, physical buttons on the device--briefly
displaying Google Talk video chat icons before launching the next version of
Google Maps for Android.
Slated to launch on Android handsets within days, the new
Google Maps app leverages the tablet's 3D graphics processor to show buildings
and their shadows as the user zooms zooms to ground level. Rubin used two fingers to tilt the 3D map
of San Francisco on the screen and rotate
"These guys really know 3D and have been great to
work with," Rubin said of Nvidia.
The new Google Maps for Android app, Rubin explained, employs
vectors instead of pre-rendered tiles to dynamically render content.
Previous iterations of the app feature preset
tiles, which created latency when users navigated around the app.
With the new Maps, content will be drawn in real time on smartphones
and, eventually, tablets. Users will
be able to download their entire route in a few short seconds. Rubin
said this app will be available on platforms such as Apple's iOS in the
Rubin also showed off Gmail on the Motorola tablet. This app
resembled the Gmail for iPad app, with messages in the left pane and
e-mail content on the right.
Rubin confirmed the Motorola tablet, the first for the
company, wasn't "due out for awhile now."
If the Motorola tablet does appear in 2011 as expected,
it will launch nearly a year after Apple blew open the gates to the tablet
kingdom with its iPad.
Samsung followed the iPad with its Galaxy Tab. While hardly the first
Android tablet in a sea of machines from Archos, ViewSonic and others, the Tab
is the first significant Android tablet.
The machine, which Samsung made available from all four
major U.S. carriers, has sold more than 1 million units to date, buoyed by strong U.S. Black Friday
Motorola, which just saw its Android handset
lead eclipsed by Samsung in the United States, will have its work cut out for it trying
to catch up.