A Google product manager triggered a bit of controversy when he stated the simple fact that Android 2.2, the current "Froyo" build, is not optimized for the tablet form factor.
Hugo Barra, director of mobile products for Google, told TechRadar that Android Market is not going to be available on devices that don't allow applications to run correctly.
"Which devices do and which don't will be unit-specific, but Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets," Barra said. "If you want Android market on that platform, the apps just wouldn't run; [Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor."
That is not to say Froyo won't work on tablets. Samsung, Archos and others are setting out to prove the point.
Android 2.2 is the current operating system of record for fresh-to-market tablet computers such as the as-yet-unreleased Samsung Galaxy Tab and the crop of five Archos tablets making their way to the U.S. market in September and October.
Samsung declined to make a statement defending its choice to use Android 2.2 for the Galaxy Tab. However, a spokesperson for the company pointed to the information about screen sizes from Google's Android developer Website.
Google noted: "Applications do not need to work with the actual physical size or density of the device screen. At runtime, the platform handles the loading of the correct size or density resources, based on the generalized size or density of the current device screen, and adapts them to the actual pixel map of the screen."
In other words, applications running on Android 2.2-based tablets will work, even if they won't be perfect for the 7-inch screen of the Galaxy Tab.
Android 3.0, code-named Gingerbread, is expected to remedy this. Though a Google spokesperson declined to confirm whether that future OS build will be optimized for the tablet form factor, Gingerbread is expected to offer 1280 by 760 resolution for devices with displays of 4 inches or more.
Gingerbread would seem to pave the way for Android tablets. Indeed, there is an Android 3.0 tablet on Verizon's road map for early 2011.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reported (paywall) Sept. 10 that Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint all plan to offer the Samsung Galaxy Tab to consumers.
eWEEK has previously reported that Verizon Wireless was a carrier choice for the Galaxy Tab, based on evidence spotted on the carrier's internal systems.
That major U.S. carriers would sell the Galaxy Tab makes sense. The tablet is an extension of the Samsung Galaxy S smartphone line, which contains one Android 2.1-based handset for each of the four major U.S. wireless carriers.