LG Electronics' plans for a tablet running Android 2.2-also known as "Froyo"-are apparently kaput, according to a new report.
"We plan to introduce a tablet that runs on the most reliable Android version," an unnamed LG Electronics official reportedly told Reuters Oct. 4. "We are in talks with Google to decide on the most suitable version for our tablet, and that is not Froyo 2.2."
Considering how LG's competitors are rushing into the tablet space with their own Android devices, a delay could place the company in something of an awkward position. Dell plans on launching a 7-inch tablet within "the next few weeks," according to a September report in The Wall Street Journal, and Samsung is readying its Galaxy Tab, which will be released this fall on all four major carriers.
The Galaxy Tab runs Android 2.2. During a high-profile unveiling at New York City's Time Warner Center Sept. 17, Samsung allowed media and analysts to play with the 7-inch device, which also features an enhanced TFT display with 1,024-by-600 resolution, native Flash support, dual cameras with video-conferencing capability and a 1GHz processor. Given how the Galaxy Tab seemed to work without major issues, one could question what the LG official meant by "reliable" and "suitable."
However, LG may be waiting for Android 3.0, code-named "Gingerbread." In September, a Google product manager triggered a bit of controversy when he suggested that Android 2.2 is not optimized for the tablet form factor, harming users' ability to run apps.
"Froyo is not optimized for use on tablets," Hugo Barra, director of mobile products for Google, reportedly told the blog TechRadar. "If you want Android Market on that platform, the apps just wouldn't run; [Froyo] is just not designed for that form factor."
That hasn't stopped Samsung-or other manufacturers such as Archos-from pursuing Android 2.2 for tablets. In defense of that decision, a Samsung representative pointed eWEEK to Google's Android developer Website, which says: "Applications do not need to work with the actual physical size or density of the device screen." That means apps will still be able to run on tablets like the Galaxy Tab, albeit not in their most optimized form.
Android 3.0 is expected to offer a 1,280-by-760 resolution for tablets with a screen size of 4 inches or larger, effectively fixing the apps situation. An Android 3.0 tablet is reportedly part of Verizon's 2011 road map. Conceivably, LG is waiting for the build to be released before it makes its own tablet decisions.
By doing so, however, LG could find itself plunging into an ever-more-crowded market. In addition to those Android-centric competitors, Research In Motion and Hewlett-Packard are also preparing tablet offerings with proprietary operating systems. And rumors abound that Apple will update the hardware of its bestselling iPad at some point in the next few months.