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07 December 2010, 16:39

Google presents tablet version of Android

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Android Logo Google has presented first details about "Honeycomb", the upcoming tablet version of Android. At the D: Dive into Mobile technology conference in San Francisco, Android chief developer Andy Rubin, who was complimentary about Apple's approach, pulled from his bag a Motorola tablet PC with a development version of the new operating system, demonstrated various apps and explained his strategy.

Rubin said that developers will be able to include multiple views in their Android apps to optimise app presentation on large tablet displays. As a result, the same app will look different on a tablet PC than on a smartphone. Google has, therefore, chosen the same approach as Apple with its universal "Plus" apps for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

To demonstrate the tablet views, Rubin showed a Honeycomb version of Google Mail with a two-column layout – inbox to the left, open emails to the right. Rubin also demonstrated the forthcoming version of Google Maps which includes 3D views of buildings, which is expected to be released for Android smartphones in the next few days.

The roughly 10-inch Motorola tablet is a prototype. Rubin revealed that a dual-core NVIDIA processor will be used, which points towards the Tegra 250. The tablet has no home screen buttons on the outside, since in Honeycomb, Android's traditional Home, Search, Back and Menu controls have become touch screen buttons , which means they remain in the same position even when the device is rotated. In addition to the 10-inch tablet, Motorola also plans to release a 7-inch version with Honeycomb.

Rubin said that the Google developers are using the Motorola tablet and are working to optimise Honeycomb for the tablet's capabilities – an indicator that Google could market the tablet itself, just like Google's Nexus One (built by HTC) the first smartphone with Android 2.1, and the recently introduced Samsung manufactured Nexus S, the first smartphone with Android 2.3.

Rubin didn't provide a specific launch date: Honeycomb will apparently be released "some time next year". Conference organiser All things Digital has made a video of the panel discussion available on its web site.

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