Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” Previewed, Sweet New Tablet Exposed

It’s no secret what gave Google half of America’s smartphone market and propelled it into second place worldwide in global smartphone sales — a combination of an open ethos, a plethora of hardware options, and an aggressive schedule of operating system updates.  The latest of those updates — Android 2.3 Gingerbread — just rolled out yesterday, but Google is already hard at work on its next round of goodies.

At the second and final day of the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco, California, Android Chief Andy Rubin showed off a new tablet running Android 3.0, an operating system that bears the codename “Honeycomb.”

The tablet alone looked quite impressive.  The new tablet from Motorola sports a “dual core 3D processor” and NVIDIA GPU (possibly the new dual-core Tegra 2?).  It also packs video chat and, of course, Android 3.0, into what looks to be a 10-inch footprint.

The device is rumored to be “Stingray” a Motorola tablet that’s supposed to launch in the first quarter of next year on Verizon.  Previously published rumors point to a 10-inch tablet packing Android 3.0, 16 GB of onboard storage, and be upgradeable to LTE (“4G”).  And you guessed it, the leaks point to “Stingray” being powered by Tegra 2.

Honeycomb will be the first release of Android to officially support and be fine-tuned for tablets.  

Customization seems to be a chief focus of the operating system.  While Google’s demo showed an OS that appeared to be sticking to a grid of icons, it didn’t have the traditional Android buttons and looked more like a PC desktop.  The demo wasn’t long and didn’t do much to fill in the scarce details currently available on the incoming OS.  But it did certainly tantalize that Google has some sweet surprises left in store.

If “Stingray” indeed airs in the aforementioned form, it would likely surpass the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad as the undisputed champion of the tablet world, at least in terms of hardware.  Those interested in picking up a tablet should keep their eyes on this one.

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