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Google's Android chief showed off a new tablet powered by Google's upcoming Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" OS.  (Source: Engadget)

The tablet is powered by NVIDIA's new dual ARM core/GPU system-on-a-chip, Tegra2.  (Source: Xtreview)
Google continues to aggressively improve its popular mobile operating system

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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Hmmm....
By zaaf on 12/7/2010 10:08:47 AM , Rating: 2
Was just about to get a Galaxy Tab. Then they have to go and make it look like a toy compared to what's in store. I think I still like the 7" tho... big complaint on the iPad is the weight.

Hmmm....




RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 10:47:50 AM , Rating: 1
Don't get a Tab. It runs underpowered hardware on a phone OS. It really IS a upsized phone. Samsung was just rushing to make the holiday season.

This Moto tablet is going to have a dual core processor and a tablet OS. It might also be a Pure Google product that doesn't have a custom skin. Instant updates FTW!

Bottom line, the Tab was Android Tablet 0.1, wait for version 1.0 and get a better experience. Sammy and HTC will also have new Honeycomb tablets for 2011.


RE: Hmmm....
By zorxd on 12/7/2010 10:54:12 AM , Rating: 4
Underpowered hardware? It's the most powerful tablet out there (mainly because of the GPU, which is better than the iPad's SGX 535)


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 10:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
After the holiday season, you'll see the next gen of processors for tablets and high-end phones.

I agree that Hummingbird is the best mobile processor right now, but if you wait one more month, that won't be true.

Don't get me wrong, Samsung will have a Honeycomb tablet with a next gen processor, but the Tab right now just isn't a good buy.

And on a side note, Android isn't fully GPU-accelerated yet so the effects of a solid GPU are so-so for now. Once Android becomes fully GPU accelerated, Samsung's killer graphics will dominate.


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 12:34:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't agree... Google has to give Motorola and their OMAP based devices a turn for Android optimization;) And they are suppose to do that with the first Android tablet to run 3.0.

As such I don't see Google putting resources into another phone until that is completed. It may not make sense to move to unoptimized cortex A9 cores, when you newly optimized A8 just hit the market.. Same goes for Snapdragon based devices.. (who knows how a dual core unoptimized chip will compare to a single core optimized chip..)

I would not be surprised if we don't see Cortex A9 based devices (i.e anything dual core) until late spring at the earliest..

Until then we will most likely just see modest speed bumps to the existing Cortex A8 lines (i.e current Snapdragon, OMAP, and Hummingbird lines)

Even other OS's such as Windows Phone will have the same issue.. Currently its only made to run on specific Snapdragon chips. (a single version in fact)


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 1:11:13 PM , Rating: 2
So how long are going to keep limping along?

Tegra 2 is out and Tegra 3 is completed.

OMAP 4 is also out. No doubt, TI is continuing to push OMAP forward.

45nm Snapdragon is bound to be found in upcoming HTC products.

The mobile market will move forward. I knew what I was getting into with my Droid X a few months ago, but you can't buy a full-sized tablet with today's hardware. It just won't stand the test of time.


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 2:44:13 PM , Rating: 2
You are missing the point. There is a reason why the N1 was getting those amazing benchmarks and seems so speedy with the froyo update.

Thats because Google put a considerable amount of work into optimizing current gen snapdragon cores for the OS, specifically for JIT.

Google has now done the same thing for Samsung and its hummingbird chips with the N2(Nexus S)..

They will soon being doing the same for Motorola with their OMAP based chips (the OMAP4 cortex A9 as you mentioned) with the first Android 3.0 Tablet.

The result being that an A9 may not perform to even close to its potential as these optimizations have not been performed. (let alone the fact that no mobile OS is currently made to use more than one core)

So it would not surprise me if we don't see any Orion based devices until that tablet is released.. (i.e not after the Christmas season)

Another big reason is that the competition won't have them yet either.. There won't be a new iPhone until June, and Windows Phone devices will have the same architectural problem..(the OS is currently optimized for current gen snapdragon cores, I see them letting the platform stabilize a little bit before they perform that jump)

Now of course this is all speculation, but I don't feel that its going to happen just yet.


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 3:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Just an FYI upcomming snapdragon products are still cortex A8 based (we will be seeing higher clocked snapdragon cores with newer Adreno gpus soon)..

And Tegra 2 is directly comparable to the two while requiring more power. While CPU performance may be a bit higher, its GPU performance is actually worse than both the SGX540 found in current samsung smartphones and Qualcomms Adreno 205 that will be packaged with the 45nm snapdragon cores you speak of. Its also an A9 at heart and will not be optimized for Android..


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/9/2010 8:26:26 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, so Tegra 2 has A9 in the trunk, cool. A9 isn't as optimized as A8, not cool. Or is it?

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4054/first-look-view...

Aside from one graphics benchmark, Tegra 2 sweeps the floor.

I can understand how Sammy's gem of a graphics processor could beat Tegra 2, but what about those highly optimized snapdragon processors?

Granted, the Nexus One did pull ahead in Linpack as you correctly predicted, but does that really matter if Tegra 2 handily wins in the real world benches?

And keep in mind, this is a $400 Viewsonic tablet without stock Market support. That makes me think the G is also rushed for the holidays, but it still can put out respectable numbers.

But I don't want anybody to think I'm some nVidia fanboy. Their Tegra 2 darling obviously has some legs, but it's admittedly limited in the graphics department.

I'm waiting for the other boys to make it to the market: the OMAP 4s, the dual core snadragons, etc.

The point is, we're looking at 2.5 tablets this holiday season. I think it would be a poor choice to buy any of them.


RE: Hmmm....
By lwright84 on 12/7/2010 10:54:57 AM , Rating: 2
I disagree, the Tab is an excellent purchase. It's fast, convenient, reliable, and has a great battery life and plenty of media options. It's a solid 1.0 offering as an Android tablet. It's no more "running a phone OS" than the iPad on it's original release. More and more tablet-friendly apps are being released or upgraded every day.

There is always something better on the horizon, but the Tab is a wonderful product available now for those that want or need one.


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 11:21:05 AM , Rating: 3
Engadget got less than 7 hours of battery life on their Galaxy Tab. That's good, but I want at least 10 for my Android tablet.

The Tab also does not have a SAMOLED screen. In my opinion, their screen was an enormous selling point for their Galaxy S phones. I would've gotten a Fascinate if the Droid X hadn't been released a few months earlier.

And whatever you say, Froyo (and Gingerbread) are both phone operating systems. They are meant to run on no higher than 480p resolutions. The Tab has a 1024x600 netbook LCD. Honeycomb will support up to 720p. I'll wait for an HD tablet running an OS that effectively uses those pixels.

The final reason that the Tab is not a good idea is the skin. Aside from Sense (and even that's debatable), Android skins are bad. They slow performance and updates. Motorola's Honeycomb tablet will probably be skinless if Google is touting it.

I'm not saying Samsung cannot make a tablet, they simply rushed development to take advantage of the 2010 holidays. The Tab will have a Honeycomb-packing successor at the beginning of the year.


RE: Hmmm....
By theapparition on 12/7/2010 11:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
SAMOLED for a 10" tablet would be horrid. Even Samsung knows this and didn't put one on thier 7" Tab.

Please for the love of god will someone actually look up AMOLED pentile matrix and understand how bad it is for text. LCD is barely marginable as a reader, but AMOLED would be unusable. Games and movies would be acceptable, but web browsing or books wouldn't be.

I guess I don't care what you do with your money. Just at least investigate it first.


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 12:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
If you're looking for an e-reader replacement, then the fabled Notion Ink Adam is your tablet with its awesome Pixel Qi screen.

I personally am not looking or an e-reader. That said, I want Samsung to put their wonderful SAMOLED panels into their tablets.

I think Sammy didn't put a SAMOLED panel in the Tab because they were too busy churning out 4" panels for their Galaxy S line. They are making a killing on the awesome Galaxy S lineup.


RE: Hmmm....
By ranran on 12/7/2010 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
The Adam is not just an e-reader. It also sports Tegra 2 hardware and much much more, take a look here:
http://www.notionink.com/techspecs.php

I think this tablet will be setting the bar for many other competitors, and pre-orders are starting in just a couple of days.


RE: Hmmm....
By Aloonatic on 12/8/2010 8:30:02 AM , Rating: 2
Somewhat off topic...

Out of interest, does anyone know if there are similar screens as used in ereaders that can be bought for use as desktop monitors?

A screen like the one in the Adam video, which can switch from colour to e-ink and back would be a brilliant solution to one of the biggest problems faced by offices trying to go "paperless", as people don't like reading from standard LCD monitors much, and print everything out again and again.

I guess just being able to have a standard A4 sized (or whatever paper size you have) screen that could be used as a second monitor would be worth having for many people too.

Thanks


RE: Hmmm....
By misuspita on 12/10/2010 5:52:56 AM , Rating: 2
I suspect you are talking from books rather than experience. I have a Samsung Wave, with a SAMOLED screen and it's just beautiful. Vivid, "black" blacks, and great outdoors. This is the first phone I can see in sunlight. And at 3.3" and 800x480 I can't see any artifacts. Even extremely small text is readable. Not easy on the eyes but readable... I actually write this from it...


RE: Hmmm....
By lwright84 on 12/7/2010 12:57:44 PM , Rating: 1
Ya I don't really care what Applegadget says about a competitor to their precious products. I own both the iPad and the Tab, and support both in our company. The Tab is superior to the iPad in nearly every way. The battery life (on at least 4 devices that I've used or deployed) surpassed 7 hours of use. While the iPad certainly has great battery life as well, in my experience with the actual devices the Tab has better results. Even if it is 7, you're complaining because you want 10? If it was 10, I'm sure you'd complain that you wanted at least 13.

The SAMOLED was also a big downside to the phones for many people due to it's limited outside visibility.
Modified 2.1\2.2 run great on tablets, just like the modified iPhone OS ran great on the iPad when it was originally released. You're reaching here, imo.
Sure, as I said, the Honeycomb tablet does look better.. no question. But my point was that the Tab is the best tablet on the market TODAY and is a great purchase for anyone wanting or needing such a device... the opposite of what you are claiming. When the honeycomb tablets come out you'll be the one telling everyone not to purchase them because the Android 4.0 tablets with 1080p are just a year away!

You're complaint about the skin makes no sense either as one of the many benefits of Android is it's complete customization ability. Don't like this skin? Change it. The skin on the Tab though is nowhere near as bad the Samsung skin on all it's Galaxy phones, so it's actually not a bad thing at all here.

Finally, the Tab was far from rushed.. as it was in development for over a year. I applaud your enthusiasm for future products, but your dissuasion of excellent current products is very misguided, imo.


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 11:55:28 AM , Rating: 2
Please stop pretending you know what you are talking about..

Hummingbird 1Ghz Processor inside the tab == the exact same Cortex A8 core as Apples A4 (found on the iPad), and the overall package is very similar.

Its also packaged with a PowerVR SGX 540 which is more powerful than the GPU that comes with the iPad (which sports a SGX 535 I'm pretty sure).

While I do agree that Android 2.* may not be ready for tablet primetime, from what I've seen it actually looks pretty good.

That being said, the Tab is directly in line with the iPad in terms of performance, and I'm pretty sure Apple has sold at least a few of those so called 'underpowered phones' ;)


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 12:10:33 PM , Rating: 2
What about compared to two >=1 GHz A8 cores?

And don't compare the Tab with the iPad, it would also be unwise to purchase an iPad when the iPad 2 is coming out in the Spring. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple crammed a dual core processor into their tablet just to differentiate from their iPhone.

But if you must compare the Tab and the iPad 1, the Tab severely gets its ass kicked. The hardware is close to parity (with the Tab pulling ahead slightly), but iOS 4.2 is so much better than a poorly skinned Froyo build.

A fairer comparison would be the iPad on release software and the Tab on it's Frankenstein Froyo. Tablet software can mature quite a bit in a few months. *cough*Honeycomb*


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 12:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
As an iPad owner with iOS 4.2, I don't agree with your sentiments..

After playing around with the Tab i'd say they are very comparable.. Also supports flash, which I WISH I had on my iPad..

I would not venture into buying an Android tablet with a higher resolution than the tab as the UI is still not GPU accelerated, but to say its not comparable is ludicrous..

Its not underpowered, and its still a high end device. There is always something better around the corner, if everyone played the waiting game for the next best thing nobody would ever buy anything =P.. That said, for the upcoming Christmas season, its definitely a great choice.


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 1:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
While I absolutely agree that flash on the iPad would be wodnerful, flash on the Tab really isn't that great.

While I admit I have not used the Tab and do not own a tablet, every Tab review I have read mentions how choppy and slow the browsing experience is. Flash is great, but it doesn't seem to be working well on the Tab.

Since basic internet browsing is the number one feature of a tablet, the Tab just doesn't get it done.

I think getting a little more muscle behind a 720p screen would improve the browsing experience quite a bit. After all, the iPad manages a satisfactory (albeit flash-less) browsing experience on a 4:3 720p screen (1024x768) with Tab-esque hardware.

Maybe it's flash. Maybe Android tablets need a flashblock add-on to block ads and things. But, if it's software, I think it is fair to expect an improvement on Honeycomb.

Wouldn't it be a shame to buy a $600 Galaxy Tab for Christmas and see a $500 Motorola tablet in January that whips the Tab's ass?

I really believe that Google can create a tablet OS that is superior to iOS, but they haven't done it yet.


RE: Hmmm....
By omnicronx on 12/7/2010 3:01:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
While I admit I have not used the Tab and do not own a tablet, every Tab review I have read mentions how choppy and slow the browsing experience is. Flash is great, but it doesn't seem to be working well on the Tab.
Android scrolling in general is just not as smooth as iOS (which is a result of a lack of GPU acceleration for their basic gui elements). That is where these types of reviews come stem from (which is a terrible basis of how good a browsing experience is). I've used the browser, its not choppy. While the scrolling may not be near perfect like the iPhone, I don't feel it takes away from the overall experience. Pages do load faster in my experience, and the added memory certainly does help (I've run out of cache many times on my iPad).

As for flash, it works fine if your intent is to use it for video content (which is what most people want it for). If you expect a desktop experience on your tablet, its not going to happen. That said, limited flash is still far better than no flash at all. Let me reiterate that point as the basis behind your statements is that internet browsing is the number one tablet feature. Apples approach of not having flash kind of goes against that very theory.
quote:
I think getting a little more muscle behind a 720p screen would improve the browsing experience quite a bit. After all, the iPad manages a satisfactory (albeit flash-less) browsing experience on a 4:3 720p screen (1024x768) with Tab-esque hardware.
Once again this stems from the lack of GPU acceleration for its ui elements, although actual 3d content (OpenGL games etc) will perform better on the Tab.

Please stop using HD broadcast standards to describe the screen resolution though. Neither tablet (or any smartphone right now for that matter) has an HD display..

1024x768!= 720P.. nor does 800/854x480 = 480P..


RE: Hmmm....
By lwright84 on 12/7/2010 1:04:40 PM , Rating: 2
I would agree that iOS 4.2 is the superior OS, but the Tab trumps the iPad in just about every other aspect... and this is coming from an iPad owner as well. Once Netflix releases their Android app, there will be literally no reason for me to keep my iPad.

But there you go again advising people not to purchase current excellent products because the sequel releases are "around the corner". You sound like an Apple salesman. So when iPad 3 is rumored a month or two after iPad 2 is released.. are you going to tell everyone not to purchase that lousy iPad 2? lol


RE: Hmmm....
By ImSpartacus on 12/9/2010 8:15:42 AM , Rating: 2
Other than operating system, what other aspect of a tablet do we judge?

I think it has already been said that the hardware in the Tab is nearly at perfect parity with the hardware in the iPad even though one is six months older.

But I honestly don't care which is better. If you ask me, they both suck, albeit equally. I've said it before, the Tab was rushed and the software shows it. The iPad was the first of its kind and will no doubt get an enormous upgrade in its successor. Honeycomb will also bring huge upgrades to

Anandtech says it best in their latest article:

"The slate computing market is about to explode, with a literal flood of new tablets releasing over the coming months."

http://www.anandtech.com/show/4054/first-look-view...

So right now, you have 2 choices if you cut the $400 G and its lack of Android Market support: the iPad and the Galaxy Tab.

I can understand why a layman might want either, but us? We're the techie crowd. We appreciate how Tegra 2 destroys its competition in 5/6 Anandtech benchmarks. We figure that if nVidia can bring that much heat in a non-Market (ie. sucky) device, what can the other boys bring in a more polished product?


now were talking...
By teng029 on 12/7/2010 10:58:09 AM , Rating: 2
i guess samsung jumped the gun a bit with the galaxy tab, but i'm sure the sales (whatever they are) will be the justification. anyway, if android 3.0 is to become the tablet OS for google, what happens now to chrome?

either way, i look forward to this motorola tablet, although no target launch date was mentioned in the article.




RE: now were talking...
By ImSpartacus on 12/7/2010 11:24:05 AM , Rating: 2
Chrome uses a keyboard, Android uses a touchscreen. Schmidt verified this at the Web 2.0 summit.

http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/15/eric-schmidt-ch...


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