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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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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.


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