Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Honeycomb saga snowballs

I first read about it his morning in my Twitter account. In an article by Sasha Segan in PCMag he wrote "Google's new Android Honeycomb tablet OS will require a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor to run properly, said Bobby Cha, managing director of Korean consumer electronics firm Enspert. That means that many existing Android tablets will not be upgradeable to Honeycomb, as they lack the processor necessary to meet the spec. x x x A 1,280x720 screen resolution may also be necessary, although Cha affirmed that "Honeycomb does not require 10-inch [screens] ... it's going to go as small as 7 inch." 

Reacting to Mr. Segan's article in PCMag, in another article Paul Miller of Engadget queried "And how about phones for Honeycomb? The picture is decidedly murkier, other than the fact that we could see a temporary splintering of the platform while tablets show off their new Honeycomb digs, with enough battery to back up that dual-core proc." 

PhoneArena writes "The jury is still out on whether or not the Honeycomb build will be strictly for tablets. Currently, most believe that with the Nexus S recently launched as a Android 2.3 device, Google would want its flagship phone able to upgrade to what would be its most-up-to-date build of its OS." 

Another article, on Techie.com.ph stated "In an interview with PCMag, Cha so boldly, yet unintentionally, 'phased out' all existing Android devices. If the requirements are in fact true, then no existing tablet or phone will be able to handle 3.0, thus preventing nerds and geeks potential customers from joining the swarm – for now at least. x x x We're inclined to think that Cha may be telling the truth, but that could mean suicide especially for a market like Asia where Android now reigns supreme. What do you think? Will Honeycomb's lofty hardware requirements prevent you from buying Android devices today? Hit the poll below."

And so the story snowballs. 

Android development has hit a fork. This one forced by hardware. Google wants to get as many Android phones into the hands of users as possible. It is not in Google's interest to create a high end product for a limited market. Google is not about to abandon its newly released Nexus S and single core processors. By middle of the middle of the year you will be seeing smartphones with 1GHz Cortex processors and 800 x 480 pixel resolution screens being the typical entry level Android phone and you can expect to find Android 2.4 and 2.5 waiting for you. At the same time, Google cannot ignore the Tegra. Part and parcel of Android is being on the cutting edge. So Google needs to build an operating system to take advantage of dual core processors. This is where Honeycomb comes in.

What you will have is Google Android 2.x being optimized for 1GHz processors and 3.7-inch to 4-inch screens with a 800 x 480 pixel resolution. Android 2.x will continue to find its way into smaller (7-inch) lower end tablets. The Android 2.x mobile phones will take on Nokia S60 devices, Samsungs bada OS and what remains of the Windows Mobile 6.5x market. Android 2.x tablets will undercut Apple's iPad's price point and take on lower end netbooks.    

Google Android 3.x being optimized for dual core 1GHz processors and 720p screens, but you will also see it being used in mobile phones with dual core processors running 800 x 480 resolution or better screens. These high end Android smartphones will be targeted at the next generation iPhone, RIM's BlackBerry's and Windows Phone 7 devices... and in case Symbian or Meego manages to get backs on it feet, those devices too. Android 3.x tablets will target the iPad 2, AMD Fusion platform and Intel's Tunnel Creek and whatever Microsoft decides to throw into the mix.

There is really no need to panic. You can expect updates to your shiny brand new Android for the remainder of 2011.

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