Aug 19th, 2010

It looks like those rumors of Gingerbread being a tablet-focused release may have just gotten a bit stronger. According to sources of DigiTimes‘, Google’s looking for a hardware manufacturer to partner up with for an Android 3.0 Gingerbread-based tablet, and Motorola’s currently got the top bid. Just the other day I was wondering why Google would go with a Chrome-based “Google Tablet” when it’s clear the the Android-based tablet market needs a lot of work and a lot of love.

Verizon is expected to be the distributor of the 3G (and possibly LTE) enabled device, linking up quite nicely with the rumors of Motorola and Verizon teaming up to bring a tablet out sometime in Q4 2010 or Q1 2011.  It’ll reportedly feature a Tegra 2 chipset by NVIDIA and will have a 10-inch touchscreen. It’s also said to be much thinner than the iPad. Google’s main efforts in this endeavor are supposedly in making sure that the user experience for a tablet device is top notch – something we can’t imagine is untrue considering their big-time hire in ex-Palm and lead WebOS designer Matias Duarte (and before that was a rumored focus of Google’s) – and that Motorola’s hardware is capable enough to keep up.

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Whether or not these specifications will spill over into handset adaptations of Android 3.0 remains to be seen, but suddenly those rumors regarding “recommended specs” for Android 3.0 devices don’t sound too crazy now. But this is still just a rumor so don’t take that without a grain of salt.

Acer – a manufacturer we already know confirmed to be working on an Android tablet – has also reportedly delayed their offering as DigiTimes cites their desire to wait for Android 3.0 (suggesting that a prettier Android is definitely looming). Their source with Acer also mentions hardware specifications, though they state Android 3.0 will have a “minimal” requirement of a 1GHz processor as opposed to a “minimum”. Usage of the world “minimal” is more than likely a nod to the upcoming storm of 1GHz+ chipsets headed our way by the end of the year, with some architecture designers even boasting dual-core speeds of 2GHz for mobile devices.

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While we can now clearly see where someone may have gotten Google’s “minimal” requirements mixed up with “minimum” requirements in earlier rumors, these new rumors certainly suggest Gingerbread will still probably need a bit more juice than other Android handsets to date can offer. As we expect Gingerbread to be announced sometime in Q4 (with a release short to follow, possibly spilling into Q1 2011), rumors will only ramp up from here. Google obviously needs to communicate their efforts ahead of time to hardware manufacturers that are part of the Open Handset Alliance in order to allow them to begin prototyping new designs, so perhaps we can let our guards down just a tiny bit more when determining the amount of truth behind any unconfirmed claims.

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