updated 10:35 pm EDT, Mon October 18, 2010
Android 3.0 to hit tablet samples by end of year
Google should be ready to load Android 3.0 just as tablets based on it should be in testing, sources claimed late Monday. Engineering samples would arrive in December and would come quickly enough that companies could start showing their tablets at CES in early January. Acer, ASUS, HTC, Motorola and MSI would all have new models on show at the Las Vegas technology expo, Digitimes said, to ship later in 2011.
Samsung would also show the Galaxy Tab upgraded to Android 3.0, they said.
The statements are said to reflect the high level of faith put in Google's platform as a chance of dethroning Apple from its near total control of tablets. Many have purportedly looked to Android as means of competing more fiercely on cost. As with Windows on regular PCs, Microsoft insists on charging $50 to $60 for a Windows 7 license on a tablet; Google's licensing is technically free, but the end cost would amount to $10. Windows' performance demands also require that it use costlier Atom processors where an ARM chip could save $30.
Android 4.0 has also supposedly given hope, though it now wouldn't ship until the second half of 2011.
Apple's lead through the iPad has previously been credited both to Microsoft's inability to spur on the Windows tablet market, even after nine years, as well as Google's heavy focus on smartphones without anticipating the rise of tablets. Many of the earliest tablet developers have had to use Android 2.2 or earlier, which Google itself advised against as it said the platform wasn't ready. The decision to forge ahead regardless gave fodder to Apple chief Steve Jobs, who dismissed early competitors entirely as not having any tablet-ready apps and having very little optimization.