Hot on the heals of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet Launch, Google has revealed a prototype for a Motorola Tablet powered by Android and running a new version of the mobile operating system called Honeycomb that’s optimized for tablets.
Google VP of Engineering Andy Rubin demonstrated the device on stage at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in San Francisco.
The device itself features a 3D processor from NVIDIA, processing power that allows, for example, a vector version of Google Maps that lets you manipulate maps in new ways.
Given the processing power of the device, Rubin added that you could load “a whole state” of Maps data for offline usage.
The device is also buttonless (or one less button than the iPad, as interviwers Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg of All Things Digital quipped).
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Rubin confirmed what we long suspected –- that Google was building a version of Android optimized for tablets.
Called Honeycomb, the OS brings “new APIs that… allow an application to split its functionality to multiple views. Apps will know when they’re on a tablet,” Rubin continued.
As an example, Rubin demonstrated a Gmail app with a two-pane view, which is similar to the Gmail app display on an iPad. On an Android phone, however, users would continue to get the simpler inbox where messages open in the same pane.
An early criticism of the Galaxy tablet has been that Android and its applications aren’t optimized for tablets, creating an inferior user experience to iPad. Honeycomb clearly is Google’s attempt to change that.
Rubin said the Motorola device will be available early next year. It will be far from the only new Google tablet to hit the market, however. Much like its strategy with smartphones, Rubin said that, “We’re not in the business to build one tablet.”