Dec 07 AT 4:19 PM Taylor Wimberly 19 Comments

Andy Rubin confirms Tegra 2 powered Motorola Everest is the lead Honeycomb device

When Andy Rubin talks about Android, you better take notes because he is the godfather of Google’s mobile OS and he spills the goods each time. At last night’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference he showed off an unannounced Motorola tablet running Honeycomb and shared some details about how his team was working on the next version of Android.

First Andy explained how others generally develop a new operating system. “I’ve worked at companies where they generically try to do software, and this is the way Microsoft used to work with Windows. They very generically build the next version of Windows then expect it to work on all PCs.”

Android is open source software, but Google takes an approach similar to Apple where they pick their partners and then build a lead device to develop their next OS release on. On the topic of developing Honeycomb, Mr. Rubin disclosed how Google is planning the next release of Android, “What we do is pick our partners, a semiconductor partner, an operator, and an OEM and then combine them all together. This is the device that engineers have on their desk when they come in the morning.”

Thanks to comments from Mr. Rubin and the CEOs of their partners, we think we have a pretty good idea of the team that Google has selected for their big Honeycomb launch. The semiconductor partner is NVIDIA, the operator is Verizon, and the OEM is Motorola.

We still don’t know what the first Honeycomb tablet will be called, but rumored names include the Motorola Stingray, Everest, and Motopad. The device will feature a 10 inch display, dual-core 1 GHz Tegra 2 processor, dual-cameras, and support for Verizon’s 4G LTE network.

Honeycomb will eventually be available on other tablet CPUs and even smartphones, but the Motorola tablet on Verizon will be the lead device just like the Nexus S was the lead device for Android 2.3.

The release date of Honeycomb is still a mystery, but it’s not that far away. We’ve already seen a video of the Motorola tablet running it and there are three big trade shows coming up in early Q1. My guess is we will see some more Honeycomb tablets announced at CES in January, Google might release Honeycomb around Mobile World Congress in February, and we should have products in stores near the time of CTIA in March.

Google took their sweet time developing a tablet-friendly version of Android, but we think Honeycomb devices will definitely be worth the wait. As NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun put it, “They have to be absolutely groundbreaking or why would anybody come to buy them.”

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Terrormaster

    Looks like a thing of beauty — dual core, 10″, front/back camera, and honeycomb.The only thing that concerns me is Verizon. I’m really hoping they can push out a WIFI only / carrier-free version at the same time with a price point under $500 bucks and I’m golden.

    • http://Website jdog

      I think that it should be called the Nexus Tab or something Nexus branded since it has stock Honeycomb. Also how many Droid branded phones have stock Android, none.

      • http://Website st4xor

        The original Droid had/still has stock android.

      • http://Website Name (required)

        Get your rant right before you spout off. The Original Droid I have has Vanilla Android and was also shipped with it. The first and probably the last but, it is Vanilla.

        • http://Website jdog25

          Oh crap I’m sorry guys I didn’t know you enjoyed free tethering like the Nexus One, I’m so dumb. The truth is that only Nexus One and Nexus S have stock but I don’t know why Motorola gave the Droid 1 a modified version, the Droid 1 hasn’t had stock since they were updated to 2.1. When 2.1 came out with the Nexus it had 5 home screens but the Droid 1 got 3 and the Milestone got 7 I don’t think that is stock.

  • http://Website Darkseider

    Meh no WIFI only model, not interested. I pay enough as it is for my cell phone plan through VZW I don’t need another hit for a damned tablet too. No WIFI only, no sale.

  • http://Website UniqueNate

    Very excited. I just might get a tablet. Only if it’s wifi and doesn’t need a contract. I want to see if sammy brings a revolutionary screen in tablet size. 7inches is to small for me.

  • http://Website Alex

    I’m very excited for this as honeycomb, however early a version it is, looks promising. What I’d like to know is if the honeycomb that will be on this lead device will be untouched by Motorola and will be a pure stock experience, a “nexus” device if you will.

    After having bought only a nexus device (and buying one next Thursday) I’ll never go back to any other device, pure android FTW.

  • http://Website maaaax

    If this Honeycomb is coming in just two short months, why did they separate it from Gingerbread? Why release two OS versions within two months of each other? Hmm… after writing these questions I have come up with two answers.

    1. They want to maintain the image that Android is constantly evolving and improving.
    2. Release gaming enhancements to give developers some time to roll them into high profile games that will launch around the time of the Honeycomb tablet avalanche.

    • http://Website Alex

      I think they did it for a variety of reasons. Had the android team been solely focused on gingerbread, we likely would have seen more UI improvements, but it would have likely taken more time as well. Therefore, you split into two groups. The first group (gingerbread) works on the underlying code for android, striving to make it faster while adding new features. This first group is constantly in contact with the second group (Honeycomb) and giving them all this code so they can focus solely on the UI while also bringing some improvements to the table.

      Of course with the releases presumably so close together you’ll hear the “fragmentation” speeches more and more. I’m personally interested to see what Honeycomb will look like on a phone.

      • Terrormaster

        Think the fragmentation speeches will come from the uninformed masses. My understanding is that currently Honeycomb and Gingerbread are two separate forks of Android — Honeycomb for tablets and Gingerbread for phones. Speculation I’ve seen has the two forks merging either late 2011 or early 2012. But right now they’re completely separate for two different platforms. Not sure how this is gonna affect the SDK

        • http://Website maaax

          If you watch the demo video, Walt Mossberg directly asks that question and Andy Rubin says that Honeycomb is for both phones and tablets.

          • http://Website jdog25

            Yeah I heard that, I think they will release Honeycomb for phones soon after it comes out for tablets and that Ice Cream will be released in December 2011 for both phones and Tablets at the same time.

  • PixelSlave

    >> They very generically build the next version of Windows then expect it to work on all PCs.

    >> Android is open source software, but Google takes an approach similar to Apple where they pick their partners and then build a lead device to develop their next OS release on.

    I am sorry, but these two sentences made me really angry. Criticizing Microsoft or Apple all we can, BUT:

    a) If you buy Windows compatible PC, you can be sure that whenever a new version comes out, you can install it the moment it’s released. If you consider how many variations can make one PC different from another, we probably should start giving credits to Microsoft for making its OS working on most PC w/o major problems.

    b) Yes, Apple controls the entire process. But it markets its own goods, and markets them SUCCESSFULLY, unlike the Nexus One. Arguably, the phone that actually made Android a serious player in the smartphone market is not the Nexus One, but the original Droid. Oh, yea, the Droid’s success probably has more to do with how Verizon marketed the phone than the Android OS itself.

    Look, I love my Droid and I have no doubt that my next smartphone will also be an Android phone, but the thinking of Google behind how they handle the Android ecosystem is a big disappointment. At the very least, it should work with all major OEM to make sure that after a new version of Android is released, all high-end Android phones sold from that point on should have the latest version pre-installed. I see no effort on Google’s front to make this happen. In fact, quote me on that, I bet that there will still be top tier Android phones release with 2.2 (or may be even 2.1) in the coming 6 months.

    • http://Website Lucian Armasu

      I think Google should start making a plan to update multiple phones at once. They said Chrome O will be updated from them, and we know there will be many devices with Chrome OS. Who knows how many in the future….So if they can update Chrome OS like that, I’m sure it’s not impossible to come up with a way to update all new Android devices once it’s done.

      Sure, we’re still at the beginning of Android now, but once it matures a bit more, and the market, too, I’m sure there could be a standard way to update all these phones at once. They just need to put some thought and work into it.

  • http://Website cosmos

    Just a thought….. So if Google are now liking the idea of introducing a Google branded lead device in conjunction with semiconductor, carrier, and OEM partners for each new version of Android, they have chosen the Motorola Everest for Honeycomb right? As we know Honeycomb will also feature on some smartphones could it be that we may also see a Honeycomb Nexus smartphone?

  • http://Website Rizalhanafi

    This is just reference hardware for oem and developers. Just like the nexus one that served as ref hardware for the advancement in google app intergration that come with 2.1. The just released nexus S with 2.3 is the ref hadware for google planned foray in direct financial transaction through NFC hardware interface that is projected to displaced the credit card as a more secure option.

    So when Eric Schmidt said Nexus One was successful, he does not meant it to be from the aspect of consumer sale but success in convincing phone manufacturers to adopt and adapt Android as a major OS for smartphones as we now witnessing. It is also part of the Android open source policy, by marketing your engeneering ref hardware/software platform to the public although limitedly, this ensures not only major oem got access to the physical dev environment but also the open dev community as well (XDA and others).

    Google is not just trying to be benovelant and fair by choosing Motorola for 3.0, after dealing the cards once first for HTC with 2.1, now Samsung with 2.3 and later Motorola with 3.0. To favor one company more over the other would not benefit Google, more Android phones is equivalent to more google presence.

    Now you know why Apple never prolong the war with google.. it is never Google business to manufacture phones, they just supply the OS platform for their real financial endevours.

    They are loss making as Android provider but profit reaping with Android as a financial service enabler. They will be the biggest service provider/enabler for finance and commerce in the near future. In the late 70′s the ad market revenue in the USA alone is worth more than 60 billion, just imagine what Google would make with its worldwide market presence and penetration.

    So if you got the Nexus device, do the dev dance..Google has set the music. Kachinggg.

  • http://Website Mykalining

    Удивительно, как свойственно человеку оберегать свой образ от поклонения, которое сделало бы его смешным или черезчур далёким от оригинала, а потому неправдоподобным.