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Android Honeycomb said to require dual-core chip

by Scott Bicheno on 4 January 2011, 12:18


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We've never heard of this bloke, but when the MD of a far-eastern consumer electronics company offers to shed some light on possibly the most significant OS launch of the year, it's certainly worth having a listen.

Bobby Cha, MD of Korean tech firm Enspert, spoke to pcmag.com about Honeycomb - the next version of Google's Android mobile OS, which promises to be optimized for tablets - in the greatest detail we've seen to date, not that that's saying much.

His biggest revelation was that Honeycomb will require a dual-core SoC in order to run properly. This suggests that Google is trying to beat Apple at its own game in trying to compete with the iPad, by raising the bar on the GUI. It also suggests that existing tablets, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, won't be compatible.

The precise phrasing in the story is: "Google's new Android Honeycomb tablet OS will require a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor to run properly." Cortex A9 is ARM's high-end CPU design that's scalable up to four cores, but this quote isn't the tautology it might seem to be.

The dominant smartphone chip maker has already released a dual-core SoC to manufacturers, but it doesn't licence ARM's Cortex A9 designs. Qualcomm's MSM 8960 is expected to appear in smartphones in the first half of this year, and it's not at all clear why it couldn't also be used in Honeycomb tablets.

The only reason we can think of is that Google has decided to dictate the basic hardware spec for Honeycomb tablets, much in the way Microsoft did for WP7. If that's the case then it looks increasingly like the rumours about NVIDIA's Tegra 2 being the exclusive SoC for Honeycomb tablets are true. NVIDIA will no doubt enjoy a bit of payback, having been dumped by Microsoft in favour of Qualcomm for WP7.

Other apparent confirmations from Cha included Motorola being the first to market with a Honeycomb tablet, but not when. He did say, however, that he expects Honeycomb to be made available to manufacturers at the end of January. After that the race is on, and you have to wonder if one OEM - maybe Moto - will be producing a Nexus Tab.


HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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Ti's Omap4 would also be a contender.
Ti's Omap4 would also be a contender.

Definitely, when it turns up: http://channel.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=27927