Google reportedly has asked LG to build the tablet equivalent of the Nexus S, an official developer platform for Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets.
The HTC Nexus One and Samsung Nexus S are so far the only two officially sanctioned developer handsets that Google has commissioned from its hardware partners. The Nexus handsets are meant to run an absolutely 100% pure version of Android -- unmolested by carrier and manufacturer software tweaks. This core software experience, coupled with capable hardware, provides developers with the ideal software/hardware combo on which to create their applications.
Applying the same ideology to tablets makes sense, and thus we have a handful of sources indicating that Google intends to make a "Nexus Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet" (or whatever it is to be called). The idea is to give developers the same pure Honeycomb experience on which to create and test applications. But who's going to make this Nexus tablet?
According to CrunchGear and Mobile Review, Google has contacted LG about creating the future reference Android tablet. The device would be released to developers by midsummer. Absolutely no details about the tablet have been shared or commented upon.
Could it be a re-badged or refreshed version of the G-Slate? The Nexus S is made by Samsung, and is a slightly re-skinned version of the Galaxy S series of smartphones. Since Samsung didn't have to design an entirely new phone to score the Nexus name, it stands to reason that LG won't have to, either. So what does the G-Slate offer?
The G-Slate boasts some impressive specs. It has a HD 8.9-inch 3-D-capable display. Users will be able to watch 720p HD content on the G-Slate, as well as deliver 1080p HD/3-D content via HDMI to other playback devices.
Under the hood, the G-Slate is powered by a dual-core 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, and it has enhanced 3-D graphics support. Android 3.0 Honeycomb supports Flash for native browser video playback, and it has other gaming niceties, such as Wi-Fi, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and adaptive lighting.
As if the G-Slate doesn't have enough 3-D capabilities already, LG decided to endow it with dual-cameras for 1080p HD 3-D video capture (stereoscopic). The cameras also shoot still images in stereoscopic 3-D at 5 megapixels, which are supported by an LED flash. The G-Slate also has a 2-megapixel, user-facing camera for video chat support.
At first blush, the G-Slate sounds like a contender. Its 8.9-inch display puts it smack in the middle of the 7-inch and 10-inch tablet camps, which could be a positive differentiator for the G-Slate. Devices such as RIM's PlayBook and the Samsung Galaxy Tab have 7-inch displays, while the Motorola Xoom and Apple iPad have 10-inch (or near 10-inch) displays. LG says the G-Slate is an ideal device for reading.
With a dual-core processor and 3-D graphics support, it sounds as if LG is taking performance seriously -- as it should. Many of the tablets primed to hit the market are hoping to snag gamers from other mobile gaming platforms.
Since the G-Slate already has a solid list of specifications, I wouldn't be surprised of Google picks it as the Nexus tablet of choice.
Google may fill in many of the blanks at its upcoming Google I/O developer conference, scheduled for early May.
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