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2/8/2011
00:17 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Too Early For Android Tablets

With the amazing success of the iPad, it is little wonder there are so many tablets hitting the streets. Android is the logical choice for most manufacturers, but the platform isn't ready for the tablet form factor just yet.

With the amazing success of the iPad, it is little wonder there are so many tablets hitting the streets. Android is the logical choice for most manufacturers, but the platform isn't ready for the tablet form factor just yet.Given that iOS is owned by Apple and they don't license their platforms, manufacturers that want a piece of the tablet pie have to look elsewhere for the software to run the hardware. Choices are limited. You can roll your own, using Linux or something similar as the underpinnings, but this is a long process. That is why there are few homegrown Linux based phones. You can buy a company like HP did and get a platform - WebOS in this case - that can be tweaked to run on a tablet. Acquisition targets are few though and it is costly.

Next up is to just grab a license for Android and go from there. The cost for the license is zero and a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done by Google. All that is left is to invest in the hardware, drivers, media codecs and software. No small task, but better than starting from scratch.

The problem is Android 2.x wasn't written for tablets. That hasn't stopped people from trying though. PC Magazine has reviewed five Android based tablets and the consensus is clear. Taking a smartphone platform and sticking it under a big screen does not a successful tablet make.

Google unveiled Android 3.0, also known as Honeycomb, last week and this platform is designed to run on tablets. The Motorola Xoom will likely the first Honeycomb tablet available.

If you must have something right now or want something that is inexpensive, check out the PC Magazine review. If you can hold off though and want something more worthy of the Tablet name, wait for Honeycomb. You might not have to wait too long. The Xoom is rumored to be released in the next few weeks. Even if it two or three months out, it sounds like waiting for it or another 3.0 device is where the smart money is at.

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