Google & Motorola Unveil Honeycomb Tablet

by Matt Klassen on December 9, 2010

It wasn’t that long ago that the tech world heard whispers of a partnership between Google and Verizon to create a serious competitor for Apple’s dominant iPad. But like many tablet projects that were rumoured to be underway midway through 2010, there was nothing ever to show for it.

However, earlier this week Google made its triumphant return to the realm of tablet rumours by offering a sneak peak of its latest tablet project in partnership with popular Android smartphone manufacturer Motorola. The heretofore unnamed device, which hereafter will be referred to as the GooMo tablet, was featured at Monday’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference held in San Francisco, and while little information was given, it looks like the device will certainly not disappoint.

But with many in the tech world still awaiting a premiere Android tablet designed to compete with Apple’s iPad, will Google’s new tablet fit the bill?

While no one can question the surprising success of Samsung’s Android powered Galaxy Tab released a few weeks ago, from the little that Android boss Andy Rubin demonstrated at the conference, the new GooMo tablet is going to blow the Galaxy Tab out of the water.

For starters, Rubin gave the world its first brief look at Google’s much anticipated Android v3.0, aka Honeycomb, stating that the upgraded Android operating system will come standard on the tablet when its released later next year.

Further, Rubin briefly featured one aspect of the new tablet’s capabilities by showing off what it can do with its next gen 3D Nvidia processor. While not true 3D—that is, not popping out of the screen or requiring specialty eyewear—the tablet ran the latest version of Google Maps which offered an enhanced contoured map image, with buildings and other features being rendered in 3D with the slide of a finger.

While the new Google Map program will become available to the public in just a “matter of days,” the Honeycomb powered GooMo tablet is still a ways away from market, with Rubin joking that his particular prototype currently costs a whopping $10,000. While the sticker price for this tablet will be significantly below that, what is clear is that Google has yet to begin mass producing the device, meaning that consumers shouldn’t expect to see it till summer 2011 at the earliest.

As far as physical dimensions are concerned, the GooMo tablet seemed to have a similar footprint to Apple’s iPad, meaning that there will at least be a 10” version of Google’s new device.

But even with so little information offered about its new tablet, Google clearly generated a great deal of positive buzz around its future tablet plans, which is more than can be said about Research in Motion’s CEO Mike Lazaridis, whose rambling and disjointed presentation of RIM’s mobile plan had everyone wondering if there was ever a plan to begin with.

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