Google's Leaked Android Info Means One Thing

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) released the Gingerbread version of Android only a month ago. And now it's time for another update.

Thanks to the information leaks all over the CES gala in Las Vegas this week, we now know lots and lots about the Honeycomb version. We've heard hardware requirements including tablet-sized screens and dual-core processors, we've seen lots of gadget builders introducing their own Honeycomb-sporting devices, and there's this beautiful video from Big G itself showing what the revamped user interface will look like.

The only thing we don't have is an official launch party. With all of this information already in the public domain, it would be ridiculous of Google not to pop that cork this week -- i.e., today or tomorrow.

This would throw off the promised biannual tick-tock of Android releases a bit, but not as much as you'd think. Gingerbread was delayed by a couple of months, making Honeycomb seem earlier than it really is. Moreover, Google could opt to fork the Android project into two product lines sharing a fundamental code base but displaying very different user experiences based on specific screen sizes. If that happens, cries of "Fragmentation!" will undoubtedly echo across Geekville again, stronger than ever before. Handled smartly, that could still be the wisest and most flexible choice at this point.

This is the week where Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPads officially become obsolete. Honeycomb looks polished enough to take on the famed Apple user experience head-on, even on large screens. Tablet after tablet from Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI  ) , Samsung, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) , and others will feature details sorely missing from the first iPad, such as front-facing cameras and HDMI ports. The reference design for Honeycomb is built around a dual-core NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) Tegra 2 processor, which makes the Apple A4 look absolutely anemic by comparison.

Steve Jobs is surely not asleep at the wheel. The original iPad was first announced last January, and Apple tends to stick to strictly annual refresh cycles. Rest assured that iPad 2 will correct many of the first tablet's deficiencies and stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of the Androids. Jobs will probably have some previously undreamed-of twist up his sleeve, too. That's just how Apple rolls. And then it'll be up to Google and its many partners to find the passing lane again.

Will Android tablets swamp the iPads like they did to the iPhone, or is this target moving too fast even for Google to hit it? Discuss in the comments below.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Apple and NVIDIA are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool has written puts on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 06, 2011, at 9:39 PM, Superstef wrote:

    Mr Bylund's by now tiresome flag-waving for Google clouds his judgement. He seems to think because 100 no-name manufacturers and a few named ones use a free OS to base their phones on, that this in some way means Android has beaten Apple in the smartphone world.

    Apple doesn't give a stuff if a zillion cheap phones are shifted, all carrying Android. What it cares about is that the part of the market that recognizes quality and security and longevity, and is prepared to pay a fair price to get those difficult attributes, comes to Apple.

    Many people are going recall the old adage that there ain't no such thing as a free lunch when they are peppered endlessly with 'wait, there's more!' advertising (the SOLE reason builds Android.. it's free, remember?) on their phones. I, for one, abhor the way advertising has polluted TV and radio, and dread this experience being repeated on the Internet. But this is Google's objective.

    Apple has a different objective. To build insanely great products that consistently deliver what customers want, and usually more. They are doing quite well with this strategy it seems.

    If Mr. Bylund views advertising everywhere we go on the Net as desirable, then he and I must differ. Android will become a major polluter in this regard. I, for one, won't buy subsidized products that require I submit to advertising drivel. Enough is enough.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2011, at 10:08 AM, todayiniphone wrote:

    "This is the week where Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPads officially become obsolete. "

    Glad to see you keeping the FOOL in fool.com.

    WOW that is the single dumbest comment I have read on the iPad. Thanks for the laugh.

  • Report this Comment On January 14, 2011, at 12:47 PM, daveefreedom wrote:

    I had a good laugh too! I'm typing this on my Ipad and Google is in my portfolio as well as Apple but the demise of the Ipad....that's a good one!

    I don't want a Hdml port...I love my first edition Ipad,sorry Anders.

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