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Huawei’s seven-inch tablet features Android 3.2

Jun 20, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Huawei announced a seven-inch tablet that will apparently be the first to include an upcoming Android 3.2 version of Honeycomb — said to be better optimized for seven-inch designs. The MediaPad offers a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon, as well as a WSVGA display with a pixel density of 217 points per inch (ppi), and is set for a global launch in the third quarter.

Yet another seven-inch Android tablet coming out of China is not necessarily newsworthy, but the MediaPad stands out for multiple reasons. First, it's built by leading Chinese hardware manufacturer Huawei. Second, it's being aimed for a global launch to the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and selected European countries in the third quarter.

Third, the MediaPad joins an elite group of high-end dual-core seven-inch tablets that run Android 3.x ("Honeycomb") instead of Android 2.2. What's more, it's the first announced device we've heard of with support for an upcoming Android 3.2 release.

Huawei formally announced its MediaPad in Singapore today, according to several reports, and also posted a detailed website on the tablet. Last week, the company teased the MediaPad with a Facebook page and a rather odd YouTube video, but released few details. According to a report in Ubergizmo, the global launch event featured presentations from Huawei's MediaPad partners Qualcomm, Gameloft, and Real.

Huawei MediaPad

(Click to enlarge)

The MediaPad is claimed to be the slimmest and lightest seven-inch Android tablet on the market. The two-tone, unibody aluminum alloy device weighs 0.86 pounds (390g), and is 0.41 inches (10.5mm) thick, says Huawei. The device is also said to be the first Android tablet to run on Qualcomm's new dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, which is appearing in a number of Android phones, including the HTC Evo 3D. The dual-core Snapdragon also drives the WebOS-based, 9.7-inch HP TouchPad tablet, now available for pre-sale.

The MediaPad also appears to be the first Android device offering the upcoming Android 3.2 version of Honeycomb. Victor Xu, Huawei's chief marketing officer, is quoted by Ubergizmo as saying that Android 3.2, which follows the recent, USB-savvy Android 3.1, is the first Honeycomb build to be optimized to run on seven-inch tablets.

Android 3.2 could be the last Honeycomb release before Google releases its "Ice Cream Sandwich" build this fall, combining Android 2.x smartphone features and Android 3.x tablet features back into a single Android platform. Ice Cream Sandwich is widely expected to be called Android 4.0.

The MediaPad's dual-core, 1.2GHz Snapdragon should help keep up with games

The MediaPad's seven-inch, WSVGA display is touted for its pixel density of 217 points per inch (ppi), which beats larger tablets like the iPad 2 (132ppi), Galaxy Tab 10.1 (149ppi) and Motorola Xoom (160ppi), according to Ubergizmo. The MediaPad is said to support 1080p full HD video, as well as Flash 10.3, WMV, MP3, and H.264 video formats.

The tablet also features HSPA+ 14.4Mbps 3G+ service, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth2.1+EDR, GPS, and aGPS connectivity. A five-megapixel rear-facing camera is said to support HD video recording — whether it's 1080p or 720p is unclear — and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera is available for videocam duty.

The device integrates a microSD slot for up to 32GB, says Huawei. Other features listed by Huawei include an HDMI port, USIM card slot for 3G, and a micro-USB port. The 4100mAh battery supports up to six hours of use, says the company.

The MediaPad will support Android Market, as well as Huawei's own app store, and other third-party app stores, says Ubergizmo. No other details on the Android 3.2 build appear to be available, however.

Almost all seven-inch tablets to date have been announced with Android 2.x releases, including the relatively high-end, 1.5GHz HTC Flyer. Earlier this month, however, ViewSonic said a ViewPad 7x seven-incher was on the way with Honeycomb, presumably using the same 3.2 release.

Huawei's Xu told Reuters, meanwhile, that his company is also planning to release a 10-inch tablet later this year. No more details on the tablet were said to be available, however.

Last year, the company released a seven-inch, Android 2.1 tablet called the SmaKit S7, later appearing from Expansys UK under the name Huawei S7. The tablet ran on the original 768MHz version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Considering the MediaPad's HSPA+ support, it is possible that the tablet will show up in the U.S. on T-Mobile. According to a recently leaked T-Mobile roadmap, we'll see a new version of the Android-running Huawei S7 seven-inch tablet in August. This, however, may be a separate device.


The MediaPad is expected to ship the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and selected European countries in the third quarter, says Huawei. More information on the MediaPad may be found on Huawei's MediaPage site.

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