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More Android 3.2 and Amazon tablet details emerge

Jun 23, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

More details have surfaced about Android 3.2, including support for seven-inch screens and Qualcomm processors. The release may appear on's Android tablets, which are rumored to be arriving in August bearing Texas Instruments processors and could hasten the fall of the monochrome Kindle.

Google and its Android tablet vendor partners face a double-edged sword in their epic struggle against the almighty Apple iPad. Android 2.x is both functionally and aesthetically lacking on larger screens, especially beyond seven inches. Meanwhile, Android 3.0 solves this problem and introduces some cool features not found on the iPad, but is widely criticized for being buggy and complex.

Also, for good or ill, Google has initially insisted on high-end requirements for Honeycomb, including a 10.1-inch screen, and the platform was optimized only for the dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. Such requirements mean that many Honeycomb tablets are priced above the iPad, and few are much cheaper.

Android 3.1 should make Honeycomb more stable, at the very least. Soon, Android 3.2 will make it more egalitarian, too, supporting seven-inch tablets, as well as Qualcomm's new dual-core Snapdragon, according to reports. 

Android 3.2 was outed earlier this week by Huawei CMO Victor Xu when the company announced its seven-inch MediaPad (pictured). When it ships in the third quarter, the device will run a hithero-unknown Android 3.2 release, which Xu said is optimized for seven-inch tablets, as well as larger models.

ThisIsMyNext then followed up with a report, based on unnamed sources, claiming that Android 3.2 will ship this summer, and will indeed run on a range of tablets, including seven-inch models. The report also confirmed the release would be optimized for the dual-core Snapdragon found on the MediaPad, as well as some other Android 2.x tablets such as the HTC Flyer

Android 3.2 will also "offer some bug fixes and improved hardware acceleration, as well as updates to Movie Studio, Movies, Music and widgets," says ThisIsMyNext

The release will be the last 3.x release before this fall's "Ice Cream Sandwich," which Google says will unify the Android 2.x and Android 3.x forks, says the story. Many expect this unifying release to be called Android 4.0.

The Motorola Xoom (pictured above left) will get Android 3.2 in a few weeks, followed by other Honeycomb tablets, says the story. The first seven-inch tablets are expected to receive Android 3.2 in August.

Amazon tablet coming in August?

Considering its success with the small-screen Kindle, we imagine that will choose the Android 3.2 release to jump in with its much-rumored Android tablets, which will likely be available in seven-inch and 10.1-inch models. This week DigiTimes reported that Amazon hopes to sell four million Android tablets in 2011 and could begin selling multiple models in August or September.

The report, which was amplified by our friends at eWEEK, says that the tablets will feature Texas Instruments processors, presumably an OMAP4 system on chip (SoC). They will also offer touchscreens from Wintek and LCD driver ICs from ILI Technology, says the story.

As had been previously tipped by DigiTimes, Quanta Computer will assemble the tablets, says the story. That previous report said that the Amazon tablet will use Fringe Field Switching display technology from E Ink — presumably a version of E Ink's Triton color e-reader display. Earlier reports from other sources have suggested that Samsung would be the manufacturer of the Amazon tablet.

In-Stat: tablets to finally eclipse e-readers in U.S.

Earlier this month, a Piper Jaffray analyst estimated Amazon would sell 2.4 million tablets in 2012, and that it could do so without significantly cannibalizing the company's Kindle e-reader sales. Perhaps so. Yet, an In-Stat report this week projects that sales of e-readers will finally be eclipsed by tablets in 2012, as reported by eWEEK.

In-Stat's survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents estimates that global e-reader shipments will rise to 40 million by 2015. Despite the increase, that year multipurpose media tablets will finally surpass e-readers. Some analysts had expected this to happen as early as this year, but the e-reader market has been surprisingly resilient, in large part due to a price-cutting war between ebook-selling rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

"Of the two, the tablet market is the stronger and more sustainable opportunity," stated Stephanie Ethier, an In-Stat senior analyst. Ethier goes on to note that Barnes & Noble's Nook Color (pictured) is already blurring the lines of the e-reader/tablet device, and an expected color version of the Kindle from Amazon will do so even further.

Other observations from the report include:

  • Some 38 percent of surveyed users owned a tablet, versus 26 percent that own an e-reader.
  • The total semiconductor opportunity for tablet suppliers will reach $13.8 billion in 2015 vs. only $1.6 billion for e-readers.
  • Over 60 percent of future tablet purchasers plan to buy a tablet equipped with both Wi-Fi and 3G
  • By 2015, 15 percent of all tablet shipments will go into business markets.

The $13.8 billion in tablet chip opportunities noted above is reflected by analyses from IHS iSuppli and Gartner released this week. Both firms point to soaring demand for mobile devices — tablets, smartphones in particular — as the key drivers behind the growth in the semiconductor market.

As to that last bullet point about business users, an ABI Research report this week projects that tablet use is on the rise in the enterprise. The report says users of enterprise B2E (business-to-employee) and B2C (business-to-customer) smartphone and media tablet mobile applications are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 90 percent and exceed 830 million active users by 2016.

The In-Stat report, meanwhile, is said to break down the U.S. tablet market by operating system. There's no peep out of them now, however, as to Android's chances against the iPad, let alone the prospects for Windows tablets, HP's WebOS, MeeGo, or RIM's PlayBooks.

The 43-page In-Stat report entitled, "Tablet and e-reader market analysis: E-Readers make way for tablets as worldwide shipments take off," is available for $2,995."

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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