We are about to see a flood of Android-based tablets over the next few months but if you ask NVIDIA, the company will tell you that Google is a “little behind Apple” when it comes to the tablet market.
“Now it’s going to take something absolutely great to compete against the iPad and the iPhone, as we all know,” NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said. “Because both of those devices are quite amazing devices. And so it’s going to take something that is truly remarkable to compete against it. I think Andy [Rubin] and his team, and all of our engineers here working with them, and all of our partners around the world working on it, are going to absolutely deliver.”
I don’t think this is an outlandish statement by NVIDIA, as Google itself has said Android 2.2 isn’t optimized for tablets.
Nonetheless, tablet makers are pushing ahead with Android 2.2 devices. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is the first major Apple iPad competitor with Android 2.2 and it is looking to make a splash this holiday season. It will soon be available for all four major U.S. carrier and U.S. Cellular for various pricing.
Google is baking a Gingerbread update that should land any time now but there’s no clear indication that this will make Android ready for tablets. We’re expecting some user interface improvements and other tweaks but the little, green robot may not be tablet-ready until 3.0, or Honeycomb.
The move comes as NVIDIA figures to be a major player in the tablet space with its Tegra 2 chipsets. We’ve seen some early versions out in the wild but the first major player may be the LG tablet, which is supposed to sport the Tegra 2 processor, as well as Android Honeycomb.
We should see a lot more Tegra 2 devices at the CES show in early January. I’m sure many of these will be tablets.