Tablet makers may be warm to Google’s Android operating system (OS), but the OS’ inability to scale beyond 5-inch screens works against its favor. Industry watchers, though, note this is just one factor affecting user experience and predict support for bigger screens will come in time.
Peter Borup Jakobsen, director of collaboration architecture marketing at Cisco Systems Asia-Pacific, said Google’s latest Android OS version, Froyo, currently only supports screen resolutions of up to 854×480 pixels but it is only a matter of time before the OS will “address larger tablet devices”.
This development, he explained in an e-mail to ZDNet Asia, could be achieved via internal software enhancements by Google or through partnership with the larger Open Handset Alliance. The Alliance is a group of 76 technology and mobile companies that have come together to accelerate mobile innovation and offer consumers a richer, less expensive and better mobile experience through the Android platform, according to its Web site.
Cisco announced late June it will be introducing an Android-based tablet device called the Cius, which will target the enterprise space.
More after the break.
Jakobsen added that Cisco’s software developer kit (SDK) for the Cius, due to be released “this fall”, will address the issue of screen optimization, too.
Jakobsen’s optimism for Android OS is reiterated by Bo H. Choi, vice president and head of mobile communications marketing at LG Electronics Asia. In an e-mail, he noted that while Froyo is limited to the stated screen resolution, the company expects newer versions of the Android OS to support higher resolutions.
He pointed out that screen size is but one aspect of the device’s usability, and the Android-based tablet that the South Korean electronics giant is planning to introduce will aim to include “innovations that enhance the overall user experience”.
Rival PC makers Samsung and AsusTek Computer, both of which earlier announced intentions to bring their Android-based tablets to market, declined comment for the story.
A Google spokesperson declined to address ZDNet Asia’s queries about Android’s screen limitations, but noted in an e-mail that the OS is a free, open source mobile platform designed to “scale downward to feature phones and upward to mobile Internet and netbook-style devices”.
“Based on online speculation”, it would seem that the upcoming Android update, Gingerbread, is being designed to cope better with bigger-sized mobile devices, she added. However, she stressed that the company was not ready to comment on Gingerbread and readers should regard the information as rumors until the search giant makes an official statement.
Speculation has been rife that Gingerbread will scale up to an improved screen resolution of 1280×760 pixels and support displays “4 inches and higher”. Other features highlighted include recommended hardware requirements of “1 gigahertz (GHz) CPU and 512MB of RAM, according to a blog post by tech Web site Unwired View.
However, Dan Morrill, open source and compatibility tech lead for Google Android, later took aim at the reports. “I love it when people just make stuff up and report it as news”, he tweeted on Jul. 2. Subsequently, Morrill added, again on Twitter, that “rumors are not official announcements”.