Rumor: HTC launching Android 3.0 tablet in Q1 2011

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HTC is readying to release an Android tablet, possibly running Android 3.0 (codenamed Gingerbread) in Q1 2011, according to Taiwanese component makers quoted by DigiTimes. Unfortunately, the sources are mum about potential hardware, so there are no details on the exact size or functionality of the new HTC device. We'd expect it to include 3G support though, so that HTC and Google can leverage their carrier relationships.

The fact that it's HTC that Google is entrusting is no surprise, given that the mobile company has been shifting towards Android and away from Windows Mobile and that it developed the search giant's original Nexus One. This particular tablet, however, will be different than the one rumored to be coming to Verizon on November 26. The Verizon tablet, also built by HTC, is supposed to be running Google Chrome OS. Remember that we're juggling two rumors here, not to mention assuming that Google's mobile strategy of two separate mobile operating systems hasn't changed recently.

HTC wouldn't be the first company to release Android-powered tablets: Samsung has its Galaxy Tab, and Motorola and Dell have their own Android tablets, all coming before the end of the year. HTC's rumored device is different because it would be running Android 3.0, which is a big deal given that the next big version of Android is widely believed to be the first with support for tablet-sized displays, although the search giant has yet to confirm that. A Google executive did, however, say last week that the current Android 2.2 (codename Froyo) is "not optimized for use on tablets."


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