Huawei MediaPad

Later this year Google is expected to launch the first version of the Android operating system designed to run on both phones and tablets. But it looks like the company has at least one more tablet-only version of Android to launch before then.

Today Huawei introduced a new 7 inch tablet called the MediaPad which will ship with Google Android 3.2. That’s a version number we haven’t seen before, but Huawei says it’s nearly identical to the Android 3.1 operating system which is all the rage with 10 inch tablets these days. The key difference is that graphics will be optimized for the different screen size.

The sleuths at This is My Next dug up a few more details and discovered that Android 3.2 isn’t just for 7 inch tablets though. It’s designed to support a range of screen sizes. It will also add support for Qualcomm processors. All officially sanctioned Android 3.x tablets on the market at the moment have 10 inch screens and NVIDIA Tegra processors.

Right now there’s technically nothing preventing anyone from installing Android 3.1 on a device with a different processor type. We’ve seen all sorts of devices hacked to run the operating system, after all. But Google worked closely with NVIDIA on the first version of Android 3.x Honeycomb to ensure support for features such as hardware acceleration for 3D graphics.

According to TIMN, a software update will roll out for 10 inch tablets soon and we can expect to see Android 3.2 on upcoming 7 inch tablets such as the Huawei MediaPad, Asus Eee Pad MeMo, and ViewSonic ViewPad 7x soon.

The move makes sense as a precursor to Ice Cream Sandwich. After all, one of the key things Google will have to do to make sure Android works equally well on phones and tablets is to ensure support for a variety of screen sizes and processor types.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...