Last we heard about LG’s Android tablet, marketing vice president Chang Ma was promising that it’d be better than the iPad. Now, the tablet is reportedly on hold while LG looks for a better version of Google’s mobile operating system.
LG is squeamish about Android 2.2, also known as Froyo, an unnamed company official told Reuters, and is talking with Google to figure out the best version to run instead. Google’s director of mobile products, Hugo Barra, told TechRadar last month that Android 2.2 is “not optimized for use on tablets.” In all likelihood, LG will use Android 3.0, which is rumored to support tablets in earnest.
All of this puts Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, an Android 2.2 tablet and the de facto iPad rival of the moment, in an awkward position. Barra’s comments were embarrassing enough for Samsung, which plans to sell the Galaxy Tab through wireless carriers this holiday season. LG’s vote of no confidence in Froyo raises more red flags.
What this mainly comes down to, as Harry pointed out in his Galaxy Tab hands-on, is apps. Samsung has developed a batch of its own to make the best of a 7-inch display, but the Android Market offers only smartphones apps, enlarged to fill the screen or centered in the middle of a thick, black border. It’s not the ideal tablet experience, but it’s something.
The Galaxy Tab is a gambit. Samsung must be fully aware that soon after Google announces a tablet-friendly version of Android, the market’s going to be flooded with devices. To avoid becoming part of the pack, of which LG is now a part, Samsung is committed to firing first — optimized experience be damned.