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Nvidia: 'old' tablet development kit won't get Android 3.0

No Honeycomb for Harmony

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Anyone who owns an Nvidia-based media tablet and is hoping to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb on it at some point in the future may yet be disappointed, it seems.

Nvidia has revealed it will "only support the Ventana platform for android releases going forward", said Andrew Edelsten of Nvidia's Tegra Developer Relations team.

Past Tegra development platforms include Betelgeuse and Harmony, and a number of early Tegra 2-equipped products, such as the Advent Vega, the Toshiba Folio 100 and the Viewsonic ViewPad 7, are believed to be largely based on these platforms.

Ventana is Nvidia's current Tegra 2 development platform. It's essentially a 10.1in tablet that's intended to smooth the way for Android developers looking to release software for the increasing number of Tegra 2 tablets.

"At the moment, we have released Froyo and Gingerbread OS images for Ventana and will release Honeycomb after Google has done so," added Edelsten on Nvidia's developer forums.

In short, Nvidia won't be supporting Honeycomb on Betelgeuse and Harmony. By implication, tablet owners fear, they won't get Honeycomb on their Betelgeuse- or Harmony-derived gadgets.

Nvidia may have its hands tied. Google is insisting on more of a say in Android licensees' Honeycomb offerings than it did with previous OS releases, the better to ensure what it believes to be a good user experience. Google's move may well lie behind Nvidia's decision to keep Honeycomb off the older development platforms.

It's also worth noting that Betelgeuse, Harmony and even Ventana are just that: development platforms, not hardware templates for tablet sellers.

Last year, Nvidia Developer Technology Engineer David Chait told coders: "Third-party boards are usually not identical to any internal dev kits, due to layout, parts/components, etc." Different Ram and Flash chips, different Wi-Fi adaptors and so forth, mean a version of Android for a Tegra development system will not necessarily be identical to a finished product bought in the high street.

Still, that's no consolation for anyone who bought a low-cost Android 2.2 or 2.3 tablet in the hope it might one day be upgradable to Honeycomb. Many of the devices are locally branded tablets from from Asian manufacturers, and how many of them will ensure Honeycomb support without Google's say-so or Nvidia's aid? ®

Thanks to reader Steven Smith for the tip

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