Google to merge smartphone and tablet versions of Android

15 Feb 2011
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Next version of Android will combine Honeycomb and Gingerbread

Google has promised Android updates will arrive every six months, with the next full version bringing together the best of the smartphone and tablet editions.

The Android roadmap was laid out by Google's executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt, who was delivering a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Regarding the follow up to Gingerbread (version 2.3 of Android) and the tablet-focused Honeycomb (version 3), Schmidt said: "you can imagine the follow up will start with an I, be named after dessert, and will combine these two." That version is expected to be called "ice-cream sandwich".

Schmidt also showed off a new video-editing app called Movie Studio for Honeycomb tablets.

Schmidt said Chrome OS devices will start to appear on the market soon. "You will see sometime in the spring hardware manufacturers will start delivering," he said.

Google said at the launch of the netbook-oriented Chrome OS last year that devices would hit shelves by this summer.

Where's Larry?

One member of the MWC audience asked why Larry Page, Schmidt's replacement as CEO, wasn't delivering the speech. Schmidt said it was "part of the deal" that sees Page take over as CEO and Schmidt stick around as "executive chairman."

"Larry said, 'Eric you get to fly around more'. He’s extremely happy that I’m here," Schmidt said. "Larry’s probably asleep at the moment, but if he’s up, he’s busy working, at his desk."

Schmidt was also asked about the deal between Microsoft and Nokia, and admitted Google failed to convince the latter to use Android as its main mobile platform. “We would have loved it had [Nokia] chosen Android; the offer's still open," he said. "We certainly tried.”

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