There has been a lot of talk recently regarding the highly anticipated next version of Android, Honeycomb, which is designed specifically for tablets, and judging by what was shown at Google's recent preview event there is lots to look forward to. It was then with some surprise that we received word from ViewSonic that its new ViewPad 4 Android smartphone would be shipping with Android 2.4 when it launches in April.
To cut through the confusion, the team over at Pocket-lint has confirmed that the next update of Google's mobile OS is simply a small update to Android 2.3 and will still be called Gingerbread. The only addition to 2.4 is the ability to run upcoming apps coded for dual-core processors (running Android 3.0 Honeycomb) on existing single-core devices with Android 2.4 Gingerbread. This support is not present in Android 2.3 and is an important step in preparation for the arrival of Honeycomb, as well as explaining the current lack of new devices shipping with Android 2.3.
The next version of Android following Honeycomb is rumored to be called Ice Cream carrying a 3.x version number. It will be interesting to see whether Google will be splitting the Android variants with the release of Honeycomb, and whether this split will be between tablets and smartphones, or single-core and multi-core devices.
Unveiled at CES earlier this year, the ViewPad 4 is the smallest member of ViewSonic's tablet/smartphone family with a 4.1-inch WVGA capacitive touch screen. Packing a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 5MP camera with 720p HD video recording, b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, support for Flash 10.1, and HDMI-out in addition to standard ports, the ViewPad 4 is looking like a decent entry into the smartphone market.Pocket-lint]