Every few months Google embraces another CE company. It began with HTC and G1, giving that manufacturer resources and manpower enough to produce a powerful entrant in the smartphone race. It continued with Motorola for the Droid and has cycled through to Samsung for a brief period. This bear hug essentially gives the manufacturer access to Google’s engineers and pre-release code and leaves everyone else out in the street, waiting for a software update. Now Google has set its sights on LG and, if rumor is correct, it means a Nexus S tablet is on its way from LG running a pitch perfect version of Honeycomb. It also means that anyone with a 2.x Android Tablet, the various Gal Tabs included, will be severely disappointed.
Think of this action by Google as akin to training one athlete in a race to an Olympic level and then pitting her against amateurs. The amateurs could still win, but it’s going to be tough.
Confirming what we’ve heard, Mobile-Review notes:
Producers wishing to make tablets for Android 3.0 sign a separate license agreement with Google. It also contains a number of very interesting points. In particular, the producer who created a device in OS version 2.x, cannot update it to 3.0. It is possible that this was the reason that the HTC Flyer in most versions will be released immediately with the third version of the OS.
This is also the reason many found the Xoom to be an oddly incomplete device: it was essentially a beta release waiting for its gold master to come.
What will happen to the tablet landscape when LG releases a Nexus device? Not much. However, the LG Nexus tablet will be the baseline device against which all other Android tablets will compete and even if you don’t buy it, manufacturers will understand that its in their best interests to copy it. Because Google offers its software help and expertise in these cases, the LG Nexus device will be “pure” Honeycomb while everyone else will be mucking about with whatever Google deigns to release to them over the next few months.
Google performs this bear hug for a few extremely good reasons. First, it ensures that the manufacturer doesn’t release sub par product and it acts as a training session for the company’s internal staff. It also ensures that it has a device or two that it can point to and say “Develop for that. That’s what we’re all using.” This hug is a detriment to other manufacturers, to be sure, who fumble along with random Honeycomb releases while one company becomes the beneficiary of Google’s largesse. But them’s the breaks, as Queen Elizabeth II of England would say.