It seems like every time there’s a new mobile OS upgrade on the way, rumors begin to circulate about what devices are going to be left behind. Look no further than Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which supposedly had a minimum required CPU speed, only to be revealed later as a recommendation, not a hard limit. The latest victm to fall into this cycle is the upcoming Honeycomb Android release, supposedly needing a dual-core processor.
This claim comes from Korean hardware manufacturer Enspert, where the managing director asserts that not only will Android 2.4 need a dual-core CPU, but that those cores need to be of a ARM Cortex A9 design. We expected Honeycomb to favor systems with a bit more processing power than usual, especially with the higher resolutions it’s designed to support, but this seems like it might be setting the bar a little too high.
To be fair, with Honeycomb as Google’s Android solution for tablets, there could be enough leeway when it comes to pricing that this kind of high-end hardware configuration could become the norm. Certainly, the last thing Google needs as the next generation of Android tablets emerge are unfavorable comparisons to the iPad. In addition to the needed CPU, Enspert also says that Honeycomb hardware may need to have a minimum resolution of 720p, making sure it delivers graphically as well as on the raw performance side.
Before you become convinced that your current hardware will never run Honeycomb, Phandroid claims to have an anonymous Google source who says that while there may be high-tier Honeycomb requirements like these, there will also be a “light” version of the operating system for single-core, lower resolution hardware.
As to how all these upcoming flavors will be named and numbered, your guess is as good as ours. While we thought Honeycomb would be 3.0, now it’s looking like 2.4. Maybe the Android that Enspert is talking about is what we know as 3.0, and 2.4 is the scaled-down Honeycomb which Phandroid mentioned. Let’s hope that some of the new gear being shown off at the CES helps to clear up this Android evolution conundrum.