Will Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich Be Slated for 7-Inch IdeaPad Tablet?

A new photo has emerged of a 7-inch IdeaPad tablet from Lenovo revealing the device’s front and rear sides along with some specs for the yet to be announced tablet. The 7-inch model was recently seen passing through the FCC for U.S. regulatory approval, but now the new images raise concerns about what operating system the model will be released with.

As the smaller sibling to Lenovo’s recent U.S. release of its ThinkPad and IdeaPad K1 slates, this seven-inch model will come with Android hardware navigation buttons. If you recall, with Android 3.x Honeycomb, Google says that Android navigation buttons are not required as they are built into the OS to be rendered on the display itself. This allows the buttons to follow the orientation of the display so that these buttons will always be in the correct position and orientation no matter which way the user rotates the slate. With pre-Honeycomb slates, like those running on Android 2.2 Froyo (Galaxy Tab 7-inch) and Android 2.3 Gingerbread (HTC Flyer), hardware buttons were the norm as these tablets ran on scaled up smartphone editions of the Android operating system. However, with Honeycomb, and even on Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the platform that begins to merge tablet and smartphone OSes, Google will be moving to a button-less design.

In addition to the troublesome inclusion of hardware buttons, other specs listed by Engadget includes a Texas Instruments OMAP CPU, 7-inch 1024 X 600 display, Broadcom GPS chipset, 3G with SIM card slot, front-facing and rear-facing cameras, and micro SD card slot.

It’s unclear if this tablet will be released with Gingerbread, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, which is optimized for the seven-inch tablets, or Ice Cream Sandwich.

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