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Is Google Working with Asus on the Next-Gen Android 5.0 Transformer?

March 2, 2012

Asus has just said that its close partnership with Google will lead it to become the first company to come out with “Android 5.0 JellyBean”, most likely with a tablet. In my opinion this makes almost perfect sense, and I’m glad that it’s happening. Why “almost”? Because I’d also want this tablet to have a Cortex A15 chip inside it. But going by the rumors, Samsung might be the only company with a Cortex A15 chip out this year, and certainly the only one by the end of summer, because I believe we’ll see the first Cortex A15 device by then from Samsung.

It’s not impossible for Samsung to license it out, especially if Google asks them to do it, but I’d put it in the highly unlikely list. It would be very hard to believe that Samsung would allow other companies to come out with their best chip before they do, or even in the same time as they do. It’s also possible that this chip will be out by summer in Samsung’s next gen tablet, which will still be based on Android 4.0., and the license it to Asus for a mid-summer launch.

What would be the next best thing? A dual core Krait at 2.5 Ghz would certainly do the trick as well, or maybe even the quad core 1.5 ghz with the Adreno 320 one wouldn’t be so bad, but that might not come out until later this fall, and I believe Google wants this tablet out either immediately at Google I/O in June, or a few weeks later at most.

So here’s why it would make perfect sense for Google to launch this with Asus. I’ve been saying over and over again that I believe that Asus set the path forward for the evolution of both tablets and laptops with the Transformer hybrid machine. It’s simply the best of both worlds – laptop when you want to write and work on it, and higher battery life when on the road, or tablet when you want to relax in bed or on the couch, reading books or watching movies.

But even more telling is the latest rumors that Google wants Android 5.0 to be optimized even more for the tablet and laptop form factor. This means that Google is really intending Android 5.0 to be a big competitor to Windows 8. Windows has been untouchable for about 2 decades on the PC, and yet here we are actually considering the idea that iPads or Android may take away market share from Microsoft this time, and weaken their sales.

We are at a point in history when Microsoft has two big and serious competitors, with serious products that can actually take market share away from them. Of course they are not perfect yet to be able to do that for most people, but that’s not really the point. Windows 8 will have a lot of disadvantages when going to tablets as well, especially the ones on ARM, but even those on x86 tablets will still suffer from having to use legacy programs  that are not optimized for touch, so Microsoft’s transition to tablets (or doing both in the same time) will certainly not be a smooth ride for them.

The very first rumors said that some “game-changing” things were postponed to Jellybean from Ice Cream Sandwich. I believe this next Google I/O will be very exciting with the launch of Android 5.0, which should show that Android has a future not only on phones and tablets, but also on laptops, PC’s, TV’s and other devices as well (HUD glasses anyone?).