Andy Rubin, Google’s Android honcho, flashed an Nvidia-powered tablet prototype from Motorola that runs the upcoming mobile operating system revision dubbed "Honeycomb," the first Android iteration specifically optimized for tablets.

Besides showing off Google’s Nexus S smartphone, the executive gave a short presentation on the future of tablets on Monday at this week’s D: Dive Into Mobile Conference in Los Angeles, California. During an on-stage interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, Rubin pulled out a prototype tablet from Motorola powered by Android 3.0 code-named "Honeycomb." 

When specifically asked whether this was the Android version Google promised would be optimized for tablets or just a regular Android iteration that works on tablets without hiccups, Rubin responded "It’s a bit of both." According to Rubin, Android 3.0 is due "sometime next year," meaning Apple’s iPad gets to enjoy market dominance for a few more months until other vendors swarm the market with next-gen tablets built around Honeycomb.

The latest Android-driven smartphones currently run version 2.2 of the software. Google-branded Nexus S smartphone, announced yesterday and built by Samsung, will serve as a showcase device for Android 2.3 codenamed "Gingerbread." That release, however, won’t be optimized for tablet performance like Android 3.0.

As for Motorola’s prototype tablet, Rubin said it’s built around the Nvidia system-on-a-chip and features a dual core 3D processor. He also confirmed the existence of video chat on the device.

Source: All Things D