Nvidia denies poisoning the Honeycomb

While it is looking like every Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet coming out in the first half of the year will have a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core chip, there are fears that the Green Goblin might have some unpleasant surprises for those who do not shop wisely.

Some of the tablets that are shipping come with older Tegra 2 chips on-board, based around Betelgeuse and Harmony. The newer ones are based around the Ventana platform.

Talking to Huggy Bear, and reading its developer forum, it would appear that Nvidia is not in love with these older chips any more and plans to spurn them like a rabid dog. So don’t expect new drivers for them.

While it is possible to port the chips over to Android 3.0 Honeycomb to the older gear, when the source code is released, hardware video acceleration will be off the menu.

If that is true then you will not get Honeycomb updates either.

However Andrew Edelsten, who is the Nvidia’s head of Tegra Developer Relations, said people had nothing to worry about.

The rumour appears to be based on a comment posted by Edelsten which said Nvidia is only supporting the Ventana platform for Android releases, going forward. At the moment Nvidia has released Froyo and Gingerbread OS images for Ventana and will release Honeycomb after Google has done so.

However, he issued a clarification to clear up the confusion. He said Nvidia will continue to post the Tegra kernel to kernel.org and publish the Android code to public servers. Additionally, it will continue to make its BSP (codecs, GPU driver etc) available to hardware partners.

He said that Nvidia will provides support until the hardware partner chooses to no longer support the device. It will support the Xoom on all versions of Android Motorola requests until Motorola ceases to support the Xoom. The same goes for ViewSonic with the G-Tablet, Notion Ink with the Adam, Acer with the Iconia, LG with the Optimus 2X and so on, he said.

But the problem relates to the Tegra 250 Development Kit. “Harmony” is an internal codename for the Tegra 250 Development Kit and is nothing to do with tablet reference design. Each shipping tablet is a custom design with varying hardware components and requires a custom OS image from the OEM who made the tablet, Edelsten said.

Nvidia cannot support or give out third party peripheral drivers or provide the Android 3.0 source before Google does, so the Nvidia wants to explore whether it can assist the open source ROM makers.