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Nvidia CEO: New Android tablets are vast improvement

During earnings call, Jen-Hsun Huang says his concerns over the first generation of Android tablets have been mostly addressed with Google's Android 3.1.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be the first to get the Android Honeycomb 3.1 update.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be the first to get the Android Honeycomb 3.1 update. Josh Miller/CNET

Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang says the second round of Android tablets are far better than the first generation of devices, which were met with complaints about pricing and performance.

During a conference call to discuss his company's quarterly earnings yesterday, Huang said concerns over the first generation of Android tablets, many of which did not have an operating system designed for tablets, have been "largely addressed."

"The first generation of tablets initially came out from our carriers and with 3G, and I think that is recognized that the vast majority of tablet users are actually buying it from retail and Wi-Fi only," he said. "And without 3G, obviously, the tablets would be much more affordable. So I think that that's one of the factors that affected the initial reviews of the early waves of tablets, but those concerns have been largely addressed at this point."

Last June, Huang wasn't entirely convinced the first wave of Android tablets were ready for prime time.

"You can't just do another product," he told CNET blogger Brooke Crothers. "Look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It's a tablet that uses a phone operating system on a large display. A tablet is not a large phone."

Almost a year later, Huang said he's pleased that the latest round of tablets are more affordable, more widely available in retail stores, and are beginning to differentiate themselves from other tablets.

"And you're also starting to see a lot of differentiated platforms from devices that are likely ASUSTeK Transformer, where it's a tablet in one configuration, it has a detachable keyboard in another configuration. And so those kind of devices are getting a lot of interest and available at computer channels all over the world," Huang said. "We're going to expect another wave of tablets that are coming out to the marketplace now. Ones that are even thinner and even lighter than the best offerings from any place, any supplier in the world and those devices are just in the process of ramping" up, he said.

Huang also said Nvidia is working with the latest version of Android, Honeycomb 3.1, which he called "exciting."