Asus: If Honeycomb is available we will be shipping with it

Asus has clarified to Pocket-lint comments from UK marketing manager John Swatton about what Android version its tablets will launch with later in the year.

We’ve got in touch with Swatton to see what he really said about the fact that Asus CES tablets may not be Honeycomb after all and it’s rather different to what The Inquirer has lead with.

“If Honeycomb is available we will be shipping with Honeycomb,” Swatton has confirmed to Pocket-lint.

Reconfirming Asus boss Jonney Shih's comments at CES in Las Vegas last week, Swatton says that Asus is doing all that it can to ship the with the Asus Eee Pad Slider and the Asus Eee Pad Transformer with the latest Android operating system.

“When our tablets launch, they will launch with the latest version of Android whatever that is.”

While head office are clearly gunning for Honeycomb, Swatton is erring on the side of caution as to "not mislead my customers," he tells Pocket-lint.

While that could ultimately mean the Eee Pad Transformer, which is due to go on sale in the UK sometime in Q2 will ship with Gingerbread (Android 2.3), that's highly unlikely.

Google has yet to officially announce when Honeycomb (Android 3.0) will be released, however told Pocket-lint on Thursday 13 January that more announcements will be made in the “next couple of weeks.”

That implies that Google is on track to have a Q1 release of Honeycomb in time for manufacturers to launch products in Q2. After all why demo it at CES and then wait for over half a year to launch the new OS (remember Ice Cream or Ice Cream Sandwich is due June/July).

It's also worth point out that Motorola is gunning for a Q2 launch for its own Honeycomb powered tablet as well. The Motorola Xoom was the only tablet at CES previewed with a rolling video of what Honeycomb will look like. 

If that is the case, then the Asus tablets; the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and the Asus Eee Pad Slider, when they launch in Q2 and Q3 respectively, will be be almost certainly to be Honeycomb powered.

We will keep you posted.