Viewsonic has exclusively told Pocket-lint that its recently announced ViewPad 4 smartphone will be packing Android 2.4 when it launches in April. And the update will produce an OS that has the ability to work with Honeycomb apps.

The news, aside from confirming the new handset’s release date, confirms that Android’s 2.4 OS will be out earlier than we previously expected.

And there’s a reason for that.

According to our source, the release date of version 2.4 has been brought forward to ensure that dual-core apps designed for Honeycomb (v3.0) will be able to work with single-core devices running v2.4.

Currently, our man on the inside says that’s not possible with version 2.3 (Gingerbread) hence the need to push to the next iteration and version number, but not change the name. It's most likely to be one of the main reasons we’ve yet to see any major manufacturer gunning to get Android 2.3 handsets out there.

“It’s to ensure compatibility with dual-core apps,” our agent explains before adding that “it will still be called Gingerbread.”

Wait, what?

That’s right, in a move that shows there is some kind of cover-up of the mistake of the lack of Android 2.3 devices on the market (aside from the Nexus S) 2.4 will still be called Gingerbread, as the only new feature it adds will be this ability to support dual-core apps on a single-core device.  

This chimes with sources talking to Phandroid on Friday that stated:

"We’ve just gotten word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code - being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) - that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones."

However, we now understand that not to be Ice Cream. Our source at Viewsonic tells us that he believes Ice Cream to be 3.1, making us believe that Google intends to spilt the 2+ and 3+ OS variants going forward.

Certainly, Viewsonic is excited:

“This latest update to the ViewSonic Europe ViewPad range will position the device as one of the first multi-media handsets to be supported by Google’s new operating system,” our man exclusively told us.

Aside from Android 2.4, the ViewPad 4 will pack flash 10.1, have HD 720p video recording, playback, upload, and mini-HDMI 720p display output. There’s a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, Bluetooth 2.1 and 802.11 b/g/n wireless connectivity. You’ll also get a 4.1-inch screen for your trouble.

Wise move for Google, or a massive slip-up? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

Viewsonic ViewPad 4 hands-on