Andy Rubin hints at Nokia relationship, shows Motorola tablet

December 7, 2010, 6:14 AM UTC

At this evening’s AllThingsD conference, Google’s Andy Rubin let a few surprises out of the bag.

There weren’t many new items from Google (GOOG) VP Andy Rubin’s talk at the AllThingsD conference, but some were notable.  Here is what I dug out:

On Nokia (NOK) considering using Android:  They’ve talked! (7:00 into the video below):

Rubin: The company has new leadership, referring to CEO Stephen Elop. They are evaluating lots of alternatives. I’m open-minded and a big proponent of Android.

Rubin again declines to talk about any meetings he may have had.

While he’s not nailing Nokia down, Rubin is saying that he and Elop are discussing running Android on Nokia phones. Nokia, which builds solid hardware but is sputtering between its Symbian and Meego operating systems, could do worse than offering an Android option.  Hackers are already putting Android on Nokia phones.

The shocker of the night was when Andy Rubin broke out his prototype Motorola (MOT) tablet.  To my eyes, it looked to be about 7 inches diagonal, maybe bigger, and it didn’t have any buttons.  It had a landscape front side camera and a totally new OS. According to Rubin, it was running Android 3.0 Honeycomb.

Andy Rubin holding Motorola Tablet via Engadget

He then proceeded to demonstrate a new version of Google Maps that uses vectors instead of bitmap tiles to zoom and scroll (below):

(Update: Video embedded below)

[vodpod id=Video.5070403&w=425&h=350&]

If you look close enough, you can see some of the new Honeycomb user interface.

One other interesting note: Like Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, Rubin likened tablets to cars (though Jobs described them as a mass market product, as opposed to the special needs market of trucks) which he said are easy to learn how to drive…if they are done right.  If you can learn how to drive one car, you can drive any car in the world.