During an Intel session on how Android 3.2 works on its Red Ridge reference design tablet, a representative dropped word that Android tablets based on an x86 processor should be available in the first quarter of 2012. Presumably, the x86 processor in question here will be Medfield, which is what the Red Ridge reference prototype is running. It's designed to help manufacturers design their own tablets based on Medfield, so Intel packed it full of features it hopes will make it to retail models: WiFi, WiDi (Wireless Display mirroring), a 1280 x 800 LCD, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and support for 3G.

On the Android front, it was apparently Intel that did most of the work to customize Honeycomb 3.2 for x86. Ice Cream Sandwich will likely be a joint effort, as Google has already committed to ensure future versions of Android will include optimizations for x86. For developers, the Native Development Kit for x86 processors is available today and Intel hopes to release an emulator in Q4 of this year. Intel promises "ongoing programs to validate the top Dalvik and NDK apps on Intel Atom processor-based platforms to make sure they run well." That last bit is probably the best sign yet that getting Android and its apps running well on Intel chips isn't going to be a completely smooth and painless experience.