Qualcomm announces Snapdragon S4 Liquid mobile development platform tablet on The Engadget Show, we go hands-on (video)

At its investor conference earlier today, Qualcomm unveiled a variety of new Snapdragon processors to join its recently-announced MSM8960 S4 chip. But we got an exclusive first look at the 8960 in New York City this evening, in the form of a mobile development platform (MDP) tablet demo during The Engadget Show. The tablet the company had on hand isn't much to look at -- it's not the slimmest we've seen, and it feels a bit clunkier than models destined for consumers -- but its specs, which include an on-die LTE modem (the first of its kind -- we were seeing download speeds of around 45 Mbps), dual 1080p cameras (and another two for 3D), seven microphones, a spattering of sensors and a handful of connectors make this the ultimate platform for Android developers. Not convinced? Join us past the break for a hands-on walkthrough with Raj Talluri, Qualcomm's VP of Product Management, and stay turned for his segment from The Engadget Show.%Gallery-139648%

The Snapdragon S4 MDP tablet is one of the first we've seen from Qualcomm that's sleek enough to function as a primary tablet, perhaps even for power-hungry consumers. It won't be cheap, though pricing has yet to be announced, but for developers that need a comprehensive platform for testing their Android apps, there's no question that this is an excellent option.

The tablet packs a 10.1-inch 1366 x 768 (16:9) 10-finger capacitive multitouch display, with a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera with flash and front-facing 2 megapixel camera (both capable of 1080p30 video capture), along with another pair of rear-facing side-by-side cams, specifically designed for shooting 3D. On the audio front, you'll find seven microphones and surround sound stereo speakers, which we hear sound great for everything from video chat to movie viewing. It's currently running Gingerbread, but expect Ice Cream Sandwich in early 2012, with support for Windows 8 to come after that.

As far as sensors go, there are dual 3D accelerometers, a three-axis gyro, compass, ambient light and proximity, a temperature and pressure sensor and a fingerprint reader. Dual independently-controlled linear vibrator motors provide haptic feedback. Memory includes 2GB of 400MHz LPDDR2, 32GB eMMC, and 1MB of SPI NOR flash. There's also a removable 5200 mAh lithium ion battery, which should provide many hours of power when paired with the efficient S4.

When it comes to controls, this is far from a single-button affair -- there's a combo volume / zoom rocker, a power button, screen rotation lock, home button and recessed reset button. External connectors include a docking station port, micro USB with MHL, a 3.5mm audio jack with ANC contacts, a DC-in charger port and a microSD slot. There's also a full-size SIM slot and touch panel programming connector under the battery door, along with a Sensor Fusion expansion connector. The docking station adds a pair of full-size USB connections, HDMI, Ethernet, JTAG, QEPM, UART and another DC-in.

Ready to start coding? Devs will need to wait until the first half of 2012 before getting their hands on Qualcomm's latest S4 MDP tablet, but if today's demo is any indication, it'll be worth the wait.