The minimum annual tax is just that--once per year no matter how many of those days you were in business. If you incorporate in January 2011, you would owe $800 for the full year of 2011, which would be due April 15th. If you incorporated towards the end of 2010, you would owe $800 for doing business in 2010, and another $800 for 2011 come April 15th.
Actually, if you incorporate anytime in 2011, you will not be subject to the $800 minimum franchise tax for 2011 since that is your first taxable year. If you are still doing business in 2012, then you need to pay at least the $800 minimum by 4/15/2012, and then there is no minimum payment until 4/15/2013.
Incorrect, there is no fee waiver for the first taxable year.
Refer to form 3556 "Limited Liability Company Filing Information" available here: http://www.ftb.ca.gov/businesses/index.shtml#Filing under LLCs (PDF).
LLCs (classified as disregarded entiries or partnerships) are generally required to use the calendar year as their taxable year.
Thus the only exceptions to the fee are filing a Short Form Cancellation (dissolving the LLC), which must be done within 12 months of incorporation, or a tax year of 15 days of less, i.e. incorporating from Dec 16-31st.