CES 2011: Motorola Launches Xoom Tablet as Google Takes on iPad

Motorola finally unveiled its highly anticipated tablet, the Motorola Xoom, a 10.1-inch touchscreen tablet PC with the latest version of Google’s Android mobile software on board, formerly called Honeycomb.

Motorola's dual-core Tegra 2 Xoom tablet runs Android 3.0, the first version specifally designed for tablets. Photo: Motorola

Motorola unveiled the highly anticipated Xoom tablet running the new operating system – known as “Honeycomb” – that Google has designed for touch-screen tablets at CES 2011 in Las Vegas. Google worked with Motorola and chip maker Nvidia on the launch of Android 3.0 on a tablet device.

Android 3.0 is designed for tablets, not smartphones as Android was originally designed for. The Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core processor on board can deliver up to 2GHz of power, since each core runs at 1GHz, according to a joint news release from Motorola and Verizon. The tablet will be available for Verizon users.

Motorola’s Xoom tablet features a 10.1-inch touch sensitive display supporting 1280×800 pixel resolution and a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra T20 SoC processor with 1GB DDR2 RAM.

The Motorola Xoom will launch as a 3G/Wi-Fi device by the end of March, with an upgrade to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) in the second quarter, Motorola said. Starting in the second quarter, the Xoom will be available as a 4G LTE/ Wi-Fi device.

The tablet has onboard 32GB memory and one can add up to 32GB microSD memory card for increasing the storage. This tablet has 5 megapixel camera capable of recording 720p HD, LED Flash light and 2 megapixel camera in the front.

Although full details of Honeycomb were not revealed during the unveiling at 2011 CES in Las Vegas, it features a new maps programme that offers a full 3D look at major cities. It also offers an email service that exploits the gadget’s large tablet screen.

Motorola's Xoom tablet features a 10.1-inch touch sensitive display supporting 1280x800 pixel resolution and a dual-core 1GHz Nvidia Tegra T20 SoC processor with 1GB DDR2 RAM. Photo: Motorola

Google has previously allowed Samsung to make a smaller, 7-inch tablet, but the device used the same operating system as Google phones.

Shawn DuBravak, chief economist at the American Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), said he expected more than 100 new tablet computers to be launched at CES.

He added that 2011 would be ‘the year of the tablet,’ but that not all the products unveiled at the show would actually make it to market. Mr Dubravac said a number of new products were struggling to provide users an businesses with specific reasons to buy them.

Although Apple makes all its software and hardware, Google has taken an “open source” approach by developing an operating system called which it allows manufacturers to put on their own devices – like the Motorola Xoom.

The Xoom measures 249.1 millimeters by 167.8mm and is 12.9mm thick. By way of comparison, the iPad is 13.4mm thick and the Samsung Galaxy Tab is 11.98mm thick. At 730 grams, the Xoom weighs the same as the iPad with 3G and Wi-Fi.

However, Motorola wasn’t the first company to announce an Android tablet with Honeycomb at 2011 CES. Asustek Computer on Tuesday revealed the Eee Pad Slider.

The Slider sports a 10.1-inch touchscreen with a keypad that slides out, similar to mobile phones with sliding keyboards, for laptop-like typing. The device also boasts an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor for strong graphics performance and has dual cameras on board.

The Motorola Xoom will launch as a 3G/Wi-Fi device by the end of March, with an upgrade to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) in the second quarter, Motorola said. Photo: Motorola

According to some sources, Motorola has placed orders for about 700,000-800,000 Xoom tablets with 4 color options for the first quarter of this year. The Xoom tablet orders from Motorola are expected to go above one million this year.

According to DigiTimes, notebook chassis makers, such as Catcher Technology and Foxconn Techonology along with handset chassis makers such Taiwan Chi Cheng and Silitech Technology would benefit from the Xoom Tablet orders.

Market researcher Ovum expects Android and Apple’s iOS to take about 71% of the total market for tablets and other mobile Internet devices by 2015, while the also-rans – the BlackBerry tablet OS, Hewlett-Packard’s WebOS, Intel’s and Nokia’s MeeGo, and Microsoft Windows – make up the rest.

Motorola Xoom tablet will go on sale in the first quarter of this year in the U.S. and follow shortly afterwards in UK. Prices have not yet been disclosed. [via The Telegraph (UK), Tech Tree and Computer World]

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