Motorola is currently working on at least two new Android tablets to launch on the Verizon 4G network before the end of the year, according to information obtained by CNET. the devices would be the first two tablets from Motorola since it launched its flagship slate, the Xoom, in February.
Dubbed the “Xyboard,” the new tablet will come in both 8- and 10-inch versions, and will be stamped with Verizon’s famed “Droid” branding.
CNET got its hands on both devices, and was able to take a peek under the hood. both pack dual-core, 1.2GHz processors (though it’s unclear if they’re Nvidia Tegra chips) backed by 1GB of RAM. As with the majority of recent tablet releases, they sport both front- and back-facing cameras, and the screens are shielded with Corning Gorilla Glass.
The new tablets seem to have borrowed a number of significant design cues from Motorola’s recently launched Razr smartphone, a drastically updated version of one of the company’s most iconic and successful brands. instead of the soft, rounded-off corners of the original Xoom, the Xyboard incorporates slanted corners akin to the current Razr’s look.
Motorola needs to learn from its past mistakes in the tablet market. the original Xoom was the first tablet to launch with Android 3.0, aka Honeycomb, the first Android version built specifically for tablet deployment. Motorola pushed the Xoom hard, complete with a Superbowl TV spot and a massive marketing campaign. unfortunately, the first Xoom tablets were priced too high for consumers, with starting prices of $600 and $800 for Wi-Fi and 3G versions, respectively.
Add to that a rough first-version release of Android 3.0, and a release date very close to that of the iPad 2, and Motorola was faced with significant consumer indifference. the company sold approximately 440,000 Xooms in the first three months of the product’s release. Apple, by comparison, sold close to 10 million iPad 2 tablets over that same period.
The strategy this time, according to CNET, is to market the 10-inch version to the business crowd (complete with added stylus), while pitching the 8-inch tablet as more of a media-consumption device.
Thus far, neither Verizon nor Motorola will acknowledge CNET’s scoop. but when the companies finally launch the device, we’ll see if Moto’s second shot at a slate can give the iPad a run for its money.
Check out CNET for pictures of the new hardware.