Update: Motorola launches Xoom tablet with Android 3.0

Motorola will ship the first Android Honeycomb tablet, in March on Verizon

At the International Consumer Electronics Show, Motorola finally unveiled its highly anticipated tablet, the Xoom, which features a 10.1-inch touchscreen and runs Version 3.0 of Google's Android mobile operating system, formerly code-named Honeycomb.

Motorola Xoom
Motorola's Xoom tablet is based on a dual-core Tegra 2 processor and runs Android 3.0, the first version of Google's operating system specifically designed for tablets.

Google worked with Motorola and chip maker Nvidia on the launch of Android 3.0 on a tablet device. Android 3.0 is built specifically for tablets, not smartphones as the operating system was originally designed for.

The Xoom is equipped with Nvidia's Tegra 2 dual-core processor, which can deliver up to 2 GHz of power, since each core runs at 1 GHz, according to a joint news release from Motorola and Verizon. The tablet will be available through Verizon.

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

Motorola wasn't the first company to announce a Honeycomb-based tablet at CES. Asustek Computer on Tuesday revealed the Eee Pad Slider. The Slider sports a 10.1-inch touchscreen with a keypad that slides out for laptop-like typing. The device also boasts an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor for strong graphics performance and has dual cameras.

CES officially opens on Thursday, and as many as 100 new tablets will be on display.

Motorola will have the first Android Honeycomb tablet on the market. Asustek's, for example, won't be out until May, the company said.

Motorola's Xoom hosts a number of upgraded specifications that could see the device carry a hefty price tag. Motorola did not announce pricing.

It has two digital cameras on board: A front-facing 2.0-megapixel camera acts as a webcam for video chat, and a 5.0-megapixel camera on back is for photos and 720p high-definition video capture.

The touchscreen has a resolution of 1280-by-800 pixels, compared with the iPad's 1024 by 768 and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab, at 1024 by 600.

Users will be able to watch 1080p HD video on the Xoom and output HD video to other devices via an HDMI slot. Adobe's Flash Player is also on board the Xoom, making it good for viewing Web video.

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 Galaxy Tab is 11.98mm thick. At 730 grams, the Xoom weighs the same as the iPad with 3G and Wi-Fi.

Google's Android software has caught up quickly with Apple's iOS, which runs on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

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.

The Xoom is designed to work with Google services, including the new 5.0 version of Google Maps with 3D interaction, as well as with the 3 million Google eBooks and thousands of apps on Android Market. The Xoom includes a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, and accelerometer, as well as adaptive lighting for different apps.

The tablet has 32GB of storage on board and can be upgraded via an SD card slot. It has 1GB of DDR2 DRAM.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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