Don’t Count Out a Motorola Tablet PC, Even If It Arrives in 2011

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When it comes to Android tablet PCs, Droid smartphone maker Motorola will be forfeiting early mover advantage to Samsung and other manufacturers, if remarks made by company co-CEO Sanjay Jha hold true.

“We want to make sure that any tablet that we deliver is competitive in the marketplace, and I think all of us will make sure that we will only deliver that when that occurs,” Jha reportedly said at an investors’ conference. “Hopefully, that’s early next year.”

But if early mover advantage is important, it certainly isn’t everything in the mobile space, if recent history in the smartphone market is any kind of a useful guide.Motorola

With manufacturers still searching for a recipe to success in Android tablets, and 4G networks from Verizon and AT&T not anticipated until next year, isn’t it too early to count Motorola out in the tablet space?

While Motorola’s original Droid did turn into the first potential “iPhone killer,” the Droid wasn’t the first Android phone to go to market, an honor owned instead by T-Mobile’s HTC-manufactured G1.

The Droid quickly took over the Android phone limelight, however, based on its high quality engineering, appealing design, and availability on the larger, more robust, and more 3G-capable Verizon Wireless network.

Will Motorola tablet include Android 2.2 and location-based push?

The sometimes maligned Sanjay Jha probably deserves s lot of credit for the Droid and Motorola’s successor Android-enabled smartphones.
 
An engineering PhD. with 14 years of experience at Qualcomm behind him, Jha took over the co-helm at Motorola following a company reorganization back in 2008 spurred in large part by Motorola’s ongoing failure to find a successor to its earlier megahit, the RAZR feature phone.

Beyond his role as Motorola’s co-CEO, Jha is now CEO of Motorola Mobility, a unit combining Motorola’s Mobile Devices and Home businesses. Motorola plans to spin out Motorola Mobility into a separate company led by Jha early next year, a timeframe which happens to coincide with Jha’s just expressed target date for a Motorola tablet.

Motorola announced last week that newly acquired Aloqa, a maker of location-based software, will also get folded into Motorola Mobility. Motorola plans to integrate Aloqa’s location-aware push technology into its own MotoBLUR smartphone user interface (UI). It wouldn’t be at all surprising if the push technology also turns up in a Motorola tablet.
 
Also at the investor’s conference, Jha reportedly noted that Google doesn’t believe the current edition of Android – 2.2 or Froyo – is tablet-ready. This raises the question of whether a Motorola tablet would even use Android 2.2.

Meanwhile, Samsung has announced plans to deliver its Android 2.2-based Galaxy Tab device by the end of this year. Dell is already selling the five-inch Streak table and recently announced plans to market a seven-inch tablet. Tablets from some other manufacturers – including maybe Acer and LG – also might be released in time for the holiday shopping season.

Will Motorola pursue an iPad-like 9-inch form factor?

Still, it’s possible that Motorola will be the first to come up with a real iPad killer, if the delay only means that Motorola wants to take the time to really do things right.

Samsung Galaxy TabAlthough the 7-inch Galaxy Tab is grabbing lots of attention now, Samsung’s tablet hasn’t actually been released by any carrier in the world yet. The tablet showed some flaws when I tried it out during Samsung’s launch event in New York City last week.

For one thing, the GPS on the European Union (EU) edition I used wouldn’t work whatsoever. An onboard accelerator functioned only sporadically.

At the same time, although Apple has already sold something like zillions of 9-inch iPads, the mass popularity of a 7-inch tablet hasn’t yet been proven anywhere

In one drawback, for instance, although the Galaxy Tab displays most Android apps in full-screen mode, others appear in shrunken-down form, framed and centered on the screen.

Might Motorola be eyeing a nine-inch device to compete head-to-head with the iPad? Maybe we’ll find out closer to 2011.

Will a Motorola tablet work on 4G LTE wireless?

Another challenge for Motorola is the announced available of the Galaxy Tab not just through Verizon but all four major wireless US carriers by the close of 2010.

Through its long-standing connections in the telecommunications world, Samsung managed to pull off the same kinds of deals for the Galaxy S smartphone unveiled earlier this summer.

Yet while Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all committed to start selling the Galaxy Tab in 2010, none of them has yet announced plans to enable the Tab for their cellular networks – 3G, 4G, or otherwise. For all anyone knows at this point, the first US release of the Galaxy Tab will be the WiFi-only unit Samsung announced in New York.

If Motorola does release its tablet in 2011, the timing could be just right to coincide with the launch of the first 4G LTE services from Verizon, AT&T, or both of those two US wireless giants.

As rumor has it, Motorola’s planned tablet PC is named Evergreen. On the other hand, Jha didn’t actually promise a tablet from Motorola at all, let alone a release date of early 2011.

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