Las Vegas: US telecom maker Motorola Mobility jumped into the bustling tablet computer market Wednesday with a touchscreen device powered by “Honeycomb,” the latest version of Google’s Android software.
Sanjay Jha, the chief executive of Motorola Mobility, also presented three new Android-powered touchscreen smartphones to reporters here on the eve of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
Motorola Mobility’s hotly awaited tablet computer, the “Xoom,” will be available in the first quarter of the year, Jha said.
With a 10.1-inch (25.6-centimeter) screen, the Xoom is about the same size as Apple’s iPad, which hit stores in April and has other leading technology companies around the world scrambling to catch up.
More than 100 firms are expected to unveil tablet computers at CES, which officially opens on Thursday and features more than 2,600 exhibitors of the latest gadgets.
Jha said the Xoom will be the first tablet computer to hit stores featuring Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, an operating system developed with tablets in mind instead of smartphones.
“It’s been designed ground up for the tablet, the user interface, the whole interaction,” Jha said. “It has multi-tasking capability.”
“All of these things, I think, deliver an experience which make Android 3.0 on our tablet probably in my opinion the most competitive product in the marketplace,” he said.
Jha pointed out several features on the Xoom that the iPad does not have including front- and rear-facing cameras and the ability to play Adobe Flash video software, which is banned from the Apple device.
He said the first Xooms to hit the market will feature 3G connectivity to the Internet through US carrier Verizon Wireless. A 4G Xoom will come out later in the year and 3G versions can be upgraded to 4G.
Jha also unveiled three new smartphones, the Atrix 4G, available through US telecom giant AT&T in the first quarter of the year, the Cliq 2 and the Droid Bionic.
A laptop dock for the Atrix 4G allows a user to connect the phone to a computer monitor and surf the Web using a full Firefox destop browser.
The Cliq 2, available through Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile in the United States from 19 January, features a slide-out keyboard and was described as a device offering “business-ready features and robust entertainment options.”
The Bionic Droid, which will be available in the second quarter of the year, is designed specifically for Verizon’s 4G network, which was launched in December and currently covers about one-third of the US population.
It offers mobile Internet speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G and will, for example, allow high-quality streaming of television shows.
Chief executive Jha rolled out the new products here a day after the Illinois-based Motorola split into two companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions.
Motorola Mobility will focus on mobility, the Internet and computing markets while Motorola Solutions will target next-generation communications solutions to government, public safety and enterprise customers.