Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Motorola Planning Android Tablet Computer to Challenge IPad


Motorola Inc., maker of the Droid smartphone, is planning to release a tablet computer based on Google Inc.’s Android software to challenge Apple Inc.’s iPad, according to two people familiar with the plan.

The device will measure about 10 inches, similar in dimension to the iPad and be available in time for the holiday season, said the two people who declined to be named because the plans have not yet been announced. The device will feature television services and be marketed with Verizon Communications Inc., one of the people said.

“Most of the key vendors are throwing their hat in the ring,” said Ashok Kumar, an analyst at Rodman & Renshaw Inc., who said he has heard about the Motorola tablet from suppliers in Asia. “It’s going to get crowded very quickly.”

Hewlett-Packard Co., Lenovo Group Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. have all said they are developing tablet computers. Research In Motion Ltd. plans to have a tablet computer in stores by November, two people familiar with the BlackBerry smartphone-maker’s plans said last week.

Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Illinois, has found some success in rebuilding its handset business around Android, with the new Droid X selling out at Verizon Wireless last month. Co- Chief Executive Officer Sanjay Jha has said he is contemplating the introduction of mobile devices that are larger than smartphones.

Motorola will “participate in that over the course of the next nine months,” Jha said in a June interview, declining to elaborate on the kind of products under development.

Jennifer Erickson, a spokeswoman for Motorola, declined to comment.

Verizon Ties

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, said in June that it sold 3 million of its iPad tablet computers in the 80 days since they debuted in the U.S. The iPad’s success signals to rivals the appeal of a device that straddles the divide between smartphones and notebook computers.

Motorola’s tablet will be tied with Verizon’s FiOS pay-TV service, the Financial Times reported without citing anyone. At least one Motorola tablet will be known as the Everest, said one person familiar with the company’s plans, who did not know if the Everest was the same model to be marketed with Verizon.

Motorola and Verizon Wireless, which is jointly owned by Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc, already sell the Droid and Droid X smartphones together, and Verizon Communications uses Motorola’s set-top boxes for its digital pay-television service.

Teaming up with Verizon “absolutely” makes sense, said Kumar.