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Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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MOTO CEO: Android Tablet Due Early 2011

Motorola co-CEO Sanjay Jha recently indicated the the company is working on an Android tablet device that it hopes to release early in 2011.

In case you didn't know, a flood of Android-based tablet devices are about to saturate the electronics market. While Samsung has already announced its first Android tablet, the Galaxy Tab, Motorola has yet to release specific information about forthcoming products.

Without revealing any juicy details, Motorola's Jha did admit that an Android tablet is in the works. "I see the tablet market as an opportunity; no cannibalization with smartphones," Jha said. "iPad is more an extension of iPhone than a migration of a Macintosh. I think that is a natural expansion for us."

The Droid X, with its 4.3-inch display, is nearly a tablet. Motorola need only stretch the form factor a little bit (as Samsung has done with its Galaxy devices) and voila, it's got a tablet. OK, it's not really that simple, but you get the idea.

"The convergence of mobility and computing is very important for us," Jha said. "There could be more form factors that are more smartphone-centric. I will only develop a tablet if it is sufficiently compelling. Hopefully, that is early next year."

Pricing will continue to be critical for tablets to succeed. Part of the reason Apple has sold more than 3 million iPads is because they are reasonably priced and can be purchased without an expensive monthly contract. It's not clear if Android tablets will be able to follow that model.

Earlier this month, Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab Android tablet. Retail prices as high as $1,200 were noted, though Samsung believes that with carrier subsidies the Tab will sell for $200 to $300.

The key word in that sentence is "subsidies" -- it means a two-year data commitment to a wireless network operator. If all tablets require contracts, I don't think they'll take off as quickly as many speculate.

Subsidies will help make the appear to be more affordable, but $60-per-month data plans would put people off. The trick will be to do as Apple has done with AT&T. AT&T has agreed to offer a wireless data plan for as little as $15 per month for the iPad. Will other carriers follow suit with Android tablets? I sure hope so.

[Via AFP]

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