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CES: Motorola launches Xoom tablet with Android 3.0

Tablet to hit US in March; no UK release date yet

Motorola finally unveiled its highly anticipated tablet, the Xoom, with a 10.1in touchscreen and the latest version of Google's Android mobile software on board.

Google worked with Motorola and chip maker nVidia on the launch of Android 3.0 on a tablet device.

Android 3.0 is designed for tablets, not smartphones, which Android was originally designed for. The nVidia Tegra 2 dual core processor on board can deliver up to 2GHz of power, since each core runs at 1GHz.

The Motorola Xoom will launch in the US as a 3G/Wi-Fi device by the end of March, with an upgrade to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) in the second quarter, Motorola said. UK release dates have yet to be made available.

Other Android tablets at CES

Motorola wasn't the first company to announce an Android tablet with Honeycomb at CES. Asus also revealed the Eee Pad Slider. The Slider sports a 10.1in touchscreen with a keypad that slides out, similar to mobile phones with sliding keyboards, for laptop-like typing. The device also boasts an nVidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor for strong graphics performance and has dual cameras on board.

Motorola, however, will have the first Android Honeycomb tablet on the market. The Eee Pad Slide for example, won't be out until May, Asus said.

Motorola Xoom specifications

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 2Mp camera acts as a webcam for video chat, and a 5Mp camera on the  back is for photos and 720p high-definition video capture.

The touchscreen has a resolution of 1280x800 pixels, compared with the iPad's 1024x768 and Samsung's Galaxy Tab, at 1024x600.

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 249x168mm and is 12.9mm thick. By way of comparison, the iPad is 13.4mm thick and the Galaxy Tab is 12mm thick. At 730g, 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 percent of the total market for tablets and other mobile Internet devices by 2015, while the also-rans - the BlackBerry tablet OS, HP'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 three 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.

See also: Motorola tablet to be unveiled at CES

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