Motorola's new video, called Tablet Evolution, opens in a museum. First up is an Egyptian hieroglyphic tablet (good graphics, but heavy), then the Ten Commandments tablets (durable, but can't edit), the Rosetta Stone tablet (multi-lingual support, but low-res), and on through others to Apple's iPad (like a giant iPhone) and the Galaxy Tab (Android OS for a phone). Finally, the camera rests on a tablet covered with a cloth and on a pedestal bearing Motorola's logo.
Motorola has certainly raised expectations. The new tablet, based on the tablet-optimized Android 3.0 or Honeycomb, will be released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month -- as will a variety of other tablets, each seeking to become an iPad slayer.
Notion Ink's Adam
Few details are available about the Motorola tablet. Google Vice President Andy Rubin showed one at the D: Get Into Mobile Conference earlier this month, but he didn't do a full demo and was mum about the details.
Observers indicated that the tablet Rubin held had a screen size of about 10 inches and a unique interface. Rubin mentioned that it runs on a Nvidia dual-core CPU, and noted its 3D image-processing capability as he showed a new version of Google Maps.
For months, the iPad has had the tablet category almost entirely to itself. In November, Samsung's Galaxy Tab started selling, and, according to Samsung, has reached sales of a million units -- although it's not clear if those are all to end users or if the number includes distribution channels.
Now with CES only a few weeks away, the battle of the videos and the leaked reports has begun. While not matching the production value or humor of Motorola's teaser video, a company called Notion Ink has released a basic demo video of its new tablet.
Tablets Eating PCs?
The 10-inch tablet, called Adam and also being introduced at CES, runs a customized user interface based on a combination of Android 2.3 and 3.0. The company pointed to a highly responsive screen and processing, even when running major applications simultaneously, as well as one-finger interaction for stretching a window or scrolling a page.
Tablets are poised to cause a dramatic change in personal computing. According to a recent analysis by Goldman Sachs, tablet sales will increase in 2011 by an astounding 500 percent, while PC sales will grow only eight percent.
Even more threatening to the world in which PCs have ruled, the investment bank projects that about one-third of sales that would otherwise have gone to PCs will instead go to tablets.
But it's not only the form factor that could represent a seismic shift in computing. Most of the tablets are expected to run Apple's iOS or Google's Android, rather than the current leading operating system for PCs, Microsoft Windows. CES represents an opportunity for Microsoft to get into this game, and CEO Steve Ballmer will be demonstrating new Windows-based tablets from Dell, Samsung and others.