TABLET season is kicking off in earnest with Motorola launching a powerful new tablet computer in Australia today just as more details emerge about Apple’s upcoming iPad upgrade.
The mobile phone company will today launch its second tablet, the Xoom 2, offering a much slimmer form, a scratch-resistant screen and splash-proof body, plus a speedier processor and lighter weight than the market-leading Apple tablet.
The Google Android tablet can also be plugged into a television or show movies streamed from a PC and will cost $720 outright or $59 monthly over two years from Telstra.
Motorola product marketing manager Sean Pyper said the second Xoom was a major upgrade on the company’s first effort launched in May last year.
“The Xoom 2 is the highest performing 10.1-inch tablet on the market right now with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and that makes it faster that some of the leading tablets,” he said.
But Motorola will face major competition from Apple, with leaked photos emerging from a Taiwanese website showing an Apple iPad with an eight-megapixel rear camera and more rounded edges.
The next iPad is also rumoured to feature a sharper screen, a faster processor and even 4G internet connectivity when it is launched next month.
Telsyte research director Foad Fadaghi said Motorola’s new offering was part of a “barrage of new tablets coming to market” before Apple’s 2012 offering appeared.
Other tablets expected to launch shortly include models from Sony and Samsung.
“You can understand why Motorola is bringing the product in right now, prior to the iPad 3 coming to market,” he said. “Obviously it represents a formidable challenge and it’s likely to grab a lot of attention.”
Regardless, Mr Fadaghi said Motorola’s Xoom 2 and other Google-based tablets could find an eager fanbase in Australia, though consumers may expect to pay less for them than for Apple’s leading model.
Telsyte expects Australians to buy more than 2 million tablets in 2012, after 1.4 million were snapped up last year.