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12/2/2011
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Verizon Shows Off Two LTE-Equipped Motorola Tablets

Verizon Wireless revealed that it will sell two new Motorola Android tablets with Long Term Evolution 4G for some extra sizzle.

Verizon Wireless plans to sell two Android-based tablets from Motorola that will operate on the carrier's high-speed LTE network.

The larger Droid Xyboard is the heartier of the two tablets and has a 10.1-inch display and baked-in enterprise features. The smaller, 8.2-inch display Xyboard features easier transportability, and less robust software features. Let's take a look.

Shared features of the two tablets include the Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system (what, no Ice Cream Sandwich???), which is the tablet-optimized variant of Android. There was no immediate word from Verizon or Motorola if the devices will be updated to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. They are both powered by a dual-core 1.2-GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of storage. They will each pack a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus, and LED flash. They'll also include 1.3-megapixel user-facing cameras for video chats.

The Xyboards will be able to access Verizon Wireless's Long Term Evolution 4G network, which offers blazing fast mobile broadband speeds. Verizon's LTE footprint has expanded recently and now covers 200 million Americans. If your business is located in a large U.S. market, chances are you have LTE coverage.

Both Xyboards will come with the requisite support for Google services, such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Talk, the Android browser, and so on.

The larger Xyboard carries forward the same 10.1-inch display of its predecessor, which will be protected by Corning's Gorilla Glass. Motorola also says it will have a splash guard, and tapered edges for easier holding. Speaking of holding the Xyboard, it is thinner and lighter than the original Xoom at 9.99 inches x 6.94 inches x .035 inches, and 1.32 pounds. (That's iPad territory.) The battery will provide up to 10 hours of Wi-Fi Web browsing and a month of stand-by time.

On the enterprise side of the equation, the Xyboard 10-inch will include: enterprise-grade security and Active Sync for work email, contacts, and calendar; USB and Ethernet connectivity; pre-loaded Citrix Receiver and Citrix GoToMeeting; and MotoCast for streaming work and/or media files from a PC to the Xyboard.

The smaller Xyboard dials things down a notch. It also has a Corning Gorilla Glass display, but at a smaller 8.2 inches. It boasts adaptive virtual surround sound with multiple speakers and what Motorola calls "booming bass."

It is much smaller and lighter than the 10-inch Xyboard. The smaller one measures 8.5 inches x 5.47 inches x 0.35 inches, and weighs a mere 0.85 pounds. Battery life is rated at six hours of Wi-Fi browsing time, or, if you like, three straight days of music playback. It will last several weeks in standby mode.

Can these new tablets compete against the Apple iPad? Possibly, though they don't necessarily differ enough from the original Xoom in terms of capabilities and specs. They have many of the same features. Probably the best feature of the 10-inch Xyboard is that it is thinner and lighter than the original, which was a bit on the chunky side.

More to the point, however, is that these two tablets run Android 3.2--not Android 4.0. With no word on if or when the Xyboards might be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, they are dubious purchases at best.

Verizon hasn't said when they will go on sale.

The Enterprise Connect conference program covers the full range of platforms, services, and applications that comprise modern communications and collaboration systems. It happens March 25-29 in Orlando, Fla. Find out more.

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