updated 03:40 pm EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
Motorola preps rugged 7-inch Android 2.3 tablet
One of Motorola's first tablets after the Xoom broke cover on Wednesday in a leak of plans for a pro device. The unnamed tablet would shrink to seven inches and focus on rugged use, with MIL-810G weather sealing and IP54 waterproofing hardening it up for the field. An overview obtained by Engadget would unusually show it going to Android 2.3 rather than using Android 3.0, however.
Some of the reasoning might come from software plans. The new device would have custom apps to login and meet security requirements. An expansion module slot would also give it room for USB peripherals, like an imager. A stylus would let it work for taking signatures.
Its design would be relatively frugal but would be fast with a dual-core, 1GHz Ti OMAP4 processor undeneath. An eight-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front camera would handle duties like barcode scanning and videoconferencing. Just 8GB of storage would be onboard.
The tablet is near beta testing but is already being touted as the "first physical embodiment defining Android for the enterprise."
Motorola has long promised a seven-inch Xoom but has so far touted that and the 10-inch model as designed for the home. The rugged design, even with a non-tablet interface, may be an attempt to corner at least some of the business market before the iPad secures its position. The Droid developer already has experience in touchscreen pro devices through its acquisition of Symbol but has so far been limited to limited uses, like express courier payment systems.
A slew of takeovers in recent months have shown Motorola hoping to bolster corporate security on Android, historically one of Google's weak points.