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Motorola may be planning to release an Android tablet by the end of the year, according to comments co-CEO Sanjay Jha made at an investors’ conference Thursday. The tablet would be between 7 and 10 inches and serve as a companion product to a TV.
With the success of the Apple iPad, it would come as no surprise that Motorola is considering developing a tablet. Motorola already demonstrated an Android prototype tablet earlier this year and Jha said “nearly all” of his focus is on Android, as opposed to the company developing its own proprietary operating system. Any mobile OS would need to be able to match Android's capabilities, including free navigation and voice-activated services, he added.
Jha said also that Motorola is concentrating on the convergence of mobility and the home with products forthcoming “in a very short period of time,” that would allow users to walk around their house and stream TV, and that the Android would be the operating system of choice.
Jha spoke on a range of issues during the conference, which was sponsored by Barclays Capital. In response to a question about how they can differentiate themselves, he said Motorola is heading toward being “a much more software-centric and services-centric company” in 2011 and that it is not interested in investing heavily in feature phones.
The company launched its Droid handset late last year with Verizon Wireless and has since introduced the Cliq. With AT&T it introduced the Backflip, where it competes directly with the iPhone. Jha said his company is also open to making non-Android phones when it has resources available.
The operating system is not the only thing that's important in a phone, he noted. "OS alone is not what consumers choose a phone on," and that 30 to 40 percent of Americans choose a phone based on the feel and look of the device.
Verizon Wireless will add two Motorola smartphones in July, and Jha addressed concerns that newer Droid products at Verizon, like the HTC Incredible, would hurt sales of Motorola's Droid phone. "I think we're very well positioned” at Verizon, he said.
On the company’s financial outlook, Jha expressed confidence that Motorola will rebound and become profitable by the end of the year. Motorola has been sinking as other companies, including Nokia, Samsung, LG Electronics, Sony-Ericsson, and Research In Motion have passed the firm's market share.
In a "say-on-pay" stockholder vote this month, Motorola stockholders demonstrated that they want the firm's top executives to earn their compensation. Jha took home $104 million in 2008, making him the top earning CEO that year, according to one survey.
By early 2011, Motorola is planning to separate into two publicly traded entities and Jha will continue to run the handset business.