Setting itself up to compete with Apple’s popular iPad, Verizon, with the help of Motorola, is planning to enter the computer tablet market with a new model that can display wireless video services.
The new tablet, which will use Google’s Android operating system, will reportedly have a 10in screen and be thinner and lighter than the Apple tablet. Unlike Apple, it will be capable of running applications and video delivered through Adobe Flash. It will be tied to Verizon’s FiOS TV service.
Beyond just offering up a new product in the tablet category, reports said the device could expand Verizon’s reach by offering video services to consumers that don’t live in its current fiber footprint. Verizon has spent about $20 billion on its fiber network but it still passes only 12.9 million American homes.
However, Verizon’s national wireless network covers the entire nation, and the carrier can offer video to new tablet subscribers anywhere. Timing for release of the tablet is coordinated with Verizon’s LTE data network, set to launch about Nov. 15.
The LTE network will provide data rates of 5Mb/s-12Mb/s, which is almost good enough for HD video. LTE will launch in 25-30 markets by the end of 2010, covering approximately 100 million Americans.
GigaOhm reported that even if the full Verizon FiOS television experience isn’t delivered via the tablet, it might help Verizon boost FiOS subscribers in homes where services are already available but haven’t been activated.
For example, it reported, in addition to a set-top box, a customer might have the option of getting a tablet as well for time- and place-shifting pay TV content. Such a tie-in would be good for Motorola, which gets marketing help for the device from Verizon. If the tablet succeeds, Motorola could also offer it to other pay TV providers.