This Definitely Won't Be an iPad Killer

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Some tablet makers can't take a hint.

Motorola Mobility (NYS: MMI) and Verizon (NYS: VZ) have scheduled a media event a week from today.

The teaser hints at the unveiling for something that will be faster, thinner, smarter, and stronger. It could be the rollout of a new Droid smartphone, but we're probably looking at a beefed-up Xoom tablet. Given the pitch, didn't Motorola learn its lesson earlier this year? No one is going to win the tablet wars on spec sheets alone.

The Xoom certainly seemed promising when it hit the market last year. It was the first device introduced with Google's (NAS: GOOG) tablet-centric Android 3.0 Honeycomb mobile operating system. Flash support, dual cameras, and HDMI connectivity were supposed to set it apart from Apple's (NAS: AAPL) original iPad. Unfortunately, it also hit the market at a higher price point Apple's flagship tablet.

It also didn't help that the iPad 2 closed the gap on the original's camera shortcomings.

Has any tablet maker been able to make a dent in Apple's market dominance? It should certainly seem possible, since Android smartphones are outselling iPhones. The problem is that the big-name tablet makers have tried to win this battle on features -- to the point where it prices them out of contention.

If there's any tablet that has a shot at Apple this year, it's Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) Kindle Fire. It hits the market next month, but pre-orders have likely been brisk given the $199 price point. In an ideal world, this doesn't eat into Apple's iPad market at all. It simply opens the door for a wider audience of tablet users that the $499 iPad -- and beefed-up Android tablets at even higher starting prices -- will never reach.

After all, the only time that non-iPad manufacturers appear to gain any kind of sales traction is when they have "going out of business" fire sales -- like Hewlett-Packard's (NYS: HPQ) move to clear out TouchPad webOS tablets at $99 apiece.

So good luck with "faster, thinner, smarter, and stronger," Motorola and Verizon. Unless you also plan to add "cheaper" and "humbler" into the mix, don't wake me up next Tuesday.

If you want to follow this announcement, consider addingVerizonandMotorola Mobilityto My Watchlist.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Apple, Google, and Amazon.com, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributorRick Munarrizcalls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, except for Hewlett-Packard. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

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