LG preps Android-based Optimus tablet for Q4 2010; targets content creation

LG is reportedly planning to launch another 10 smartphones -- and a tablet computer for the global market.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

As HP prepares its (Palm) webOS-based tablet computer, LG is reportedly planning to launch another 10 smartphones -- and a tablet computer for the global market.

The Wall Street Journal quotes mobile device marketing exec Chang Ma saying that the tablet will be available by the fourth quarter of this year and be a part of the company's Optimus line.

It will run on Google's Android operating system and reportedly focus on "the ability to create content, rather than simply display it," such as on Apple's iPad.

How? By focusing on the creation and editing of documents, video and programs. The key takeaway here: productivity.

Ma said in the Journal report that the U.S. would be a "key market" for the tablet. He did not comment on whether a wireless carrier would be a part of the consumer pitch, but I can't imagine why LG would make such a foray without some of its longtime partners.

The tablet is a big deal for LG, which dominated feature phones but has fell behind HTC and others in the smartphone race. While its 10 planned smartphones are a big way to make up ground, a tablet is a way to get footing in a nascent market segment.

The report also noted that LG was ramping up R&D spending and marketing, and placing its hardware bet on Nvidia's dual-core processor and 4G connectivity. No doubt much of that will make its way into the tablet.

What's most interesting about this tablet (compared to HP's planned webOS Slate or whatever it ends up being called) is that it's under development by a company that hasn't traditionally been in the computer business.

Where HP (or Dell, with its Streak family) brings years of laptop knowledge to the table, LG brings knowledge of the mobile market and its consumers' habits. There are pros and cons to this: content creation is a fairly new aspect to the mobile market, but on the other hand, mobile manufacturers have brought a simplicity to their offerings compared to traditional PC makers.

With Android on board, though, it's LG's job to break through the noise and figure out a way to both be its own success and be a catalyst for the success of the Android platform for tablets as a whole.

The existential question underlying the whole market: is a touchscreen tablet truly suited to content creation? And if so, who will move beyond novelty and make the best bid for the business market?

(Note: Illustration above is just a mockup of LG's tablet; it's not the real thing.)

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