Motorola Xoom Steers Verizon CES Keynote

Motorola Xoom provided the highlight of Verizon's keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 6. The Android 3.0 tablet impressed the crowd with its 3D capabilities and refreshed Google applications.

Cutting-edge capabilities from Motorola's Xoom tablet computer captivated the audience's attention during the opening keynote provided by Xoom carrier Verizon at the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Jan. 6.

Verizon CEO and chairman Ivan Seidenberg and Verizon president and COO Lowell McAdam discussed the challenges in bringing voice and video to mobile devices and home-entertainment systems all over the country.

The audience listened politely to the barrage of statistics and milestones the No. 1 wireless carrier has reached en route to bringing its 4G LTE network to fruition last month.

The happening perked up when Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha joined the executives on stage to show off Xoom, the Android 3.0 tablet coming from Motorola and partner Verizon Wireless in February.

The device-powered by the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor promising greater speed than the existing iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab-will be 4G capable.

The Xoom's new custom widgets, notifications and 3D Google Maps went on display yesterday, courtesy of a Google video posted to YouTube, and at Motorola's official press event.

After a brief teaser for the Motorola Droid Bionic smartphone (dual-core, 2GHZ total power, 4.3-inch screen), coming on Verizon's 4G LTE network in the second quarter, Jha invited Android Product Manager Mike Cleron to provide a deeper dive.

Cleron showed off several applications and features of the Xoom, whetting the appetites of consumers who might be mulling whether to buy an iPad or Android tablet later this year.

For his demo, Cleron showed the various 3D capabilities on the 10.1-inch display, where information surfaces and disappears based on users' gestures. He also demo'd the customizable widgets he created for Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar and his Web browser.

Cleron then showed off the Google eBookstore and his photo gallery, both of which have 3D-panning capability. Adding a new widget was as simple as tapping a plus sign at the top of the screen. Cleron then added a new Google eBooks widget.

"I have everything at my fingertips and I haven't even launched any applications yet," Cleron explained. "This shows what you can do with an operating system that was designed from the ground up to support multitasking."

The new Gmail app provides quick access to all labels on the left-hand side, with icons for actions across the top. Google Maps for Android 5.0 drew oohs and ahs from the audience; when Cleron zoomed in and tilted the Xoom, the buildings on the map raised up in 3D.

Google Talk worked well, too, and Cleron used it to call Android design director Matias Duarte to chat.

Jha, Cleron and Android weren't the only highlights of the Verizon keynote.

Seidenberg also invited Time Warner CEO and chairman Jeff Bewkes out to discuss the company's TV Everywhere plan to bring television programming to any device any time.

While this could one day be an exciting proposition for the Android tablets, it was clear the Xoom, not talk about content, was the top draw.