In the crazy mixed-up world of modern tech, it was perhaps inevitable that we’d wind up with Verizon making a television.
The company is reported to be partnering with Motorola to make an Android-fuelled tablet device, with the key selling point being TV viewing. According to the Financial Times, that will be based around a connection with Verizon’s fiber-optic digital cable TV system (pictured). It’s no coincidence that Motorola manufactures the Verizon set-top boxes.
As is becoming standard for Android tablets, the Motorola device will have several features missing from the iPad, including cameras, a form of tethering, and support for Flash. The report also says it will be thinner and lighter than the iPad. It’ll be interesting to see if that’s done through better engineering or simply a lower capacity battery.
From a British perspective, I have to say that TV services don’t feel like a major missing feature on the iPad. That’s because the biggest TV network has an on-demand website accessible on the device, while a somewhat less official site broadcasts all the over-the-air digital channels live. Of course, that will differ from market to market.
Having full and legal support for TV services would certainly be a selling point for the Motorola device. That said, tying it to Verizon does immediately limit the breadth of the appeal as the TV features would be of no use to something like 75% of Americans.
It’ll also be well worth Google’s marketing department keeping an eye on the gadget. If TV services on a tablet prove appealing, an Android device running Google TV (a specially modified version of the Chrome browser that applies Google’s search technology to TV listings and brings TV and internet broadcasts together) would seem a no-brainer.