Motorola’s Next Tablet Might Look More Like an iPad

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Motorola’s next tablet, according to one rumor, will use the same 4:3 aspect ratio as Apple’s iPad, signaling that Motorola has soured on widescreen tablets.

The Motorola Xoom, like most other 10-inch Android Honeycomb tablets currently on the market, uses a 1280-by-800 resolution display. The iPad’s display resolution is 1024-by-768, making it shorter and fatter than its Android rivals.

(MORE: iPad Gets Competition: Meet Motorola’s Xoom)

This may seem like an overly geeky distinction, but the difference is quite noticeable. Widescreen tablets are better for video, because high-definition movies occupy the entire screen. But when held in portrait orientation — ideally for reading — these devices can get unwieldy due to their height. That’s why you rarely see 10-inch tablet makers showing their products standing tall in promotional videos.

Apparently Motorola has come around to Apple’s way of thinking. An unnamed source told Fudzilla that Motorola’s next tablet will have a 4:3 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2048-by-1536. That’s double the resolution of an iPad, although Apple is rumored to be working on its own high-resolution tablet as well.

(MORE: Report: High-Res ‘iPad HD’ for Video and Photo Pros This Year)

The Motorola tablet, which will reportedly run Android Ice Cream Sandwich, could arrive by the end of the year. That seems plausible given that Ice Cream Sandwich is supposed to accommodate devices of all sizes, from phones to tablets to TV boxes.

Switching to a 4:3 aspect ratio could be a fine move for Motorola if it helps differentiate from other Android tablets, but it’s no panacea. The Xoom flopped not because of its screen ratio, but because it ran incomplete software on incomplete hardware that, at $600, is more expensive than comparable tablets. The Xoom’s microSD slot didn’t work at launch, and customers are still waiting for a promised upgrade to 4G data.

On that note, Motorola made the mistake of launching first with a wireless carrier, which no one really wants. Motorola probably knows all this, of course, but “Next Tablet Won’t Be So Buggy or Expensive” doesn’t make for the catchiest headlines.

MORE: Here Come the Cheap Android Tablets