Oct. 10, 2011 at 11:36 AM ET
Motorola Mobility and Verizon Wireless are holding a joint conference on Tuesday, Oct. 18. Though they fall short of saying what, exactly, will be released, the invitation reads: "Faster. Thinner. Smarter. Stronger. Join us to celebrate the next big innovation from Motorola Mobility." It's not that this could only describe a follow-up to Verizon's original Android tablet, it's just that the timing is right. That and there are leaked pictures of it all over the place.
Two sites, Engadget and This Is My Next, have accumulated the most rumored news.
Though not confirmed by the manufacturer and carrier, This Is My Next says the 10-inch device could be 9mm thick, just a bit thicker than an iPad 2, but with more processing power and RAM, 1080p video recording and 11 hours of battery life. It will of course have 4G LTE straight out of the box, unlike its predecessor. Engadget has images of two models, including a second slightly smaller one, that could be focused on video and books.
The question is, will it matter? Nobody really bought the first one, less because it was rather thick, and more because there's a lot less you can do on an Android tablet than on a $499 iPad ... or a $199 Kindle Fire. The challenge has been getting developers to go beyond supersizing their Android phone apps for the tablet space. Another challenge has been getting Google and its partners to figure out a way to bundle it all in a way that inspires buyer confidence.
So if next week's debut is all about hardware, it could be another shortfall. But if Motorola and Verizon focus on what we can do with the tablet — and keep the pricing competitive — it might well prove to be a winner. But that's a big "might."
More on Android tablets from msnbc.com's Gadgetbox: