The January 2011 Consumer Electronics Show seems much farther away than a mere nine months, at least for any business that debuted technology to take on Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad. When Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) took the lid off of its Honeycomb version of the Android mobile operating system, it appeared to consumers and investors alike that there finally was going to be a tablet market rather than an iPad market. It didn’t happen. However, technology industry watchers expect a renewed vigor to come to the tablet competitive landscape after Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) unveiled its new $199 Kindle Fire tablet Wednesday.
But Amazon isn’t the only company that’s bringing a new device to the market to cripple Apple. While Research In Motion‘s (NASDAQ:RIMM) PlayBook and Hewlett-Packard‘s (NYSE:HPQ) TouchPad have failed to find an audience in the past 12 months — crippling share prices in both companies in the process — other tablet hopefuls are gearing up for Round 2 and, in one case, Round 3.
Motorola (NYSE:MMI) and its Xoom Android tablet were seen as frontrunners coming out of CES at the beginning of the year. The device looked like a technological powerhouse compared to the first-generation iPad still flying off shelves at the time, and investor confidence in the company grew as a result. Shares climbed from $29 to around $36 following the Xoom’s debut. Of course, the device’s massive price tag and poor app selection caused it to tank on release in February, and MMI sank to a 52-week-low of below $21 by July. Today the company is trading above $38, with investor interest renewed by a pending Google acquisition of the company.
It’s no surprise that with their combined might, Motorola and Google are coming back to the tablet market with a vengeance. Engadget showed off pictures of two Xoom 2 prototypes on Sunday. The new devices come in two sizes and offer 4G LTE support, meaning that — provided they hit the market in the next few months — MMI and Google can rely on AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ) to push the tablets as the fastest on the market. MMI has a lot to prove with this one.