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Motorola to take another stab at Apple's iPad with new 7-inch tablet

Following up to the Xoom, which failed to make a a splash after the release of Apple's iPad 2, Motorola is now expected to release another tablet by the end of this year, this time with a smaller 7-inch form factor.

The unnamed tablet from Motorola was pictured in a leaked photo provided to This is my next. It shows a thinner device with slightly angled corners running the tablet-centric "Honeycomb" build of Google's Android mobile operating system.

The hardware is expected to sport micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports and the screen appears to be a 16:9 widescreen orientation. The new tablet is believed to have a 7-inch screen, but it has not yet been publicly confirmed by Motorola.

The hardware maker, which recently announced a deal to be acquired by search giant Google, has publicly stated that it will release a "fun" and portable" 7-inch tablet by year's end.

Motorola's rumored new 7-inch tablet would be nearly three inches smaller than the 9.7-inch display of the iPad. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs panned 7-inch tablets as too small to be functional in a rare appearance on his company's quarterly earnings conference call last October.

"(A 7-inch screen size is) meaningless unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to about one quarter of their present size," Jobs said. he revealed that Apple has done extensive research on touchscreen interfaces and what works best for users, which is how the company arrived at a 9.7-inch display for the iPad.

Motorola's first stab at an Android-powered tablet came in February with the 10.1-inch Xoom, a device the company attempted to create hype for with a Super Bowl commercial. But sales of the Xoom were just 440,000, a number well behind the record 9.25 million iPad 2 units Apple sold in the same three-month period.

Rumors that Motorola is working on a successor to the Xoom cropped up as early as March. And in April, it was alleged that sales of the Xoom were lower than some industry watchers expected, prompting other Android device makers to delay their tablets.

Last month it was revealed Apple chose to target the Xoom in a patent infringement lawsuit it filed against Motorola in Europe. The iPad maker hopes to block sales of the Xoom in Germany, as it has done with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Google announced its intention to acquire Motorola and get into the hardware business for tablets and smartphones as part of a $12.5 billion deal in August. While Motorola is a significant manufacturer of Android devices, Google's purchase of the company has been viewed as one largely about intellectual property as the Android platform has come under legal fire.