I went to Best Buy this week to try out the Motorola Xoom tablet. Motorola is using the new Android Honeycomb operating system for their tablet. I was very impressed with the system. I am struggling trying to decide if I am going to buy an iPad v2 or the Android tablet. You would think the iPad is the easy choice but anyone who owns an iPhone knows Apple just loves to restrict things and do things their way. For example iTunes, I hate it, but you have no choice if you own an iPhone or iPad. iTunes is the traffic cop to any iOS device from Apple. With Google’s Android OS it’s open, you can use what you want to move files on/off their devices. Google also does not ‘censor’ apps like Apple. If Apple decides your app is not worthy, your toast!
First impressions of the Xoom are good. I like their browser, it uses tabs and feels much more like a desktop browser. Apple needs to upgrade Safari on their iPad, it’s too limiting and with the app store restrictions Mozilla’s Firefox will not be coming to iOS but it will for Android. The screen was very fast, I could flick screens around with no lag. I also tried the Android Market store, it’s easy to use, I even installed the speedtest app on Best Buy’s Xoom to measure their WiFi speeds. Best Buy’s internet was rather slow (2meg) so downloading larger apps was painful.
The only issue I had was rotating the Xoom from portrait to landscape. There was a large delay, somewhere around 5-7 seconds. I researched some Android forums and owners are not seeing this delay, so my only guess is the Best Buy anti-theft tether cord which is somewhat restrictive may have been effecting the motion sensor.
The Xoom screen is better than an iPad, the resolution is 1280x800. You also get a micro SD slot (currently disabled, waiting for a software update) and HDMI without a special dongle. The camera specs are also superior with 5megpixel back and 2 megapixel front. A WiFi only version is coming, the model # is MZ604. What’s nice about the Xoom’s WiFi version is it includes a GPS, with iPad you need a 3G version for GPS.
I am hoping once the iPad v2 is released, Motorola will be compelled to drop their pricing a bit. Considering the large lead iPad has, Motorola needs to be more aggressive on their pricing.
Final thoughts, the iOS for tablets needs to be enhanced. It needs a notification bar and widgets to customize the desktop. Right now iOS feels very plain when compared to Android’s Honeycomb. Right now I have no interest in buying a 3G enabled tablet from Verizon. $800 is too much for me, once the WiFi only version is out I will have to decide which way to go. Rumors are the WiFi will be priced at $600 retail and discounts should be available.