Things happen fast in the technology world, yesterdays state-of-the-art is this weeks museum piece. The iPad wasn’t the first tablet ever, but after its launch the race was on to match it in terms of design and desirability.
With the recent news that Google has acquired Motorola (a snip at $12.5 billion) the Xoom is likely to be a forerunner of what promises to be an interesting partnership in the mobile communications and technology fields.
It will also mean you are likely to see the cream of new Android Operating systems and innovations debut inside Motorola products.
So what is the Xoom like?
It’s pretty good actually. It was the first tablet to get the 3.0 Honeycomb OS (a deal breaker perhaps?) and its hi-res screen (1280 x 800 pixels) makes most other tablets look like an 8bit arcade game. It has a slightly larger screen than the iPad too (10.1 to 9.7 inches) and while the Xoom is a bit heavier than most, it feels like it’s been built to last.
There is lots to see, and its fun too! I like the way you ‘wake’ it up, hand it to someone over 40yrs old to start it up and see how long it takes them to work it out (hand it to someone under 15 and they will do it in seconds).
Once ‘awake’ the Xoom is lightening quick at opening apps and the responsiveness of the touchscreen (usually a good measure) is extremely rapid. Inside there is a Dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 Chip and a good sized 1GB of internal memory.
Hard disk space is 32GB (upgradeable to 64GB) that is plenty of space for your photos, videos and movies without having to keep copying things on and off all the time.
Another excellent addition is the camera (or should I say cameras), and like the iPad has one both at the front and rear. The 5MP Rear Facing camera has a duel LED flash while the front camera has a 2MP one.
Picture quality is good, and video capture, while not quite HD is sharp and relatively blur free. Moive playback is HD and the fast processor keeps thing s moving along nicely.
Access to the Android Marketplace is a more interesting and varied proposition by the day, and while Apples App Store still wins in terms of quality and choice, the Android version is definitely catching up. There are some great apps like Swype, a great way to write text messages and emails.. (google it) that don’t yet have an iPad equivalent.
If there is one negative regarding the Android Marketplace it’s the lack of DEDICATED Tablet apps that make full use of the power and size of the Xoom. Hopefully now Google have their feet under the table expect the flood gates to open very soon on Android Tab Apps.
Battery life is advertised as 10 hours of video playback, and although I didn’t fully test this, you will find yourself charging the Xoom every day.
For me the Xoom IS the nearest rival to the iPad, and the Honeycomb operating system (now upgraded to the less buggy 3.1), wins hands down over the iPad in terms of customisation and flexibility.
At the moment you can buy a 16GB iPad 2 with Wi-fi and 3G for £499 (or a 32GB for 579)
Previously the only stumbling block was the price, and at it’s launch was £579.
You can now buy a 3G + Wi-fi Xoom on Amazon for £399.