Motorola Xoom – First impressions

So I’ve had some opportunities to play around with a Motorola Xoom tablet in the past few weeks, and I thought I’d share my impressions.

Where to start?

I guess I’ll start with the things I like about it.

First off, the graphics are really nice.  The graphic system is definitely lives up to all the hype.  If you have a Xoom and you haven’t messed with Google Body, or played a FPS on it yet…you are SOOO missing out. It’s really nice.  Great frame rate and nice resolution.

The overall speed of the device seems solid. I haven’t been blown away as I was expecting to be, but then I haven’t been disappointed either.  So I’ll consider that a plus.

Next, it’s tough.

While at CES this year I got to hold and mess with a lot of the new Android tables, and to tell the truth, most felt flimsy.  I kept expecting to find a great big “Fragile” sticker on them.  Heck even a Fisher Price sticker would be an improvement.  At least that stuff is designed to take punishment.

The Xoom is sturdy.  It feels solid in your hands, and doesn’t feel like it will break if you use it one too many times.  I like that.

I love the cameras!

Let me say it again.  I Love the cameras!  Great resolution and performance that beats the heck out of my new iPad 2.  Very nice feature.

Basically, all the device and physical stuff is really nice.

I’m not sure about the size.  The jury is still out on that.

The “not so good” stuff (mostly) has to do with Android 3.0.

Honeycomb was ballyhooed as being the “great iOS” killer in so many forums I got tired of having my monkeys shake sticks at them.  (really, they have better things to do)

To be honest…I don’t see it.


To me, Android 3.0 is very, very much still a work in progress.  It’s a bit clunky and not as smooth as I’d expect.

Screen transitions are a bit jerky, apps can lag a bit and it’s just not as intuitive as I’d thought it would be.

Also, there are things it just doesn’t do yet.  For example our organization uses WPA2 Enterprise level encryption on wireless.  It wasn’t supported out of the box.  Our resident Linux god had to find a way to get it to work.  Fine, but not great.

Finally, it’s heavy.  

I know the specs aren’t that much out of line with other tablets, but compared to my iPad 2…wow.  There is a noticeable difference.  To really be useful, a tablet needs to be portable, and that meas light.  I don’t want to get worn out just holding a device.

In the end, I really think the Xoom, as a hardward platform, has great potential.  Especially if Motorola gets the weight down some.  

Android 3.0 is getting there.  

Google is well known for Agile development, so I’m sure they’ll address all my petty little concerns.  It will come in time.  By 3.5 I’m sure I’ll be singing a different tune.

So in the end, is Android 3.x the iOS killer?

Well, that’s for another post.

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