Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are no doubt aware that computer tablets have been making headlines. Whether it’s new models and features or record sales numbers, it’s rare that a day goes by without tablets being in the news. So let’s take this opportunity to jump on the tablet bandwagon and talk about Motorola’s new XOOM Wi-Fi, a tablet that definitely presents some serious competition.
Lots of manufacturers have been announcing new tablets in an attempt to steal some thunder from Apple’s iPad, a product that has been the main source of tablet news in recent years. Most manufacturers were beaten to market by the first iPad and some were beaten again by the iPad 2. Another manufacturer has even expressed concern that its latest tablet might not be good enough to compete with the new iPad. But Motorola seems to have done its homework, and the new XOOM Wi-Fi meets or exceeds the iPad 2 specifications in most respects. Only time will tell if the XOOM Wi-Fi comes out on top, but at least it has what it takes to compete in the fierce battle of the tablets.
The Motorola XOOM is a widescreen tablet featuring a 10.1-inch, high definition touch-screen display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and native resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It’s powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of memory, and it runs the Android 3.0 operating system. While it can only be had with 32GB of flash memory storage, the XOOM also features a microSD slot that makes the fixed 32GB of internal memory relatively irrelevant. The slot will support cards up to 32GB in capacity.
Having a memory card slot lets you swap out large amounts of content in seconds. For example, you could keep movies on one card, TV shows on another, music on another and so on. All tablets should have memory card slots and it’s a shame that some manufacturers can get away with not including one. It’s also a shame that the XOOM’s microSD slot is inactive at this time, but a future software update is supposed to enable it; in Motorola we trust.
The Motorola XOOM runs Android Honeycomb, the latest version of the mobile OS and one that's been optimized for tablet use with a fresh new user interface and built-in multitasking. Dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi lets you browse the Web with the aid of the XOOM’s Google Chrome browser. The browser supports Adobe Flash 10, so you can enjoy just about any video content you can find on the Web. The browser can also access other Google services, such as Google Maps and Google Talk with video chat. Wireless peripherals can be used with the XOOM thanks to Bluetooth 2.1+EDR. A fully charged battery provides up to 10 hours of video playback and it takes about 3.5 hours to charge.
The Motorola XOOM features a 2MP front-facing camera used for online video chat. A 5MP rear-facing camera, ideal for shooting digital photos and HD video, features autofocus, digital zoom and a dual LED flash system that lets you take photos in dimly lit environments. Other features include a microphone, stereo speakers and an HDMI port to connect the tablet to an HDTV set.
The XOOM connects to a computer through a standard micro-USB port, and you don’t have to run any special software just to load new content. You can download thousands of applications for the XOOM, many of them free, from the Android Marketplace.
The Motorola XOOM is 9.8 inches wide by x 6.6 inches high by 0.5 inch thick and it weighs 1.6 pounds. It’s a bit wider and a bit shorter than the new iPad, but about 4mm thicker and 0.3 pound heavier.
You’ll find a plethora of accessories available for the XOOM. Various docking stations, Bluetooth keyboards, special chargers, protective cases and stands are available from the get-go, and countless other add-ons will surely come to market.
Hardware-wise, at least on paper, the XOOM has the iPad beat. The XOOM has a higher resolution widescreen display, higher resolution cameras, more RAM, a memory card slot and it will play Flash video. But there are a lot more apps available for the iPad. The two tablets are similarly priced. Coolness factor? We’ll let you decide.