Motorola’s powerful, 4G-capable Xoom is a formidable rival to Apple’s device, a reviewer says.
It’s an old design now. Phase 1: Apple introduced several new gadgets. Bloggers and industry tell us why it will fail. Phase 2: It may be for sale. The audience goes nuts for her. Phase 3: Each company and his brother gets to work on an imitation.
It came with the iMac and iPhone. Now, IPAD is entering Phase 3. Apple sold 15 million iPads in nine months, so you can bet that 2011 will be the Year of the Clone iPad.
Starting Thursday, you’ll be able to buy one of the most anticipated rivals iPad: Xoom Motorola. Like most aspiring iPad, it works with Google’s Android software – but the Xoom is the first that runs on Android 3.0 (codenamed Honeycomb), which Google designed for tablets instead of phones.
The series continues Xoom recent Motorola gadgets attractive, compact and well built. Unless you inspect the rear (rubber, plastic instead of aluminum for money), you may not be able to say that touch-screen panel of IPAD.
There are some differences, however. The first is price: the cost Xoom a stunning $ 800, $ 70 more than the equivalent IPAD 32-gigabyte (WiFi and 3G cellular). You can get the Xoom for $ 600 if you’re willing to engage in a two-year Verizon contract. That means paying $ 20 a month to get online using the cellular network from Verizon (if you can get by on just 1 GB of data), instead of access points Wi-Fi hot.
The Xoom also offers a dual-core processor, which, according to Motorola, means smoother animation game And he has cameras. On the back there is a 5-megapixel camera that can also record high definition video. On the front, it is a low-resolution video camera for video chat. The new Android software includes a camera module reinforced-up, which highlights the effects bizarre gadget you never use, like Solarize, Sepia and polarize.
Clearly, a camera is useful on a shelf, and will remain a huge competitive advantage for Xoom – at least until the 2 iPad released next month (if Apple sticks to its model of development to usual annual day, that is). If the new IPAD is not a camera or two, I’ll eat a shelf.
The screen has a resolution of Xoom slightly higher than that of the IPAD, and it gives the tablet a slightly different – more like a business envelope with a greeting-card envelope. The screen shape is a better match for video hi-definition, but the worst for photos and maps.
The Xoom has stereo speakers instead of mono, a good battery for 10 hours of video playback and a power button on the rear panel. Motorola said that later this year, a software update will allow the Xoom enjoy Verizon 4G cellular networks, which means a better download speed in a few cities lucky.
A very cool feature: The Xoom has an HDMI, which means a single cable can send both audio and video hi-def TV. It is an ideal proposal for the roving presenter PowerPoint.
doctor dock Motorola is working overtime, too. You can buy either a speaker dock or a loading dock that is automatically activated Slideshow Xoom or alarm mode. If the material of Xoom were the whole story, it would not be much more than an anecdote. The physical improvements are not enough to knock the iPad iPad especially the 2 – to its pedestal, especially given the price increase.
No, the biggest story here is the honeycomb, the tablet software Google. IPad is the real competitor; tablets honeycomb in every size, shape and price range will soon arrive in stores.
So how is honeycomb? Four words: more powerful, more complicated. The screen is now two bands of small icons. In theory, the numbers above refer to the program you are using, and those in the bottom look like the system tray in Windows status icons and pop-up menus for various settings.
But these icons are darned cryptic, it looks like they were designed by foreigners. Google seems to have forgotten a huge disadvantage of unlabeled icons on a touch screen computer: there is no way to see their names or their office before opening them. There are no pop-up bubbles, for example. All you can do is to activate a touch, see what happens and learn from the experience boring.
New bands are not always make sense, either. Why, for example, never touching the clock icon to display your list of notifications (completed downloads, incoming text messages and so on)? Why do you get to some settings by pressing an icon on the lower band, and the rest of the settings by pressing an icon in the top band? Android not want to be when he grows up Windows?
Some changes in the nests of bees are cool. There is a pop-up menu from the list of recently opened applications – not just their names, but the miniature screens that show you exactly what you did when you left. Widgets (small windows that display the most recent data from, say, Gmail or Twitter accounts) are now more flexible, for example, you can scroll through their contents without opening an application greater whole. You can drag messages into folders individual e-mail.
In the miscellaneous category, Google has blessed the Web browser with tabbed windows and an “incognito” mode (where you let the cookies, history or other avenues that could allow someone to see what you ‘ve been up to). When you use Google Maps to display a large city like San Francisco or New York, you can turn with your fingers to reveal the three dimensional contours of actual buildings. (Useful if you’re the pilot of an ultralight aircraft, I guess.)
Other improvements could be better marked, “lovingly ripped off from IPAD.” Take the new applications and Gmail e-mail, for example (still no word on why we need separate applications for Gmail and other account types). They have been redesigned to mimic perfectly the IPAD mail app. In other words, when the tablet is upright, the message fills the screen when it is horizontal, the list of messages appears on the side left with the message selected in the main window. The Contacts application is also similar.
There is an app that mimics Books under IPAD iBooks, even in the animation three-dimensional page-turner. (It accesses Google attractive new store e-book.)
All other Android goodies are still there, such as voice recognition and impressive navigation GPS. Motorola says the download will come to the Xoom play Flash videos online – something IPAD can not do.
Currently, few applications are designed for screen tablets Android ‘more. However, there are 60,000 applications available specifically for the IPAD (not counting the 290,000 iPhone applications that run on it also, at lower resolution). But this is a temporary exception, the library Android is growing at a white-hot pace.
If you are interested in a tablet, it would be wise to wait a few months. You’ll want to consider what Apple has up its sleeve for the second coming, of course, but also the IPAD research in business-oriented playbook Motion BlackBerry and Hewlett-Packard tablet juicy looking TouchPad, which runs the software webOS ( originally designed by former Apple engineers for the smartphone Palm Pre).
It is not clear at this point why the world needs all these competing tablets, each with different operating systems and app store. There is no sufficient differentiation to justify the assault coming models, most of these companies seem freed tablets just so they can say: “We have a thingie iPad, too!”