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Motorola Xoom: Kind of a Big Deal

We take a look at the new Honeycomb-based tablet from Motorola
January 20, 2011

Best in Show Motorola Xoom was announced at Thursday morning’s keynote address as the first tablet to run on Android 3.0, also known as Honeycomb. Among other specs, the Xoom will easily run Adobe Flash, feature two cameras (one for video conferencing and one for HD video) and play video at full HD 1080p. The Xoom will launch with 3G in February and will upgrade to 4G later in the year. To make matters even more enticing, the specs below scream: “Let the Tablet Wars Begin.”

The Motorola Xoom definitely grabbed the most headlines—it’s the first Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet, which gives it an immediate advantage over all other Android tablets at the show. True many manufacturers will eventually run Honeycomb, but it wasn’t running Honeycomb at the show and it became quite apparent that Motorola was the only tablet manufacturer to receive Google’s full support.

Motorola pulled out all the stops in developing its latest next-gen device, the Xoom. A Honeycomb-based tablet, the Xoom, appeared yesterday afternoon at a press conference. Slated to be released in February, it will be pushing the just-announced Android 3.0, which, designed specifically for tablets, features a dual core 1Ghz processor and 1GB of RAM. Additionally, it will feature a gorgeous 10.1-inch, 1280×800 screen. When it launches sometime in the first quarter, it’ll be packing 3G and Wi-Fi radios, but, come second quarter, you’ll be able receive a fancy upgrade to have compatibility with Verizon’s LTE network.

The reasons why this device is going to be a game changer are many. Industry analysts are projecting that by the end of 2011 there will be over 600,000 activations of the Android O/S daily. There is also talk in the industry that anywhere from 25-40% of this growth will be attributed to the Tablet market. Google certainly knows this, and is taking the implementation of Honeycomb very seriously. Competition is always a good thing for consumers, as it raises the bar, intensifies the efforts of the techno-

gods like Apple, HTC, Motorola and others, and lowers the price of the gadgets we all crave. With Honeycomb, we can expect a completely overhauled user interface packed full of improvements both in the areas of intuitiveness and efficiency. The Xoom will be the first of many tablets that will steadily eat away at the market share of the Ipad.  To quote Andy Rubin, “Many of Android’s existing features will really shine on Honeycomb: refined multi-tasking, elegant notifications, access to over 100,000 apps on Android Market, home screen customization with a new 3D experience and redesigned widgets that are richer and more interactive. ”

Not too long ago, Google purchased Bump Top, makers of an alternative, 3D interface for desktops. Clearly, the technology developed by the team at Bump Top was on to something good, and it is clear that these latest improvements will make a world of difference in Honeycomb’s User Interface.

Further to this, Android 3.0 features an updated browser that is looking particularly slick.

In fact, the new Android browser will be able to sync your Chrome bookmarks and comes with form auto-fill, which is particularly useful on mobile devices without the QWERTY keyboard we all know and love.

And so we were really curious to see the latest implementation of the Android O/S on the Xoom. Motorola was happy to tease us with demo videos that offered a glimpse into the new Honeycomb user interface — which is intuitive, seamless and simply stunning — but the final polishes are still being put on the software.

Basically the only things functioning were the gallery and the app drawer, but opening both and swiping around the home screens was smooth as could be. The device is also deliciously thin and airy. The Xoom is just a bit lighter than the iPad, and easily just as svelte. The screen featured rich colors and was gorgeous – easily the best on any of the many tablets we’ve seen so far at CES – and the soft-touch plastic back just felt fantastic to hold. This is easily the best tablet out of the 75 featured at CES 2011.

Android 3.0 looks great for tablets, but there’s no word on phone-specific updates and how many of the interface elements will be available on smartphones. From the sounds of it, it is going to be a huge year for Google, for the Android O/S, and for Tablets. Stay tuned for more – we will most certainly keep you posted as the latest and greatest Android news breaks.

Motorola Xoom Specs:

Motorola XOOM Features

  • Android 3.0
  • 10.1 inch display
  • Dual Core 1 Ghz CPU NVIDIA Tegra 2
  • 1GB RAM
  • 32 GB inbuilt memory with microSD Card slot
  • 10 hr video playback battery life
  • 5 MP Rear camera with Flash and  720p HD video capture
  • 2MP video calling camera
  • Wifi(n) Bluetooth 2.1, 3G , 4G

Motorola XOOM Specs

You can find the complete specs of the Moto Xoom below. Some details might be missing and we would updating it as soon as we have have more info.

Motorola XOOM Tablet
OSAndroid 3.0 Honeycomb
DifferentiationLarger display in smaller form-factor, 1080p HD support, first tablet with Honeycomb software, dual-core 1GHz processor, and a wide range of docking options
Dimensions249.1mm (h) x 167.8mm (w) x 12.9mm (d)
Display10.1” 1280×800 resolution
Weight730 g
ProcessorNVIDIA® Tegra™ 2: 1GHz dual-core processor
BatteryUp to 10 hour video playback
Connectivity3.5mm, micro USB 2.0 HS, Corporate Sync, Wi-Fi 2.4GHz & 5GHz 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR + HID
Network3G, 4G LTE upgradeable, 802.11n w/Personal Hotspot
Messaging/Web/AppsEmail (Corporate Sync, Google Mail, POP3/IMAP embedded, Push Email, Yahoo Mail) , WebKit w/ Flash
Video720p capture/1080p playback/streaming, H.263, H.264, MPEG4
Camera5 MP rear-facing camera with dual LED flash/2MP front-facing camera
Memory32GB on board user memory, SD card support after software update, 1GB DDR2 RAM