Motorola Xoom - Testing tablets

Motorola xoom

Stats: Introduced in January, the Motorola (NYSE:MMI) Xoom is the first tablet to run Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Honeycomb operating system, version 3.0 of Android. It boasts a dual-core processor with each core running at 1 GHz, delivering up to 2 GHz of processing power, and features a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display. The device supports 1080p HD video and HDMI output to display content on larger HD screens. Additionally, the Xoom has a front-facing, 2-megapixel camera for video chats over Wi-Fi or 3G or LTE, as well as a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD. The gadget is available through Verizon Wireless for $600 with a two-year contract; Motorola also announced a $600 Wi-Fi-only version. Motorola has promised that current Xoom owners on Verizon will be able to upgrade their gadget to LTE at some point this year.

Pros: The Xoom has earned raves for its sleek design. And Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said Android 3.0 brings to tablets excellent Gmail integration and the ability to install widgets on a user's homepage.  

Cons: A number of reviewers have pointed to the current dearth of Android 3.0 apps, though Greengart noted that Google has a good track record with enticing developers to its platform. Further, a number of other vendors, including LG and Samsung, plan to release Honeycomb tablets, actions that will help grow the addressable market for Honeycomb developers.

However, some reviewers have noted that the Xoom, powered by Honeycomb, doesn't bring much to the table.

"I think that the Motorola XOOM is a great product, I'm just not 100 percent sold on Honeycomb at this point as an operating system," wrote Jonathan S. Geller of Boy Genius Report. "I don't believe it's very innovative, and I don't find it to be any better than alternatives in terms of ease of use, intuitiveness, or wide availability of apps."

Others have noted that the Xoom is more expensive than the iPad 2.

"Motorola's Xoom is fundamentally a solid product--Honeycomb looks great--with a few weaknesses, most especially its price (including for a two-year data plan contract) but also early lack of Adobe Flash support and a long turnaround for the 4G upgrade," said IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian.

Bottomline: "It is better than the iPad? No, but it's excellent," said Greengart. "It's a really nice tablet, but it's competing against the iPad without bringing that much to the table that's superior."

Motorola Xoom - Testing tablets