Tag Archive | "motorola xoom"

Today Only: Motorola Xoom 32GB WiFi for $349!

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Every once and a while, our favorite deal-a-day site — Woot.com — offers up a nice treat for tablet fans such as ourselves. Today they’ve got the very first Honeycomb tablet to hit the streets, the Motorola Xoom, for a reasonable $349.

This is the WiFi-only 32GB version of the Motorola Xoom. Aside from lacking the components that facilitate WLAN capabilities, and a silver metalic back (instead of a black rubbery one), it’s nearly identical to the carrier version. Here are the vital specs:

  • 10.1″ screen @ 1280×800
  • Dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU @ 1GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • Android 3.1 Honeycomb
  • 5MP rear-facing camera, 2MP front-facing camera (720p video capture)
  • WiFi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Micro HDMI, Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack, AC adapter (cannot charge through Micro USB)
  • 32GB capacity
  • 731 grams

See even more detailed specs and info at the Motorola Xoom tracking page in our mobile device database. We’ve also got a gallery full of Motorola Xoom photos if you’re interested.

After playing with the Xoom a while back, I have to say that I was underwhelmed by it’s performance. Updates to Honeycomb helped, but it was still far too buggy for my taste. I also looked at the unit as a video editing platform, but came away with the same sense that I had with Honeycomb — they need time to mature.

Next to Amazon’s just announced $199 Kindle Fire, I can’t say the Xoom is too appealing right now. Still, you may be itching for a 10″ tablet rather than Amazon’s 7″ offering. If that’s the case, Woot has a good deal for you. Their $349 price tag is $109 (24%) less than you’ll be able to find it on Amazon at the moment, and $150 (31%) less than you can get it directly from Motorola!

Go check out Woot.com to get in on this deal. Don’t forget, Woot sales are only good for one day, which means this deal will be gone forever at 1AM EST (and has a chance of selling out even before that time)! Good luck.

Verizon’s Phone Leak, Visualized. Galaxy Tab 4G Coming in November (but which one?), Among Other LTE Devices

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IGN managed to get a hold of what their source claims is an internal document listing launch dates for 14 upcoming devices. Swing by IGN to see the original document, but also hang here to see that I’ve taken the information and plotted it on a handy timeline for you (I am a visual person, after all). Be sure to click to bigify:

verizon phone leak

Among the devices listed are the Motorola Droid Bionic (I accidentally didn’t note it as being 4G), which has seen a number of delays, and the Motorola Xoom 4G upgrade, both of which we had already heard were coming in September, so corroboration makes this leak seem quite legit.

According to the leak, Verizon is set to add five additional 4G LTE devices to their shelves that weren’t part of their initial 4G lineup. Those devices include:

  • Samsung Stratosphere
  • Blackberry Curve 9370
  • HTC Vigor
  • LG Revolution 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G

The Droid Bionic and Xoom were part of Verizon’s early 4G lineup, so we already knew they were coming down the line. The ones listed above, however, are mostly new.

I say mostly because we’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Tab 4G which, at first, was announced as a 4G version of the original Galaxy Tab 7, but it may end up being the Galaxy Tab 8.9, instead. Verizon had it listed as the “P8” on the leaked chart, but it is unclear exactly what that means. Whichever form it comes in, the leak tells us that it’ll be happening sometime in November.

The HTC Vigor is specifically designated as being a replacement for the HTC Thunderbolt which was Verizon’s very first 4G device. Similarly, the Revolution 2 is going to replace the… wait for it… Revolution (bet you didn’t see that one coming!), which I’m hoping will provide better battery life, faster charging, and better standby than the original.

The Blackberry PlayBook is also listed on the leaked list, but its launch date is listed as “TBD”.

What’s obviously missing here is any information regarding the iPhone 5 or iPad 3, but any information regarding those devices is unlikely to be known outside of Apple until they announce it publicly. Still, that doesn’t stop us from speculating.

If all of this turns out to be true, Verizon has a powerful pre-holiday lineup; I can only hope that the other major carriers have such an exciting group of devices ready to go!

via: The Droid Guy

source: IGN Gear

Openness and Stability — the Self-Administered Mobile Ecosystem

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I love Android. Actually, on any given day of the week, I am probably in love with various mobile Operating Systems. Every once in a while, I even do a desperate Google-Bing deep-dive in an attempt to find a viable WindowsCE device. On those different days, I am likely to be most in love with the mobile OS that is aggravating me the least. Due to this dynamic, it gets a little unfair for the most popular OS in my current kits, because it gets more chances to irritate me due to the increased exposure.

Android comes with a decent set of cons for every pro that it carries. I love the suppleness of the software design, which allows developers to bend it to their will and deploy many different flavors of operability. The Android Market features many different riffs on common themes for apps, which allows you to find one that is tailored to your particular tastes. I think this effect is less prevalent in the Apple App Store, where I feel like once one developer figures out the hook that gets everyone on-board with their app, then we just see derivations of that common design. As a consequence, I run significantly fewer apps on my iOS devices than I do on my Android devices.

However, Android could be perceived as suffering from more instability due to the very openness that makes it so powerful and attractive. Instability in core apps that any Android user would be dependent upon has occurred. Add the multiple sources of apps that so many of us access, vice the one-stop source that the vast majority of iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Blackberry OS users go to, and the risk of instability increases. Users and the media go on-and-on about how Flash gives Android an advantage over iOS, yet it is one of the first things I disable on any desktop OS or mobile device. Besides the security vulnerabilities, I absolutely despise the performance hit that occurs whenever I go to a site that automatically  runs a heavy flash video that I have zero interest in seeing.

But then… maybe I am not the best Android user, because I am arguably a horrible system administrator. If things start to go bad, I do not have a lot of time to troubleshoot. My regular job, writing for the various tech sites, the dog, grad school…when something does not work, I am likely to just punt.

I have had to reset my Motorola Xoom to its factory defaults and start over for the first time this week, after about 3 months of use. Unfortunately, this is not the first Android device I have felt compelled to take this approach with. I have been using Android extensively for about 15 months. I have gone through about 7 devices so far. With each, there always seems to come the point where I install the one app too many. Or some setting that I configure injects a level of instability that just never recovers to an acceptable state, despite power cycling and soft resets. This happened numerous times on my Motorola Droid. I have felt compelled to wipe my Dell Streak 7 twice. I will admit that the original Archos 7 Home Tablet was a questionable product and perhaps I should not count its instability in my Android reset totals. Still, I had to perform a do-over several times in the brief time that I ran that device.

You may have been following my series on using the Acer Iconia A500 for business purposes. One thing that I am doing vastly different in that use-case is that I have installed a very specific set of apps, and I do not intend to add anymore. I also do not run any widgets on my homescreens, other than the Calendar Widget. It is vitaly important that I retain a robust level of stability on that device. When my business device goes down, I am severely hamstrung. That need for stability is in fact one of the reasons I went with a new Android device for this go-round, rather than try and use one that I was already running. Which brings me to why I cannot solely blame Android for my problems.

The truth is, I know what I need to do to stop some of this instability. I know that I need to stop deploying widgets across every homescreen as soon as I set up a device (see Ben’s article from last year on his feelings on widget-oriented OS’). I know that I need to establish a set of baseline apps, install them, run that configuration for a few weeks, and then add apps a few at a time. But I cannot help myself. On Android, I exhibit the same app junkie behavior that I chastise so many iOS users for. In that vein, I am a digital hypocrite. And for that reason, I sometimes wind up paying the price in running my little Android farm.

The good news is that a wipe and reset of an Android device is not has destructive as, say, doing the same on a Windows desktop system. In fact, in certain ways it is even fun. And backing up and syncing your apps to your Google ID makes restoring any Android device a snap. So, while self-administering devices that have a skosh less stability than some others incurs an additional burden, it is not yet at the level that I am considering reducing my Android entrenchment. Maybe one day; but not today.

How about everyone else out there? Do you find the need to do a total restore on your devices to reinvigorate them, or have you been happy from day one?

Xoom Won’t See 4G Upgrade Until September, Motorola Ought to Apologize

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Motorola is definitely going to get a bad rap for this one. Remember that Xoom that Motorola claimed would be the first 4G LTE tablet, once sent in for an after-sale upgrade? Yeah well the Xoom has been out for months now with no word on when that upgrade would become available. Today Samsung has officially beaten Motorola to offering the first tablet with 4G LTE, much to the chagrin of Xoom owners.

As we mentioned just the other day, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now officially available, making it the first 4G tablet, available with Verizon’s speedy LTE connectivity, to actually ship, you know, with a 4G radio installed.

The Xoom, which launched back in February, was purportedly going to be upgradable to 4G at some point in the near future. While the device is indeed upgradable, it seems that Verizon/Motorola’s definition of ‘near future’ isn’t quite aligned with the definition the people who bought the device.

After months with no official information about when the upgrade would actually happen, Motorola is now (right as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is launched) sending emails to customers letting them know that the upgrade process will begin in September – nearly 7 months after the Xoom was made available.

The upgrade process, which requires that customers actually ship their devices in, will take 6 business days to complete, according to Verizon.

I really think Motorola should offer an apology to those who had to wait so long for the upgrade without and communication from Motorola as to when the upgrade would become available. Perhaps they could even offer a little something to owners of the Xoom, like credit to the Android Marketplace to buy an app or movie.

Source: Droid Life

Today Only! Motorola Xoom 32GB WiFi-only for $399

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woot xoomThanks to the folks over at deal-a-day site, Woot.com, you have the option of picking up the first ever Honeycomb tablet, the Motorola Xoom, for $399. This is a refurbished 32GB WiFi-only unit. The 10.1 inch tablet is running Honeycomb 3.1 (the latest version).

If you don’t mind picking up a refurbished unit, you’ll be saving yourself a cool $200 off the asking price of $599 that you’ll find for a new WiFi-only Xoom direct from Motorola. This deal even beats the device new from Amazon which would run you $499.

It is my personal opinion that Honeycomb is not yet good enough for the mainstream. If you want value in a tablet today, go buy an iPad 2. The Xoom itself is a decent bit of hardware, if a bit heavy, but the software still needs time to mature. The Android Marketplace is not yet loaded with enough Honeycomb apps to make the Xoom shine as a tablet, and the Honeycomb interface is not intuitive enough for your average user.

That said, you may not be a mainstreamer, and may be willing to put up with Honeycomb’s rough edges for the sweet customizability that is Android’s hallmark. If that’s the case, we’ve had our hands all over the Xoom; if you need some questions answered, feel free to comment below. We’ve also got some Xoom related content that might aid in your potential purchase decision (also check below for specs):

Have a look at the specs:

  • Android Honeycomb 3.1
  • Dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 CPU @ 1GHz
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 10.1 inch capacitive multitouch screen @ 1280×800
  • Micro HDMI-out
  • MicroUSB port
  • 32GB of built-in memory
  • Rear-facing 5MP camera (capable of 720p recording)
  • Front-facing 2MP camera
  • WiFi a/b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS, magnetometer, proximity sensor, accelerometer, and gyroscope
  • Android Marketplace access
  • 3250 mAh battery
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Adobe Flash capable
  • 249.1 x 167.8 x 12.9 mm / 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches
  • 708 grams / 25 ounces

Don’t forget that this deal be completely gone at 1AM EST, and may sell out (likely will!) before that time comes. Best of luck!

Motorola Xoom Testing Notes and Benchmarks

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photoAs with the HTC Thunderbolt, I’ll be dropping my Xoom testing notes here. This isn’t a full review (though Laptop Mag has a nice thorough one if that’s what you’re looking for). These are just a few thoughts I had while using the device (and waiting and wondering when the 4G upgrade will be come available).

Notes

  • The Xoom seems to collect dust and fingerprints very well. More so than other devices I’ve used. The Xoom may lack an olephobic coating that is designs to reduce the amount of finger oils that stick to the screen. The dust attraction could be from a slight static charge building on the screen.

IMG_5402

  • Auto-correct is mostly invisible and doesn’t correct very well by default. If you go into the keyboard options, you can enable ‘show suggestions’ and increase the agressiveness of the auto-correct which improved the typing experience for me.
  • The lock button (on the back of the device) works well when the tablet is in your hands, but it’s a pain when the device is flat on a table or in your lap (which it usually is when you’re typing). People that I give the Xoom too (even those familiar with technology) usually spend at lest 20 seconds looking for the lock button, which easily marks it as being not placed in an intuitive place.

DSC_4007

  • The screen is glossy and highly reflective; a pain to use with bright overhead lights found in office and school environments.
  • The portrait keyboard is a better size than the iPad’s (ie: easily thumb-typable but the aspect ratio and weight of the devices makes it harder to use than I’d prefer. The option to float the keyboard in the middle of the screen (like the iPad will do with iOS 5) would distribute the weight more evenly and make for a better portrait typing experience. Extended portrait typing with the current keyboard layout will likely cause strain as you have to hold the weight of the device with your palms while typing with your thumbs.

photo (1)

  • Quick controls on the browser is great for maximizing screen real-estate and making navigation quick and easy. Just swipe onto the browser from the left or right of the screen and you’ve got all of your browser controls quite literally at the tip of your finger. Android Honeycomb 3.1 updated this to offer even more comprehensive controls from quick controls. Be sure to activate quick controls in your browser’s settings menu under Labs.

DSC_4010

  • The familiar four Android buttons have moved into software which is good because they change with the orientation of the device. The ‘menu’ button has been removed in favor of putting things that would otherwise be hidden by the button into the software of the application itself.
  • Keyboard input can be slow on ‘heavy’ sites like Facebook which makes typing a pain.
  • Auto-rotation on the screen is was slower than it seems it should be – doesn’t feel responsive.
  • Lack of portrait support in the Market app is annoying!

DSC_4027

Benchmarks

quadrant xoom

xoom linpack

xoom sunspider

So there you have it! If you’re interested we’ve got some other great coverage on the Xoom:

Android 3.1 Hands-on Testing: Performance, Browser Quick Controls, Flash Playback, and More [video]

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IMG_5719Our Motorola Xoom [tracking page] has finally managed to find the Android 3.1 Honeycomb update that Google pushed out the other day. We gave you a thorough overview of the 3.1 update based on the official information provided, but there’s only so much that text can say. To understand the changes sometimes you just have to experience them. Often times a lot of the little changes go largely undocumented. So to answer that call, we’ve got a hands-on video for you. Have a look:

WARNING: Please turn your volume down before 14:20. I forgot to enable airplane mode on my phone and the subsequent vibration is frighteningly loud. My apologies!

Editing HD Video with Movie Studio on Android 3.0 / Motorola Xoom [video]

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xoom androidTablets increasingly seem to want to go from companion device to dedicated device, but there’s a lot of catching up to do in terms of productivity before that can actually happen. Today, most modern smartphones are capable of capturing 720p video, that means that if a tablet wants even a chance at being a standalone device, it’s going to need to at least be able to edit those files.

Android 3.0 (honeycomb) comes pre-baked with a Movie Studio application which wowed the press with what appeared to be full-fledged video editing on the tablet. But now that the Xoom [tracking page] is available to the public, we have to ask (and I can’t believe I haven’t seen people be more critical about this): Is the video editing really up to the task? You be the judge:

Incidentally, this video was shot, edited, and processed on an iPhone 4 (but not uploaded, damn YouTube file size limitations!).

Motorola Xoom and Android 3.0 Overview Video

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XOOM_high_POV_Home_VZWWe’ve got the Motorola Xoom [tracking page] on hand and have a nearly 30 minute-long overview session for you on video. You’ll be taken around the hardware of Motorola’s first slate and then we’ll dive into Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

WARNING: please turn your volume down around 0:30, 16:06, and 17:24. My phone vibrated during recording and it came out very loudly on the video, my apologies!

Field Guide: Verizon’s Six Upcoming 4G Devices – 4 Smartphones, 2 Tablets – Pics, Specs, and More

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verizon 4g lte devicesWith the launch of Verizon’s first 4G (LTE) smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, just behind us I thought it’d be a good time to lay down an overview of Verizon’s initial 4G device lineup. If you’re planning on jumping into the 4G action, listen up: these are the devices that you’ll be seeing right down the road.

At Verizon’s CES 2011 keynote, the company announced a goal to launch 10 4G devices by mid-year (which is now being refined to “summer”). Of those 10 devices, four are smartphones and two are tablets.

Availability:

All of the devices listed in this article will be available by this summer, according to Verizon.

As for 4G coverage, Verizon is continuing to roll out coverage to more regions. Take a look at the following map to see if your area is already 4G enabled, or marked as coming in 2011 (be sure to read the map legend!)

http://network4g.verizonwireless.com/pdf/VZW_4G_LTE_Coverage_Map.pdf

We saw the launch of the first of Verizon’s four upcoming 4G phones with the HTC Thunderbolt just a few days ago:

HTC Thunderbolt

htc thunderbolt front-backThe sleek looking HTC Thunderbolt is already in the hands of consumers, and we’ve seen some incredible 4G speed tests so far – speeds that easily outperform my home broadband connection (and probably yours too!). Check out this video from GottabeMobile.com of the Thunderbolt benchmarking 24.30Mbps download and 16.60Mbps upload:

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This is no doubt very impressive, but be forewarned: Verizon does not anticipate that customers will see these speeds once the 4G waves become saturated with users. Verizon has been claiming from the beginning of their LTE campaign that users should expect 5-12Mbps download and 2-5Mbps upload.

They are getting great press thanks to the ridiculous speed that the Thunderbolt achieves and even though the speed will reduce as 4G devices become more widespread, they are going to benefit greatly because the idea that “Verizon’s 4G is fast” is going to stick around in the heads of the general public much more easily than specific figures. When customers pick up a 4G phone, even after the speeds have come down to 5-12Mbps, they’ll likely still be impressed with the speed if they are coming from 3G.

Specs:

The HTC Thunderbolt isn’t just a data speed-demon, it’s also a top-of-the-line smartphone packed with some impressive hardware:

  • Android 2.2 with HTC Sense interface (unfortunately not 2.3!)
  • Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon CPU @ 1GHz (Qualcomm MDM9600 chipset with LTE support)
  • 768MB of RAM
  • 8GB of built-in memory + 32GB pre-installed Micro-SD card
  • 4.3” capacitive touchscreen @ 800×480
  • 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus, 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS, FM radio

It’s also got a sweet kickstand – a hallmark of several HTC devices:

htc thunderbolt stand

I’m disappointed that it isn’t using running Android 2.3, but it seems like almost every upcoming device has this in common with the Thunderbolt. If we’re lucky, we’ll see an update to 2.3 down the road.

What it doesn’t have in common with most other smartphones on the market today is that the front-facing camera is 1.3MP instead of 0.3MP, this should offer a nice boost in video-calling quality (especially over 4G where the bandwidth is there for higher quality video).

Reviews:

If you’re looking for some quality info about the Thunderbolt, check out these reviews:

Next Up: Motorola Droid Bionic

Xoom Reviews Highlight Speed, UI, Multitasking, Possible Rush to Market.

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Many of the large U.S. based computing websites got a Xoom to test under embargo recently and obviously there’s been a quick rush of content out of the door as the embargo lifts today. (List of reviews below)

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More images in our Gallery

Our Hand-on Here.

Full specs, review links and more videos here.

Of the Honeycomb tablets we saw at MWC the Xoom was clearly the best in terms of UI-feel but both Samsung and LG still have time to optimise their software before launch. Interestingly, the Xoom is looking very vanilla in terms of applications and that’s probably because this is a project that Google have been heavily involved with as the launch product for Honeycomb. Expect both the Samsung and the LG tablets to have different angles with Samsung likely to go for a heavily enhanced software package and LG using their 3D technology to make a difference.

Back to the Xoom though and it’s difficult to get a real feel from what looks like a 2-day hands-on before the ‘reviews’ were posted but there’s already unanimous agreement that the UI is good, it’s fast (we measured the fastest Sunspider/Android result ever on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which uses the same hardware and software.)

There’s also a widespread worry about the lack of Honeycomb/Tegra2 optimised software (although the Google applications suite does look to be well designed) and obviously a question over the $799 price. That, however, is likely to drop fairly quickly as soon as market competitors launch.

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Image via Slashgear

Battery life reports are positive as are thoughts on the camera quality and software. It remains to be seen just how many will be using it as a photographic device but there’s some interesting virtual reality use-cases that shouldn’t be forgotten.

One element of the software suite that I’m interested in is the video editing software. Without even looking at it I can’t see how it can be that fast at processing 720p video for overlays and fades; processes which take huge amounts of CPU power. We must not forget that the Tegra 2 platform is still in the sub-netbook performance category. Engadget report that Movie Studio is ‘ inchgenerally sluggish. inch Laptop Magazine, however, calls it a “fairly robust editing app. inch but then goes on to talk about how the Xoom started to get “bogged down inch when previewing and editing.

Flash support is missing along with support for the Micro SD card slot but Motorola are promising a software update to enable those features.

There’s a feeling that Motorola might not have been 100% ready for the launch of the Xoom but have gone ahead and taken the risk anyway. We would expect the first firmware updates in just a few weeks an at that point it’s probably worth re-visiting updated reviews to see if some of the holes have been patched.

At $799 the Xoom is not quite worth its money in its current state and with competitors like the Iconia Tab, Galaxy Tab 10.1, LG Optimus Pad and, potentially, an iPad 2 it would pay to wait. Certainly don’t go committing to a 2-year contract today!

A list of current reviews is show below and we’ve selected some YouTube videos for the product database page. Tip us here if you see any other good reviews.

Motorola Xoom Review Roundup
Motorola Xoom Review – PC Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Laptop Magazine
Motorola Xoom Review – Mobile Crunch
Motorola Xoom Review – Cnet
Motorola Xoom Review – JKontheRun
Motorola Xoom Review – Android Community
Motorola Xoom Review – Engadget
Motorola Xoom Review – Slashgear

Also check the Xoom Questions List before you buy.

Motorola Xoom Hands-On and UI Demo

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In a previous post I highlighted my surprise at how different Honeycomb really is. The UI is totally different, the apps totally re-worked and obviously the core has been optimised for fast touch response. Check it out in this video from MWC 2011

Motorola Xoom (4)