Tag Archive | "xoom"

The State of Android Tablets in 2011. A Survey

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At the beginning of the year, if you would have told me that, by the summer, there would be a dozen different Android tablets available for order from reliable, first tier manufacturers, I would have told you to get outta town. We were likely all desensitized to the constant stream of news that seemingly had the same message: “Company X announced the Y Tablet today. It features blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. No information was released on a launch date or pricing.” It had gotten to the point that I immediately went to the bottom of any announcement of a tablet-device, and if it had the standard blurb about no launch date or word on pricing, I did not read the article.

Read the full story

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)

Motorola Xoom Hands On

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We’ve had a chance to have some hands on wit the Motorola Xoom. To be honest, I’m quite amazed at the difference Honeycomb makes. The multi-pane enhancements make such a difference. The YouTube app has just come alive! Smooth UI (better than the Galaxy Tab) proves that the core has been optimized for a better touch experience too.
I’m impressed, and yet worried about how much it will cost. This is a premium.product that will have a premium price.

We’ve got  a video to show you and will be posting it as soon as we have the chance.

Questions that should be on your Motorola Xoom Checklist

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XoomThere is no doubt that the Motorola Xoom / Honeycomb combination has caused a lot of tablet buyers to hold-back on their purchases. It’s understandable because they will want to see what Android 3.0 and the dual-core processor offering really gives them in terms of value for money.

I’ve just finished adding the Xoom to the product database here and was quite impressed. The weight seems good and the additional barometer and gyroscope sensors could be useful when new applications start taking advantage of them. That’s one of the key things to think about with the Xoom though, the apps. How long will it take for applications to go, not only ‘HD’ with 10 inch screen support at 160dpi but to add fragments and support for multi-threading and the unique features of the Tegra 2 GPU?

I certainly want to get some quality time with the Xoom as soon as possible but in the meantime, I’ve scribbled a few notes down about things I DONT see mentioned in any specifications or marketing information.

  • Video codec support.  While Android 2.0 offers better streaming and media transfer capabilities, it doesn’t add much to the codec support. Of course, you can only include so much in an open-source operating system so it’s up to the manufacturer to add support in for other common formats. I don’t see any mention of WMV or DivX and the MKV container format. OGG? With an HDMI out port you’d expect multiple video codec support AND DLNA certification.
  • Audio. Wireless audio transfer over Bluetooth (A2DP) isn’t easy and isn’t high quality. How about some APT-X support in the A2DP protocol Motorola for some CD-quality wireless audio?
  • Browsing speed. Just how fast is the dual-core processor going to make it. I estimate that 2.2 was about 20% faster than 2.1. That 2.3 added little but that the dual-core CPU under Android 3.0 should add another 20% speed improvement. You’ll be looking at netbook browsing speeds. What’s the tab-limit? Is it still 8 tabs?
  • Battery life. So far we’ve seen average battery life figures coming from Tegra 2. The 2nd core WILL add to the power envelope and with Dalvik attempting to use both cores, it might impact battery life. With a weight of 730gm though I expect Motorola have at least squeezed in a 20wh battery pack. It’s going to need it. That 10 inch screen is LED backlit from what I can tell.  Would it be nice to have a single-core long-battery life mode?
  • Size. 10 inch is great for reading large amounts of text and perfect for the new generation of tablet-based magazines and newspapers. Unfortunately, 720 grams isn’t. Watch out for that if you are thinking of going handheld for any length of time.
  • USB OTG. I don’t see any mention of this so there’s no way to plug a USB keyboard and mouse in. Or a USB stick. Or that fantastic idea that Nokia use, the USB OTG TV and radio receiver.
  • Mic Array. For HQ video and audio calls (a feature of Honeycomb) I’d expect to be able to use the device without headphones. A dual-mic array can really help here.
  • HD cam – Does it have continuous auto-focus? Are there any camera features over and above what Honeycomb provides? Probably not. And what about the quality of the optics?
  • Stereo speakers? I only see one speaker port on the device.
  • FM radio / transmitter. FM radio is still the lowest-power method of receiving audio broadcasts. An FM transmitter will help get that audio to the back seats of the car for the kids to watch a video together.
  • Removable battery. One to note because it doesn’t have one, like most tablets.
  • Is the headphone port a headset port?
  • Analogue video out – Unsupported I believe.
  • Stand. Flip out stands are worth having.
  • Voice call capability? SMS, MMS capability. EU video calling?
  • Consumer IR. I still don’t understand why these don’t appear on tablets. A TV-remote app would be the ultimate in laziness.
  • Multi-track audio pass-through via HDMI. If the unit can’t handle AC3 or similar, you might not be able to play the audio. The same problem occurs on the Galaxy Tab and it is annoying!
  • Haptic feedback / vibration notifications
  • Split keyboard for two-handed use in landscape mode?
  • Tethering to phone for non-3G use?
  • Scratch resistant touchscreen?

Is there anything else you’re wondering about?

The Motorola Xoom is going to be a breakthrough device, make no mistake. Honeycomb finally stamps the ‘tablet’ seal of approval on Android and the dual-core Tegra 2 platform is going to shine. There are some nice accessories too but don’t let all the marketing fuzz distract you from your task of finding a tablet that suits YOU! Make that checklist now!

The Motorola Xoom specifications are now in the database.

More on tablet design:

Making a HIT. (Your Checklist for a Quality Handheld Internet Tablet)

Things to Consider when Designing or Buying a Tablet-Style Device

Notes on productivity issues with Tablets:

30 iPad Productivity Problems.

Motorola Xoom for Verizon Launches

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At the Motorola Press conference, live now, the Xoom is about to launch has launched. The press pics and specs are below.

“The MOTOROLA XOOM is the world’s first tablet with a dual-core processor and Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). inch

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Specs:

  • 5MP camera, webcam
  • 1GB RAM
  • HD camcorder
  • 4G option,
  • dual core cpu (Tegra)
  • 10.1″, 1280×800 screen with Gorilla Glass

Weight and price unknown at present.

Launching as a 3G/Wifi version in Q1 2011.

There are two docks and a BT keyboard as accessories…

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Click to enlarge and click here to see all pics.

Full press release:

LAS VEGAS and BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – CES –Jan. 5, 2011 – Verizon Wireless and Motorola Mobility, Inc. (NYSE: MMI), today unveiled the innovative new tablet Motorola XOOMâ„¢ − the first device on Google’s new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system designed from the ground up for tablets. The Honeycomb user experience improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization and features the latest Google Mobile innovations. Boasting a dual core processor with each core running at 1 GHz, delivering up to two GHz of processing power, and 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, Motorola XOOM gives Verizon Wireless customers a new type of mobile computing experience on a stylishly thin device that is 4G LTE upgradeable.

Motorola XOOM redefines the tablet device category by providing more ways to have fun, connect with friends and stay productive on the go. It allows consumers to experience HD content right on the device, supports 1080p HD video and HDMI output to display content on larger HD screens, and plays video and other rich web content seamlessly with Adobe® Flash® Player. Motorola XOOM features a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G LTE, as well as a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD. It delivers console-like gaming performance on its 1280×800 display, and features a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer and adaptive lighting for new types of applications. It also features Google Maps 5.0 with 3D interaction and delivers access to over 3 million Google eBooks and thousands of apps from Android Marketâ„¢.

For working on the go, Motorola XOOM provides constant connectivity − including connecting to Gmail or Exchange email; opening and editing documents, spreadsheets and presentations; and viewing calendars and sending out appointments or meeting notices – with mobile broadband speeds. Its mobile hotspot capability provides an online connection for up to five other Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

“Motorola XOOM is a powerful addition to Verizon’s product lineup and builds on our combined leadership with Motorola to deliver innovative mobile devices and service on the Android platform, inch said Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “Motorola XOOM gives consumers complete access and control of their favorite personal content and work files whether through our nationwide 3G network, or through our lightning-fast 4G LTE network as it rolls out around the country. inch

“Light, powerful and fundamentally different than anything else on the market, Motorola XOOM leverages the very best technology available today to redefine what a tablet experience can be, inch said Bill Ogle, chief marketing officer of Motorola Mobility. “The first device to feature software designed specifically for tablets, Motorola XOOM goes everywhere you do and delivers everything you need. inch

The Motorola XOOM device will launch as a 3G/Wi-Fi-enabled device in Q1 2011 with an upgrade to 4G LTE in Q2. Starting in Q2 2011 the Motorola XOOM will be a 4G LTE/Wi-Fi- enabled device.

Motorola information available here.

Press Release

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