generally favorable reviews. WSJ's Walt Mossberg even said it is the "first truly comparable competitor to Apple's hit iPad." But the Xoom shipped with something else gadget bloggers couldn't help but take note of - an expensive price tag. The base price for the Xoom without a contract is $800. With a Verizon Wireless contract, it's still $600. A more affordable, Wi-Fi only Xoom is not available at this time. (In the U.S. that is. Europe is another matter). In comparison, an entry-level iPad is $499.This week, the highly anticipated Motorola Xoom tablet launched to
And price is not the only concern tablet shoppers have.
Xoom...or an iPad 2?
Another big "if" is the iPad 2. The elephant in the room of all Xoom reviews is Apple's forthcoming announcement regarding its next generation tablet computer. Expected to be thinner, lighter and camera-equipped, the iPad already has access to an application ecosystem with around 60,000 native tablet apps. Meanwhile, the Xoom, which runs Google's new tablet-optimized Android "Honeycomb" operating system, has far fewer third-party apps available at launch. That may change in time, of course. But it's worth noting that despite Android's overall market share gains, the platform overall still has fewer apps than iPhone (350,000 for iPhone vs maybe 150,000-200,000 for Android). In the app game, Apple products are far, far ahead.
Of course, we'll know more next week after Apple's March 2 press conference takes place.
Pros and Cons
That said, there are things Xoom can do that iPad - version 1 or 2 - cannot. For starters, its native Honeycomb apps built by Google are impressive, innovative, and, in some cases, subjectively speaking, "better" than their iPad counterparts. The Xoom has a different user interface overall thanks to Honeycomb, which some may prefer. With its unique take on multi-tasking, its 3D widgets and customizable homescreens, some users may find the operating system more modern, or more attractive. Again, entirely a subjective opinion.
In a few weeks time, the Xoom will also support Flash video, which the iPad does not (that's either a pro or con, depending on what side of the fence you're on in this hot tech debate). And the Xoom will be upgradable to 4G/LTE, albeit through a somewhat complicated process involving backing up and wiping your data from the tablet (as is recommended) and then shipping it off for a week for a hardware upgrade. Is that a pro or a con?
But at the end of the day, if the Xoom is the first real contender to the iPad, which many agree it is, will it sell? That is the question.
If you're in the market for a tablet, let us know which one you're going for: the Xoom, the iPad 2, or something else. (Vote "other" if you're buying another Android tablet, or you're holding out for HP's TouchPad or RIM's PlayBook. Comment to tell us which one!)
Note: Yes, we've run a similar poll before, but this time we have a real live device on hand, reviewed in detail and an Apple competitor in the wings. It's worth asking again, as we're armed with more info. For what it's worth, last time 849 tablet shoppers said they were going for an Android tablet, 541 said an iPad or iPad 2 and 43 voted "other." Have times or minds changed since then, we wonder, now that the reviews are out? We also added an option for happy iPad (or other tablet) owners to participate, as well as anti-tablet zealots...assuming such a thing exists!