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Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 Honeycomb Tablet Reviews

Motorola Xoom be the first tablet that comes with Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system that is specifically designed for tablets. I got a chance to play with it (along with the Atrix) at it’s Dubai launch today. The Motorola Xoom is a bit shorter than the iPad but offers a bigger sized 10.1″ screen with a higher 1280×800 resolution which gives it a 16:9 aspect ratio for watching movies without the black bars around the screen. It also felt a tad bit heavier than the iPad. 

Motorola has managed to keep the size smaller than the iPad by reducing the bezel which could be a good or bad thing. You hold bigger tablets with two hands and with a smaller bezel, your thumb will be on the screen every time you pick the device up which could possibly tap the screen when you wouldn’t want it to. I’ll reserve my judgement when I receive a review sample which should hopefully be around the time it is launch by the end of March in the UAE (end of Feb in the US.)

We will see two models launched in the UAE- one with just Wi-Fi and the other with W-Fi and 3G and Motorola is working on getting a contract version with the local telcos to avoid higher upfront costs. They did not provide any pricing information but the Best Buy leak suggested $800 in the US so my guess would be around AED 3,500 here.


There is no button on the Xoom and the bottom bit becomes the nav/notification area- whatever your orientation is. Even though the unit is currently in beta, it felt incredibly zippy. The dual-core 1.0GHz Tegra processor along with 1GB RAM certainly helped with that. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Tab, app are specifically designed for tablet usage with Honeycomb as you saw with the Gmail and YouTube app.

Motorola might have to pull a few more strings besides a Super Bowl ad tease if it wants to sell the Xoom at $800. The entry-level price of the iPad is a whole $300 lower, if the leaked promotional material from Engadget is accurate. When comparing to the closest iPad match, the Xoom will still be $70 more expensive that the 32GB 3G iPad ($730). The iPad 2, expected some time this spring, will most likely have the same low entry price (and matching specs), while the older (current) iPad model could also be sold at a discounted price alongside.

There could also be another deal breaker for the Xoom. According to the fine print in the leaked promo, in order to activate WiFi on the Xoom, you will have to purchase a minimum of one month data subscription with Verizon. The Xoom can work on Wi-Fi and on Verizon's 3G and 4G/LTE network, but does that justify disabling the Wi-Fi capability if you don't want to use 3G? Although it's only one month of data, it will cost you $20 for 1GB of data on Verizon's plans for Xoom's, or up to $80 for 10 GB (same as plans for Samsung Galaxy Tab on Verizon).

Overall, to use basic Wi-Fi connectivity on a Motorola Xoom you would need to pay $800 for the tablet, plus $20 for a month of data and up to $35 in activation fees, bringing the cost of the Xoom at a grand total of $855. That's still $25 more expensive than the top-end 64GB 3G iPad. So, if this is indeed Motorola's pricing scheme for the Xoom, Apple doesn't really have to worry about Android tablet domination any time soon.

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