So, I was one of the people who went out and got the Motorola Xoom on the first day (last week). I’ve kept it quiet till now because I knew I should have waited till after the iPad 2 announcement to make a decision (although there is a 14 day return policy). Now that it is out I’m trying to discern whether my gamble paid off, and I think it did.
I bet against the iPad 2 and I think I won. Now keep in mind that I’m a huge iPhone fan and will get the iPhone 5 in the first few days it comes out, but for a tablet I wanted to take a different route. Below I’m listing the reasons I think I made the right decision… for me. I still think the iPad is the better route for most people. It has zero learning curve if you have an iPhone, and almost zero even if you don’t, not to mention most of us have bought a lot of apps on the iPhone that will work on the iPad (I’ll have to repurchase on the Android). There are definitely a few more things you could put into the “pro” iOS column, but in these [below] other categories the Xoom wins.
iPad 2 specifically? OK, 65,000 apps vs 100… and this cool new cover/case thing… other than that iPad 2 doesn’t have a whole lot going for it right now. This is what I was banking on, only a slight upgrade in features and a decent hardware upgrade. The rumors of iPad 3 launching in the fall is what pushed me over the edge in thinking that the iPad 2 would be a layup.
Reasons I personally like the Xoom over the iPad (1 or 2) in order of significance:
1. Flash – Ok, ok, I know this has been delayed but it works on other Android devices and Adobe says it will be ready for Honeycomb soon. This wouldn’t have been a big deal for me in the past and isn’t an issue on my phone, but I’m using SlideRocket.com more and more so on my tablet I want to be able to edit presentations (for which Flash is required).
2. 4G and tethering – This was actually huge for me and what made me walk into the Verizon store the first day. Again, it won’t come till April or May but the Xoom will have 4G connectivity and allow you to tether other devices. I’ve been wanting a 4G device ever since I tested Clear last spring.
3. Resolution – I love the retina display on my iPhone 4 so much that I now have a hard time going back down. I also want to read more on my tablet. So, I need the highest resolution possible. If I thought iPad 2 would have had the retinal display then I would have gotten it without question, instead I bet it would have the same resolution so went with the Xoom that beats iPad (1 or 2) by 20% of so in this department. Not that much, but my standard is so high now anything helps.
4. Widgets – This gets into the Honeycomb vs iOS debate, but simply put, the “desktop” widgets in Honeycomb are designed for tablets. I get all the info I need using up the right amount of space on my home screen.
5. Width (for typing) – The Xoom is wider in landscape and narrower in portrait than the iPad. I like having a wide landscape for wide movies, but I like the narrower portrait for easier thumb typing.
6. microSD Card – I really like the option of having external memory. I can fill up one card with kid shows and have a separate card for my stuff.
7. Overclocking – Ok, this is a tech nerd thing. I’ve been reading about how people are overclocking (speeding up the processor) for gains of up to 50%. That’s huge and from what I can tell it’s relatively easy and relatively safe. That being said, I will probably wait some time before I try this out of fear of completely destroying Xoomy (that’s what I call him now).
8. Google Integration – I put in my Gmail username and pass at the Verizon store and now everything just works. All my Google life is integrated on the tablet and I think it even backs itself up to Google. This is a big advantage for a heavy Google user such as myself.
9. Google Products – Google has a habit of developing some cool new app and releasing it on the Android first and making everyone else wait. Google Goggles was on Android months before iPhone, Google Sky Map is now on my tablet and came at just the right time (my daughter was learning about constellations in school last week).
10. More file formats – It’s much easier to play almost any kind of video file, any kind of music file or any kind of ebook (and comic book) file than on Apple Products.
11. No button… ok, has a button, but I hardly ever have to use it. I’m always worried I’m going to wear out my home button on the iPhone and have seen other people have issues with the button. On the Xoom you have one on/off button, but the home and task switching are virtual touch buttons on screen.
12. Pattern Lock vs Pin – I like locking down the device since it has important information. It is much easier and only slightly less secure to use the pattern lock vs a pin #.
13. Voice Typing. Built into the keyboard.
14. File management, easier to hack, more open source, blah, blah, blah… all the nerdy open-endedness of the Adroid Platform is attractive because it will allow me to customize the device to my needs. Most users won’t do some of the modifications and such that I will eventually do so this is definitely only a “pro” for tech geeks.
If you are interested in the price debate or Honeycomb vs iOS 4.3 then please let me know in the comments. I could have kept going on those items but am trying to keep this brief.