In 2010, the iPad was introduced, and for a while, it was the only major tablet on the market, meaning it dominated the market share. But now, new tablets are being released every which way, from companies you’d expect, like Acer and HP, and companies you wouldn’t, like Viewsonic and Motorola. Motorola’s new XOOM tablet has one advantage over all the other Android tablets: it’s the first. It was the first to hit the shelves with Android 3.0, the tablet optimized version of Google’s popular mobile OS. So, is it really that great?
The XOOM, which starts at $600 on Verizon, has similar features to the iPad 2. It’s got a ten inch screen, a 5MP back camera and a 2MP on the front. The power button is on the back, and I’m still wondering where the logic is on that one. Inside it’s a little different: the big benefit it has is that it has Flash player, so it can take advantage of the internet at its fullest. That’s a big thing on the iPad, as some would consider the iPad’s lack of Flash as its biggest problem. When I first saw the buzz for the XOOM on the web, I was skeptical. I wondered: who would ever pay a hundred more bucks than an iPad for something that…wasn’t even an iPad? But when I first got my hands on one, I realized that the XOOM’s biggest weapon isn’t necessarily its hardware: it’s the superior software. Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) really does have an edge over iOS, as the interface is phenomenal, and everything seems a lot cleaner and more mellow than on the iPad, which some consumers might like. Almost none of the apps are tablet-optimized, so the XOOM is way behind the iPad’s 60,000+ apps optimized for its screen size. I found the pricing of the XOOM a tad bit peculiar, though: shouldn’t the unsubsidized version cost less, like on the iPad? Overall, the XOOM is pretty much a draw. If you want Android’s newest system right now, this could be a good choice (especially with 4G support coming), but loads of Honeycomb tablets are right around the corner, so it could be a good idea to wait. We’ve compared some key features on the XOOM with the iPad right below, so you can be the judge of what’s the hotter device.