Why the Motorola Xoom Matters

Wayne Rash

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12 Hot New Tablets Hitting the Market

The hints about the capabilities of the Motorola Xoom  were subtle when the first television commercial appeared during the Super Bowl this year. The ad, which paid homage to Apple's famed '1984' commercial, while also quietly pointing out ways in which the Xoom was better, was an attempt to do Apple one better. On the surface it was a love story, but in the process of getting there, the ad pointed out the Xoom's cameras, its GPS and geographic database, and its ability to send movies from one device to another.

Regardless of whether you're an iPad fan or an Android fan, this was an excellent commercial that raised the bar of competition. And it's a bar that badly needed to be raised. While there are several Android tablets available now, they aren't really competition for the Apple iPad. Some of the Android tablets are a little too small to be useful, some really aren't running an operating system designed for a tablet environment and some-the cheap ones-aren't very well made. The Xoom brings some serious competition to the tablet market.

Chances are, Hewlett-Packard will do the same when we finally get to see something substantive about its WebOS tablet, but that hasn't happened yet. But for now, Motorola is probably the most serious competition Apple has for your tablet dollars. In addition, because it runs on the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, you can expect to see a near-constant stream of updates once the device is introduced. By the looks of the Super Bowl ad, the Xoom already is more feature-rich than the iPad. Continued improvement will keep Apple's feet to the fire when it comes to meeting customer demand in the future.

And if there's anything Apple needs, it's a little motivation to meet customer demand. For far too long the company has selected features based on what Apple and its executives thought was cool. What the customers wanted wasn't usually part of the equation. This is why you don't have Flash on your iPad or iPhone, for example. It's not because it won't work, it's because Steve Jobs and other Apple executives don't like it. In the past Apple could get away with this because there was relatively little serious competition.

Now, however, competition has arrived. Motorola has repeatedly shown that it can produce devices and deliver software that can give Apple a run for its money. Its Droid line of phones, produced for Verizon Wireless, was a large part of the reason why Android has passed Apple's iOS in sales. Now, Motorola, working again with Verizon Wireless, is getting ready to do the same thing for tablets.

Of course, it's unlikely that Motorola will drive Apple from the enterprise, but what the Xoom will do is provide features that the iPad doesn't have, and do a good enough job providing them that customers will want to buy Xooms for work instead of iPads. Apple, wanting to keep its market share up this time, will have little choice but to respond to customer demand. When this happens, tablets of all types will get better-resulting in a win-win situation for you, the customer.

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Feb 9, 2011 3:02 PM mva5580 mva5580  says:
It looks like a solid device, but it's going to sell for crap considering how they've chosen to price it. Just stupid. Apple is going to unveil the iPad 2 which will have similar specs, and you'll still be able to buy an iPad 2 for $500. I wanted a Xoom.....I'll just wait until they either drop the price or a better Android 3.0 tablet is released at a more reasonable price. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I agree, u really can't compare the xoom to the original ipad. With that said u can't compare the original ipad price to the ipad 2. I'm sure the addition of 2 cameras, dual core chip, more ram, higher res display will make the ipad 2 more expensive, too. ANDROIDS EAT APPLES! Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Its called an iPad for a reason. All the Apple drones need one to complete their iDouche collection. Xoom & Android are for all the linux gear heads who know there a better way to do things and don't like being limited by what corporations think is best (Microsoft or Apple for that matter). Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
There is no win win for the consumer at 800 dollars. Apple doesn't have to do anything but keep selling ipads at the current price. With motorolas current pricing strategy, they have sadly deemed themselves irrelevant. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
The xoom will require one month worth of data package from vzw, like any other 3G capable tablet. I work for vzw as a sales rep... if you want a 3G capable tablet you have to take at least one months service (minimum $20 for 1 GB of data + a $35 activation fee). Anyways, if you buy it at costco I almost guarantee it will be cheaper from the get go, plus they give you a mail in rebate for that pesky activation fee AND you get a 30 day price match guarantee as well as a 90 day return policy with no restocking fee. I'm getting mine from costco on launch day... Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:05 PM Maelgrim Maelgrim  says: in response to mva5580
I agree with you. I was all siked to get the Xoom, until I saw the price. There are plenty of other competing tablet releasing with the same specs that I might look into. I hear there are going to be tablets from the follwoing manufacturers: Toshiba, Vizio, Samsung and Asus. In addition to the pricing, it sounds like Motorola is teaming up with Verizon and forcing buyers to buy a monthly plan for $20 extra, otherwise the Wifi will not be activated (making the tablet useless). Conclusion: Great specs on the tablet, but they are looking at making money, over the customer satisfaction. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:20 PM MaelgrimIsAMoron MaelgrimIsAMoron  says: in response to Maelgrim
"forcing buyers to buy a monthly plan for $20 extra, otherwise the Wifi will not be activated" complete BS, cite a source. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:33 PM mva5580 mva5580  says: in response to Anonymous
So incredibly stupid. I totally believe you, yet I find it unbelievable. How strange is that. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 4:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Anonymous
This is so true! Reply
Feb 9, 2011 5:02 PM Tom Tom  says:
I disagree with this...the one argument that android fanboys have is no flash !! Well there's an app for that.lol it's called skyfire. And how can you compare a Tablet that hasn't even been released to a tablet thats almost a year old ? The iPad 2 is going to blow this out of the water with specs and upcoming iOS release! And with the price tag for the low end tablet being only 500 Who's gonna rush out and get this for 800 not including activation and data. and people dont want to pay three different companies to get content on their phone Amazon for music,google paypal apps,and for movies o I'm sorry there isn't one. And books kindle or nook...I mean iOS has all of that and all u have to do is put Your credit card in once! And no Netflix I mean come on windows phone has that! and iOS has AirPrint airplay pretty soon there gonna have the cloud dont believe me Look it up! And android market sucks they have like no apps that are worth anything anyways Look at the quality of an app on an evo and then look at that same app on iOS it's far superior And the iPad has 60'000 apps and counting specifically for the iPad. How many does android Have? 10 by the manufacturer lol...o I almost forgot how many people have android 2.3 huh no one And how many have 2.2 about only half of phones and it's been out for how long! 90% of of iOS users Are on iOS 4...and iOS 4.2..53% and that's just because people haven't plugged it into there computer Or don't have Internet...android is a cool concept I mean widgets are pretty cool but there's just so much Fragmentation...I mean I own a htc evo my dad owns a droid x and step mom own a fascinate and I also own an iPad and a iPod touch so I know what I'm talking about Reply
Feb 9, 2011 5:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I agree with this article 100%. Apple needs competition and maybe it will get them to start producing better devices. To be honest, I would rather pay a little bit more for a Xoom and be able to do twice as much than I could with an Ipad or Ipad2. To me, Apple is just a main stream brand name for people who don't know as much about computers and don't care about having an open device. Apple customers only care about having a stylish device that is easy to use. As for me, I'm all about specs and what the device can do. For people saying the Xoom is way over priced, get real. The 32gb wifi ipad is $729... $70 more for the xoom? Hell yeah. I totally wouldn't mind if the price of the Xoom went down, but i believe $799 is very reasonable. As for the 1 month service plan to activate wifi? Big bloody deal. If you have that much money to spend on and Ipad or Xoom, $20 plan for one month won't kill you. If you don't want to pay for that, have fun with your Ipad. :) Reply
Feb 9, 2011 5:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Tom
How can you compare a tablet thats in speculation still (lolipad2) to a tablet that has confirmed specs and is soon to be released? The only thing comparable is the price, because Apple will make the Ipad2 the same price tiers as the Ipad. Also, there the little apple fanboys go.. comparing the cheapest tier of Ipads (16gb and wifi only) to a 32gb 3g/wifi tablet. Thats not fair you need to compare it to the 32gb 3g/wifi Ipad to have a valid argument. Maybe you fanboys think it makes apple look better lmao? Also, who would buy the lowest tier of Ipads without expandability? The only reason almost everyone is on the iOS4 is because there aren't any options. You also can't compare how well apps run from a phone vs a tablet either (especially with different os and specs). As for as many apps there are, at least the Android app store is growing faster than apple and is open, not anyone can make an app for apple and have it get on the market. When the specs for your beloved ipad2 come out, then come and brag about how much better it will be. By that time I'll have my xoom. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 5:57 PM Sam Sam  says: in response to Tom
You may claim to know what you are talking about, but the Android Market has over 230,000 apps currently available for download, with 30,000 apps being added each month. I have an HTC Incredible, and I do indeed have Gingerbread (2.3.2) currently installed, and it is the best OS I have used on a mobile phone. I have had 3 iPhones, loved them, but Android is the way to go. It is geared more towards customization and control, usability and friendliness. iOS is geared towards what Apple wants to shove down peoples throats. With Honeycomb on the way for tablets, it will blow iOS out of the water. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 6:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Xoom $799=fail Reply
Feb 9, 2011 6:31 PM Hiram Hiram  says: in response to Tom
You remind me of the YouTube video that made fun of iPhone zombies who would not even consider the Evo, despite the fact that it is all around a better device. I am not a fanboy of either Apple or Android. I am a fan of technology, and I like to have the best toys. For a long time that meant buying Apple products, and so I did. Now the best means buying Android based products, and so I am. If Apple regains the lead, I will switch back. But you can't honestly claim that they are better right now. Nor are they likely to be better ever again, in this niche. The problem is that their release cycle is annual, where as several new Android devices are released every single month. What Apple releases in the iPad 2 is irrelevant. A month later HTC, Motorola and several others will surpass them. Same thing will occur with the iPad 3, and so forth. Apple will only ever have the tech lead during the single month that they release a new product. Android already has a far greater market share than iOS. Where do you think developers are going to focus their energy? Like I say, if Apple can get their mojo back, I will not hesitate to switch back, but such a scenario is very unlikely to occur. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 7:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
I do also agree in this article 101%. It's a good thing that apple has some serious competion right now. I like the iPad but I don't like apple when apple upgrade their products and just add a few features. If apple don't have any competition right now, apple is just going to release the future iPad3 with the same specs as the iPad2 and just add a radio receiver and call it a huge upgrade. Look at the current iPad right now, they could have added the front and rear camera but instead put it in ipad2 and there's your 2nd generation iPad. I have the iPad right now but even if I don't have it I'm still gonna go with the motorola xoom over iPad 2......:) Reply
Feb 9, 2011 7:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Anonymous
Go buy an Ipad with half of the storage space and no 3G then :) Let the big boys play with the Xoom. Reply
Feb 9, 2011 7:56 PM Tom Tom  says: in response to Sam
Ok than so it is rooted....you can jailbreak an iPhone,iPad and do everything you can do on android you can even make it android you can get htc's sense ui Or reverse back to old versions of iOS...and they have another app store called Cydia where you can customize your ui you change the look of icons add widgets it's endless get free tethering change lock screen add calendar weather etc to it or home screen with widgets add apps that apple doesn't let in to the app store. Get an app that you can get every app on the app store free which I don't recommend getting so what about customization ? Reply
Feb 9, 2011 8:57 PM Tom Tom  says: in response to Hiram
No I just like things that the battery doesn't die after 4 hours of use and with the really good features it has with them all on doesn't die in 2 hours with out using the phone...like 4g which I have in my area...and god forbid you should have to talk on your phone...I mean I love the specs except battery life...and Im just gonna wait and see how the battery life is on the xoom with that dual core and all.and btw than if android is way better and is irellavant after 1 month than why is apple Topping in sales of smart phones when they only have one ? http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2379925,00.asp And the iPad has 70% of the tablet market ? So after one month...what most people want is simplicity and android is not...and in your case the xoom should be outdated within a month if all these company's are just throwing stuff out there...seeing if it sticks ! Reply
Feb 10, 2011 4:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Skyfire is flaky and overall a fail i tried using it and was terribly disappointed with it so your use of that as a substitute for flash is both incorrect and totally a fail Reply
Feb 10, 2011 5:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Tom
First off, the specs site says 8 hours of battery life for the xoom.. the same as the ipad (without the dual core, mind you.. so i'd say thats a win for the xoom). Secondly, the market pretty much only had the ipad until recently so it makes sense for that much of it to be by apple, no crap. Third.. want to know why so many people have iphones? lets see... at&t didn't really carry android phones.. and lets see.. the two biggest wireless companies either carry android or the iphone until recently... hmm... it would make sense for a lot of people to have iphones now wouldn't it? Reply
Feb 10, 2011 6:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Anonymous
Haha... iDouche collection, it's so true! I laugh at all the people sitting around at starbucks with apple things :) All the fanboys that like apple don't really care about specs in a device, because if they did apple wouldn't be around. Look at a macbook for example.. they start around a thousand dollars.. do you have any idea how nice of a laptop you could find for that price elsewhere? It's paying for a brand name pretty much and it amazes me how many people still use and love their apple devices. I would never be satisfied with anything apple. Thank goodness other companies are starting to come out with these awesome devices like the xoom! Reply
Feb 10, 2011 3:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous  says: in response to Hiram
Well said. I too was an iPhone user from the beginning... because it was best at that time. I watched Android closely, without bias to toward Apple or Google. The advantage turned. In April, when the HTC Incredible came out, I opt'ed out of my iPhone contract with AT&T early and switched. I'm VERY happy. It's not just software. It's hardware too. Flash support DOES make a difference. Free turn by turn navigation with always the latest maps DOES make a difference. The 8MP camera with flash DOES make a difference. The fact that my company's IT department won't integrate iPhone because of security concerns DOES make a difference. All that being said. If Apple came out with a superior product, I'd switch back. I'm all about the tech. I go with what's best for me and my typical usage. Reply
Feb 10, 2011 5:04 PM Tom Tom  says: in response to Anonymous
Try viewing html5 on your android device you can't and in your response try going to apple.com and viewing a video...and btw flash sucks you can't make it full screen you have to fit the video to the screen which is really annoying...but I just said all that crap to see all the stupid responses from people seriously people it's just a phone and a tablet whatever it's not like you are the creator of it or something seriously get a life people Reply
Feb 11, 2011 3:02 AM Do Not Disconnect Film Do Not Disconnect Film  says:
This year, Motorola featured a commercial about a girl who snaps out of a world plugged into white headphones, with no human interaction. Unfortunately, in 2009 I shot a short film with the exact same concept. The Motorola ad even replicates a certain sequence in the film. I�m just asking people to please take a few minutes to watch how this idea was originally done. Decide for yourself if you think their ad is too similar. I�m not selling anything. I just made a fun, heartfelt short film. youtube.com/watch?v=hmRsfnZJh0c Thank you! Reply

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