Motorola Xoom - Tablet

Motorola Announces Xoom at CES

Motorola is an American mutli-national company with headquarters in in Schaumburg, Illinois. It was founded in 1928, it's first product being a battery eliminator* for car radios. Since it's founding Motorola has manufactured and sold car radios, two way portable radios (walkie talkies), mobile telephone (before cellular), cellular phones, broadband telecommunications devices, televisions, wireless broadband (WiFi) and a plethora of other products both defense oriented and for public consumption.

Yesterday, January 6, 2011, Motorloa announced and demonstrated their newest computer offering, the Xoom tablet.

This product is expected to hit shelves and online stores in the first quarter of 2011; sometime in March.


Motorola Xoom Tablet
Motorola Xoom Tablet | Source

Xoom Specifics

The Xoom will run the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Operating System (OS), touts a ten point one (10.1") inch wide screen supporting 1080p High Definition display, it runs a dual-core 1GHz processor, the nVidia Tegra 2, and has full 1080p support with microHDMI out. Video recording, however, is in 720p.

Of course, the device has both accelerometers and gyroscopes so it can detect and reorient the display to portrait or landscape depending on how the user has it oriented to the horizon.

The Xoom uses mutli-touch capacitive touchscreen supporting gestures. When needed the machine presents the user with a four-row virtual keyboard with decent sized keys and functionality. It can also be docked, via Bluetooth 2.0 to an external Motorola keyboard.

Because the machine is dual core processor it supports multi-tasking allowing multiple applications to run simultaneously, Unlike Apple, the tablet also supports Adobe flash videos and animation.

The Xoom also supports Google's cloud computing (Internet based) standards including Google Maps, Google Mail, as well as the recently announced Google eBooks. It also supports YouTube video.

It has a rear-facing camera at 5Megapixels(Mpxl), as well as a 2Mpxl front-facing camera for video chat. It will be offered through Verizon Wireless on their 3G (third generation) network and will run on the 4G (forth generation) Long Term Evolution (LTE) network with an external dongle attached.

Note: The Xoom does not come pre-installed for LTE support. If you want LTE enabled you'll have to send your Xoom to Motorola and wait seven days for the upgrade. Supposedly, the upgrade, shipping and handling will be free.

It will also support an external keyboard and headset via Bluetooth 2.0 which is stereo audio.

The internals include the nVidia Tegra 2 processor running at 1+GigaHertz (GHz). The Tegra is an optimized system on a chip (SoC) designed to run faster, using less power, and support high definition video output while also support a wide array of input and output standards such as microUSB, microHDMI, and so on.

Update February 20, 2011

BestBuy will now offer the Verizon Data plan model starting February 24, 2011. The price for this version of Xoom will be $799 and you must buy a plan or have a plan for that price. A $599 model Wi-Fi only model will be offered but there is no firm date for this one.

Motorola Xoom
 
Manufacturer
Motorola
Operating System
Android 3.0 (honeycomb)
Carrier
Verizon
Screen
10.1" (1280 X 800 resoltion)
Camera (rear facing)
5 Megapixel autofocus NO LED flash
 
720p Video Capture
Camera (fron facing)
2 Megapixel autofocus (video chat)
Video Display
Video at 1080p
Display
10.1" 1080p HD
Input
Capacative multi-touchscreen
 
single microphone
Central Processing Unit
nVidia Tegra 2
Connectivity
CDMA 850/ 1900
 
WiFi 802.11b/g/n (supports hotspot)
 
BlueTooth 2.0 / Stereo
GPS
Location / Navigation
FormFactor
Tablet (9.8" x 6.6" x 0.5") [249 x 168 x 13 mm]
Weight
25.7 oz (730 g)
Battery
Unknown (up to 10 hours video playback)

Note on Video Below

Because Motorola is still working on their implementation of Android all of the video below is essentially recorded video files designed to demonstrate how the tablet should operate once the interface programming is complete.

Still, accessing the video files for the demo was accomplished directly through the touch screen interface.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Wireless full function KeyboardStereophonic Dock with Charging
Wireless full function Keyboard
Wireless full function Keyboard | Source
Stereophonic Dock with Charging
Stereophonic Dock with Charging | Source

Accessories

Motorola is also going to market a number of accessories to the Xoom. Some of them are designed to work with the Atrix 4G as well. These include:

  • A Bluetooth enabled wireless keyboard; the keyboard has a six row layout in the standard QWERTY design, with a function key row, number key row, three row alphanumeric, and a control key row (see image right)
  • A stereophonic docking station. The dock puts the Xoom at the ideal viewing/chatting angle, and includes a charging to keep the Xoom at peak battery life until undocked.
  • The standard suite of other Bluetooth accessories are available as well including headsets, cases and wired earbuds.

More Retailers Getting the Wi-Fi Model

March 16, 2011

On March 27, 2011 the following retailers will be getting the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi only model. Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Staples, Walmart, and some Sam’s Club locations.

The Wi-Fi only model does not support 3G telephony signals. Beyond that this tablet has everything the 3G+Wi-Fi model has; 1GB RAM, 32GB storage, Dual Cameras, a 10.1" screen and Android Honeycomb 3.0.

The unit should be available at all these locations for just under $600.

Coda

Note that the model demonstrated above, running Android 3.0, was still in development. Motorola's add-ons to the Android are still in development so not all functions could be displayed.

This is a Consumer Electronics Show (CES) pre-release demo so the reader should be aware that this product, though looking like it's ready for shelves, in fact Best Buy and Verizon both have preorder screens for the device. Best Buy offers the Xoom for $800 as a pre-order. Verizon offers the Xoom at $600 with a two year contract and $800 with no commitment.

The Xoom seems to be the showcase product for showing off the features of both Android Honeycomb and the nVidia Tegra 2 processor.

Verdict
The $800.00 price at Best Buy is frankly too high in my opinion. If Motorola really wants to compete against the iPad I would expect the device to sell for at least $100 less than it does. That it's offered at $200.00 less through Verizon, with a service plan of course, hardly matters. We all know that the plan more than makes up for the $200.00 "discount."

Worse, two things are not available with the Xoom on purchase. Flash animation will NOT be available with the first models released nor will Long Term Evolution (LTE) be supported. When Flash will be available is unknown; adding LTE support will require you to ship the Xoom back to Motorola for an upgrade which will take at least six days.

Finally, Apple is mere days away from announcing the new iPad 2. If the new Apple tablet offers more features, and it likely will, the Xoom will pale in comparison, even if the two machines are roughly equivalent in features and price.

Links to Best Buy's pre-order area and Verizon's order area are below. Note that Verizon does not distinguish if the Xoom order area is pre-order or a bona-fide order for an existing ship immediately product. Note that none of the sites mentioned in the update yet have the Xoom Wi-Fi only listed as of this writing; March 16, 2011.

Update: March 16, 2011
See above! Wi-Fi only units will be available at various retailers for $600. That's more like it!

Footnote

* Because early car radios ran on vacuum tubes, there were three voltages required to run them. Low voltage (4 ~ 6 volts), high voltage (100 ~ 300 volts), and an intermediate voltage for the grid base in the vacuum tube.  Because of this, early car radios could not and did not draw power from the car battery, but from a dedicated battery set supplied with the radio. Motorola helped eliminate this dedicated battery set by creating a "blackbox" that could be mounted in the car, between the generator and radio, to supply the radio with the necessary ranges of electrical power.

Disclaimer

The author was not compensated in any way, either monetarily, with discounts, or freebies by any of the companies mentioned.

Though the author does make a small profit for the word count of this article none of that comes directly from the manufacturers mentioned. The author also stands to make a small profit from advertising attached to this article.

The author has no control over either the advertising or the contents of those ads.

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