Tablet Computer Review: Motorola’s Xoom

Many commentators on the tech scene have predicted 2011 will be the year of the tablet computer after the smashing success of Apple’s i-Pad. Introduced in March 2010, the i-Pad went on to sell 15 million units during the rest of the year. Not to be outdone this year, many companies are rushing their own versions of the tablet computer to market, but none is more anticipated than Motorola’s Xoom.What is so special about Motorola’s Xoom? For one thing, this tablet computer runs the Android operating system, designed by Google and by now familiar to millions via its Android smart phones. The Xoom introduces innovation in the operating system. Nicknamed Honeycomb, the officially-titled system, the Android 3.0, is specifically designed by Google for the tablet computer, not the smart phone.

For those dedicated to the Apple family of products, the new operating system may not mean much. But, Apple has a way of clinging to its customers by making interchange between Apple-based products and any others difficult if not impossible. Many who are tired of the i-Pod which will play only i-Tunes or the i-Pad which prefers Safari will rejoice at a non-sticky device such as the Xoom.

Is the Xoom merely an Android-based i-Pad clone? Not by a long shot, as the Xoom has many features not present in the i-Pad. The Xoom has two cameras, for instance, a low-resolution on the front for video chatting and a 5-megapixel high definition on the back for taking pictures or video. The Xoom also has stereo speakers, not mono, and a longer battery life-up to 10 hours, a great feature for watching videos on its brilliant screen. It also has an HDMI cable so that the contents of the tablet computer can be viewed on a hi-def TV. That’s great.

By far the greatest innovation, though, is what’s hidden under the dashboard of this tablet computer. It’s a dual-core processor which means blazing speed and better game animation. Motorola has indicated that later this year the Xoom will get a software upgrade allowing it to access Verizon’s 4G network in some cities. In this way, the tablet computer will take over many more of the tasks formerly relegated to the laptop computer. It may take a few years, but pundits are already predicting the demise of both the laptop and the smart phone in favor of the tablet computer.

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