What does a tablet mean to you? To most, it’s something that lets you have productivity on the go— emails, social communication, reading articles and e-books, etc. Of course consumers realize it’s possible to do all that with a notebook computer or netbook. However, it’s no secret that notebooks are losing in popularity because people understand in this day and age, “less is truly more”. You could have a netbook as well, but then some individuals would be graced with keys far too small for big hands like yours truly, a small screen that’s sometimes just slightly bigger than that of a smartphone or the fact netbooks just aren’t powerful enough even to do the bare minimum like check emails, do some online chatting, etc. Manufacturers have realized consumers want something that can bring the best of both worlds and that’s why tablets have been developed now.
While Apple’s iPad is leading the revolution, it’s obvious there are many other successful tablets. There are many of you who own a tablet now and then there are many of you who will be looking to purchase a tablet in the near-future. The great thing about Android tablets is that they are a direct reflection of the Android platform in general. The Android platform allows for a variety of manufacturers to make unique and “customized” versions of the Android devices which are best suited for each user’s tastes. While there are popular options such as the ASUS Transformer Prime, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and of course the record-selling Amazon Kindle Fire, there’s one tablet that has won my heart and will continue to win my heart for the next year or two (or three or four). That tablet is the Motorola Xoom Wifi tablet. Introduced at last year’s CES, the tablet is still literally the model for which other Android tablets are developed and shaped. I will share with you all my thoughts and experience of owning this tablet. Of course many of you will disagree and want to throw in your two cents, but I just want to give you all some insights as to what the device means to me and how it fits in my lifestyle.
Let’s start with the Xoom Wifi’s internal specs. The tablet features an Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory and of course was the first tablet to feature pure, unmolested Honeycomb 3.0 (and now Android 4.0). You may laugh at the specs especially considering the Transformer Prime has a Tegra 3 quad-core processor, but the Xoom Wifi can still hold its own. As a person who’s not focused on benchmark scores, but rather a fluid and smooth-running tablet, the dual-core processor is more than sufficient for me. I can play my games such as Dead Space or Shine Runner and experience not a single hint of lag or delay. Furthermore, the device transitions between screens is smooth and switching between apps is almost instant. All this is achieved by a sweet-running, optimized and pure Android OS because it’s got Google’s direct backing in addition to Motorola’s quality hardware.
In fact, one of the more important draws and distinctions is the Xoom Wifi tablet being a developer device, placing it in the same category as Google’s Nexus line of phones. In case you didn’t hear or read before, the Xoom Wifi was the first tablet to feature Honeycomb 3.0— which was Google’s first tablet-optimized OS. That means the tablet plays a major role in not only how software for Android tablets should be modeled and developed, but it plays a huge role in the direction of the Android platform in general.
And that’s important because the Xoom Wifi features things that most tablets don’t such as an unlocked bootloader and software updates directly from Google instead of the OEMs. While I am not big on ROMing such as my colleagues here at Talk Android, I found I was able to easily flash a custom ROM or tweak my device as freely as possible, because of no resistance or opposition from an unnecessary bootloader. Moreover, I am one of a lucky few who not only has an official Ice Cream Sandwich build on my tablet, but on any Android device, period. Other premium tablets such as the Transformer Prime has a locked bootloader and of course a notorious number of tablets with major issues out there. And of course devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 are cursed with custom “enhancements” such as TouchWiz. My Xoom Wifi has had no known issues or unnecessary customizations.
Finally there are the accessories. Motorola has a great assortment of accessories such as the wireless Bluetooth keyboard that can pair with my tablet. And that’s important too because I can position my tablet to stand upright using my custom portfolio leather case and act as if I am working on a basic computer (save for a few missing features of course). Moreover, I can connect my device to a speaker dock which not only allows me to hear my music in high quality, but I also have the ability to view content whether it’s Hulu or YouTube in full HD on my TV screen. Other tablets like the Transformer Prime can be converted into an attractive notebook-style setup with a custom dock which is a big draw for most— but not me. I’m not looking for another notebook; If I wanted a notebook, I’d buy one. I just want a device that fits me and my needs, and the Xoom Wifi tablet does just that. Heck, I’d argue that consumers should buy something they need— whether there’s “hotter” devices out there or not.
And that’s the bigger picture I’m trying to get at with this brief rant folks. Sure my tablet is so last year. Sure my tablet is a bit of a chubby lumpkins. Sure my device is incredibly expensive. Despite all the drawbacks, I love my Xoom Wifi because it has features which will keep me from needing to upgrade anytime soon: great internals, it’s a developer-friendly device featuring direct updates and support from Google and specific accessories tailored to my needs. Some of you all may like custom UIs, a thinner or smaller form factor or something that’s as inexpensive as possible. Keep in mind that whatever you have or will end up getting, it’s got its own drawbacks and appeals. It’s just for me the positives of the device far outweigh the negatives.