To Xoom, or Not to Xoom? Pros and Cons

February 24, 2011 - Written By Joe Merritt

The day is nearly upon us; February 24th, 2011, the day we are all allowed to put our hands on the long awaited, massively-hyped Motorola Xoom 10.1 inch Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) tablet. It has been a roller coaster ride, mainly revolving around the price of the tablet, but also including the top of the line specifications (for now) and simplistic beauty.

But let’s get serious, Honeycomb and the Xoom have come into fruitation mostly because of the impact the iPad made last year when it was released. Google has done what looks to be a great job with the Honeycomb OS and the way it works all around. Looking at it, it’s definitely been designed for tablets, yet looks to feel a lot like Android deep down in its core.

Here are some reasons this writer has come up with for and against this beast of a tablet.



When the Xoom is released tomorrow, it will have the single largest touchscreen the market has to offer. At 10.1 inches, it’s bigger than the iPad’s 9.7 inches, and much larger than the 7 inchers from Dell and Samsung. This added space will be easier on the eyes and allow for more actions to occur on screen at the same time. It will also provide for a better viewing experience when watching movies or YouTube videos. This will also allow for better management of emails and more landscape for typing away on the virtual keyboard.

Operating System

We all know that Android touts itself as the premier open operating system (at least for mobile devices). This allows for superior customization to that of iOS and apps that would never make it into the App Store (unless you have a jailbroken iOS device).


Now, this point doesn’t pack as much punch as the others, but, the Xoom is nearly as spec’d out as possible from what current technologies offer. You get a dual-core processor with 1 GB RAM (something up until now only found in full-fledged computers), 32 GB hard drive, 5 MP rear camera with a 2 MP front facing camera, USB port, HDMI out, wireless 3G, 4G upgrade for free later in the year, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. Now, these things are all great, but by year’s end, manufacturers will be well beyond these specifications and on to the next generation of specs for future devices. But for now, this is poised to be the best spec’d device on the market.



This is the single biggest problem people are having with the Xoom. The fact that it hasn’t been made in different offerings and the only one offered is going to retail for 800 big ones is a something that doesn’t sit well with a lot people. Verizon does give you the option to pay $600 for it, but that means you’re forced into getting a 2-year contract that will cost you at least $20/month for 24 months. In the long run, going with the contract, you will end up paying at least $1080 plus any applicable taxes and fees. When you compare the fact the iPad starts at $500 (16 GB of storage and no 3G/4G), people are going to be a little turned off at the steepness of $800.

Availability of Apps

Nowadays, everyone is about apps. They’re everywhere, even when you don’t want them to be; but let’s face it, they’re what make the devices we own so much more interesting and fun to use. Right now, there are very little, if any, Honeycomb dedicated apps unlike the 60,000 that are alive and running in iOS. Now, obviously, this is only a temporary problem as developers will start churning them out faster than we can count when the tablets start to roll out. But for right now, you might be better off waiting if you yearn to play Angry Birds in all the glory that is high definition.

Operating System and Manufacturer

Yes, the OS is both a pro and a con. But I find it to be a con for one main reason, manufacturer custom UIs. Now, I’m well aware that the Xoom is a Google Experience device and therefore will not ship with any customizations from Motorola, but that doesn’t really persuade me enough that there won’t be stuff I wouldn’t want on the device, from either Motorola or Verizon. If my Droid 2 had any more bloatware on it I’m pretty sure it would’ve been unbearable and I would’ve returned it after one day. And what’s with the whole situation with this “unlockable/relockable for developers” bootloader? I would want some clarification as to what this means from Motorola before I would consider purchasing the Xoom (that of course, after the price being lowered and a Wi-Fi only model was available).

Bottom Line

This is going to be a great device, no question in my mind about that. But realistically, it will only be a great device to those who can afford it, or those will are willing to throw over $800 at a tablet without even reconsidering or waiting for the options. I think those users who consider themselves savvy shoppers and don’t absolutely need a tablet and are not early adopters wait for pricing and availability to be announced for the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Optimus Pad, and the flood of Android Honeycomb tablets that are about to hit the market this year.

But of course, this is just my opinion; what do you guys think? Is the Xoom for you? Or will you be waiting for something a little cheaper?