Monday, June 20, 2011


I keep hearing how Android tablets suck rocks, and how Apple owns the tablet market, and that this platform and that platform are D.O.A. and various other bits of breathless hyperbole.

That Apple is currently dominant in tablet computing is true. That tablet computing is eating up netbook sales is true (despite all the denials).

But what I do not get is all this stuff about how everything other than iPad is doomed. But then, I don't get the iPad2 as a device. More on that in a sec...

I currently have a Motorola Xoom, and I love it. When my first one was stolen out of my car (so I guess a Xoom is worth stealing in broad daylight), I went from Walmart to Walmart to Costco (Verizon ones only in stock: No thanks) to Walmart till I found another. Eight stores in all. The Xoom is about the same weight and thickness as my iPad1 was. It is fast, and has a different aspect ratio, but it more or less feels like the iPad1 in the hand.

I have held an iPad2, and I did not like it as well. It felt.. thin. I know from the teardown reports that the glass in thinner... and glued in. The screen resolution is the same as the iPad1. Yes, it was faster than the 1, and it had a front facing camera and all that, but I would take an iPad1 over an iPad2. Or, in my case, a Xoom.

If they can make them thinner with the same battery life and thinner glass, then how about the same thickness, the same serviceability, and longer battery life instead? 10 hours is not magical. If you can make it thinner and still run 10 hours, then keep it the same, and make it run for 12 or 15 hours instead. My preference anyway.

Motorola has apparently moved about 250,000 Xooms in the first three months, and that has been classified by the media as abject failure. Maybe it is: I have no idea if it is profitable at that volume or not, though I would think that it is.

It is being measured by the insanely profitable iPad I suppose, and that of course is where all the hype comes in. Anyone remember when Apple said it was introducing this phone thing and they would be happy with just 1% of the market?

I lived with my iPad1 for a year, and I handed off to its next owner in perfect working order. It was a nice unit, and did exactly what I wanted it to do for the most part. The Xoom does everything it did, only faster and in 16:9 instead of 4:3.

Drag and drop to load files. No iTunes involvement. I like the Xoom better in every possible way. It even has some of the same gripes. I did not like that the iPad did not use MicroUSB for data and power, and the Xoom uses a proprietary power cord too, though it does have MicroUSB for data. The Xoom charges way faster than the iPad did, so that is a plus for the special power connector. And having had a Xoom stolen, I have a spare now, which is handy.

There are not as many Xoom accessories, but all the ones that I had for the iPad I have for the Xoom, and then some. I always meant to get some sort of music base station for the iPad, and I did get one of the Xoom, and now it is the perfect alarm clock.

I have not rooted it yet, but I will eventually, if for no other reason than to get Titanium Backup running. But unlike the iPad, there is less of a feel of urgency because it feels like it is putting less restrictions on me.

I don't know what the tech media is smoking: They are only sharing with each other. The Xoom, the Acer A500, The Samsung 10.1, et al (and yes, I like the 10.1 inch screen size) are all fine units, and if they are not tearing Apples market share up, they are all pretty good units in their own right. Here is hoping that hype does not become reality, as it seems that what most of these folks would like to see at this point is a failure, so that they can trot out an "I told you so" rather than looking at whether the devices work, and are worthy.


Konstantin said...

Good day! And what do you think about HTC Flyer? What choice will be better: xoom of flyer?

PaulK said...

Ignore the "pundits". I usually do. Remember what they said about Android and the G1 when it first launched (they called both a failure). They were wrong then and they're wrong now.

That said, I love love love my iPad2. I got the wifi version and turned on hotspotting on my cell. If the iPad had support for flash, it would be perfect but I can live without it for the most part. I gave my father my Kindle since I can read everything on my iPad.

I still think Android-based phones and tablets will dominate the market soon, however. But for now, I will keep my iDevices.

Steve Carl said...

Re: The HTC Flyer: I have been very impressed with the build quality of HTC gear. Battery life is usually another story.

I never looked seriously at the Flyer because it has a 7 inch screen, and that is a split between my 4 inch Captivate an my 10.1 inch Xoom that I will probably fill someday with a Nook Color. Mostly for price reasons.

If HTC had something out in the 10.1 inch form factor before the Xoom, I would have had to think very long and hard about it. I think it would come down to whichever one was the friendliest to the community. I like for example that the Xoom bootloader is not locked. But I read HTC is starting to do that for their phones, so they "get it".

Replacing what the vendor provides in Android space is critical sometimes. I put the Froyo/2.2 factory Samsung ROM onto the Captivate out of curiosity, and it is not eating the battery like crazy. Time to go back to Cyanogenmod!

Steve Carl said...

Re: iPad2: I hope I was clear that I think the iPad2 is a good unit. That it feels thin is something I could get used to, though as I said I would have preferred thicker and longer battery life.

The media seems to think that it is all about thin: See all the Samsung 10.1 reviews. They just marvel at the thinness. its like tablets are supermodels or something.

I would have gone iPad2 *if* they had gone retina (300 DPI) on the screen. Keeping the same screen resolution / DPI was the killer non-feature that opened up my willingness to look elsewhere.

In fact, I predict that DPI will become the "next killer feature", because we are about done with how thin these can get and keep 10 hours of run time. My Xoom moves to its next owner when I can get a 10 inch Android powered 300 DPI quad core tablet. Should be in a year or less.