Today, we got to spend an hour with the Motorola Xoom 10.1" Android tablet running Android OS 3.0 Honeycomb (not fake Honeycomb that was demo-d at the CES trade show). This is an actual retail unit and not a show floor prototype. First thought? The tablet is very fast-- the UI is iPad fast. This is pure Honeycomb and there's no Motoblur or other software slowing things down.
Honeycomb feels very modern, if not futuristic and we enjoyed quickly switching home screens and customizing them on the fly with a flourish of finger gestures. There are surisingly few apps pre-installed on the Xoom-- the basics like email, Gtalk, Google Maps Navigation and Places, the YouTube Player, Android Market and Google Books are there.
There are two games including the 3D game Dungeon Defenders, which played smoothly and looked simply awesome. This bodes well for high end gaming on Honeycomb tablets. Likewise, the Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz CPU with hardware graphics acceleration clearly can handle some serious gaming.
Motorola's video editing app is on board and is very bare bones: you can add several clips to make a movie and add a soundtrack, but that's about it. The scrub and ff/rwd controls run a bit off the sides of the screen. Video recording on the other hand is top notch. We were worried about that given Motorola's just so-so camera quality, but the Xoom's 1080p rear main camera takes sharp and colorful video.
The music player reminded us of the Cover Flow iTunes interface, but there's no fancied up video player.
When we first powered on the Motorola Xoom, it asked us if we wanted to activate the Verizon Wireless data service. We said no, and the Xoom happily hopped onto the WiFi network. This makes us wonder if you really do have to activate 1 month of Verizon data in order to activate WiFi-- it certainly wasn't the case for us.
The Xoom has a door up top that covers the microSD card slot (clear plastic dummy card installed) and an LTE SIM card slot. There's a clear dummy SIM that tells you to go get an LTE SIM card when the upgrade to LTE is available.
Overall, the device looks and feels much as it did at CES, and that's fine with us. It's attractive and solid and doesn't feel overly heavy. Our unit was wrapped in miles of protective plastic which you can see in the rear shot. The power button is on the back near the camera lens, and the other controls line the sides. Speaker volume from the rear stereo speakers was decent but not impressively loud.
There's no Flash Player just yet, as you've likely read that should be released in a few weeks for Honeycomb. YouTube video and other video from sites like the New York Times and our own actually looked decent even when stretched to full screen 10.1".
The Motorola Xoom goes on sale tomorrow for $799 without contract. Motorola states that a Verizon subsidized price of $599 will be available. A WiFi-only Xoom will ship some time in the future for $599.
10.1" capacitive multi-touch display, 1280 x 800 resolution Nvidia Tegra 2 dual core 1GHz CPU Android OS 3.0 Honeycomb 2MP front camera (720p) and 5PM rear camera (720p) WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS Compass, accelerometer and notification LED Verizon EV-DO Rev. A 3G and LTE 4G (LTE coming in Q2, not ready now) 32 gigs internal storage 1 gig RAM