My Xoom review

I’ve been meaning to write this for a few days, and decided I just need to sit down and do it. Be aware, this review has no pics. There’s so many pics of the Xoom and the iPad out there, there’s just no need for them now. We all know what a tablet looks like now.

 

OK here’s my thoughts on the Xoom…

The short: I like it, I like it a lot. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since my friend and colleague Jeffy Houser gave it to me for my work on The Flex Show. It’s no iPad but it’s nice.

The Long version:

OS: Honeycomb seems like a great OS. Google shoulda been working on it sooner, and needs to stop dicking around trying to port it to a phone. Rock tablets, and let Honeycomb’s successor be the 1 OS for both.

It’s got some rough spots, but overall I’ve found it to be a great Tablet OS. I had a Viewsonic gTablet and tried 2.2 and 2.3 on it. Clearly neither OS was made for Tablets, so the experience sucked! But the Xoom, feels and works like a tablet should.

The widgets rock, the transitions between screens are very nice, and clean.

 

Apps (marketplace): Point, Apple. I admit, most of the apps on my iPhone and iPad, I can live without, some I never even open after installing or using once. However, right now, there are like 62 apps made for honeycomb. Not 1 is a twitter app!!

Many of the apps for the Xoom, are stupid, so being available doesn’t really do much. Thankfully google does a better job at upscaling than Apple does, so phone apps, mostly don’t look like ass on the Xoom, assuming they work

Say what you will about Apple and the iOS Store, the Google marketplace is pretty much like Dave Chappelle predicted. Amazon has cleaned up the mess a bit, but they’re not there yet.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Xoom app wise, not really missing most iOS apps. Here’s the ones I miss and why.

  • OmniFocus – I’ve invested in their offering. It’s on my iPhone, iPad, and mac. Making todo lists, etc is nice when they’re shared across devices.
  • Flipboard – I’ve got Pulse, and Newsr but Flipboard and Reeder were my goto apps and I do miss them. NetNewsWire too for that matter. My iPad was mainly remote desktop, and news reading.

That’s really it. There’s a few others I’d like to have on the Xoom for sure, but if any combo of those three apps made it to the Xoom I’d be cool.

 

Ecosystem: Win, Apple. Obviously lock in is a big part of this picture, and Apple certainly gains nothing by cooperating, but not having a viable iTunes replacement is a huge loss for the Xoom, and android in general. There’s DoubleTwist which is ok, but nothing remotely close to the awesome experience Apple offers. I will give Double Twist props for the over the Air syncing. Apple, really you shoulda figured this out already.

But yeah I STILL haven’t gotten any of my pics onto the Xoom. There’s not USB host support yet (fail) and Double Twist does music and sorta, video only. Even the Dropbox app doesn’t support saving an image from dropbox to the local storage. I could do some wifi FTP stuff, but that’s just too much work as far as I’m concerned.

Other Tablets: Apple needs competition, so does Motorola. But more importantly, if Google hopes to make some headway against Apple, with Tablets, they need to have more devices out there. Motorola did a good job with the Xoom, but I think someone can do better.

Plus if they (Motorola and Google, etc) hope to get developers interested in building apps for Tablets, there needs to be more devices out there to run them. I suspect part of the reason there’s only 63 apps is that many developers don’t want to waste their time, if there’s a chance the OS could change or google could scrap it entirely (GoogleTV anyone?)

 

So verdict? If you’re ok not having many apps right now (the main ones are there. Evernote, a nice VNC app, tweetdeck sorta works, Firefox, dropbox, etc), and can survive without iTunes-like desktop love. The Xoom might be a fun device for you. The OS is certainly more computer-y which I like, but it’s definitely an easy device to use. Easy as an iPad, no. Easy enough for a non moron? Yes.

Like I said, i’ve been leaving my iPad at home the last two weeks, and am surviving quite well. I haven’t gifted my ipad to Nicole yet, so I have the option to go back, but honestly, with an iPhone, not sure I will.