With Apple’s new iPad set to be unveiled next Wednesday, Motorola has just slid headfirst into the marketplace with its own 10-inch tablet.
The Android-based Motorola Xoom runs for $800 (or $600 with a two-year Verizon data contract), features two cameras, a dual-core processor, and 32 gigabytes of storage. From a purely technical standpoint, it’s superior to the original iPad in several ways. How it stacks up against the new iPad and how well the interface and apps appeal to consumers will ultimately dictate its success, though. Here’s a look at some of the early reviews.
Motorola’s Xoom: The iPad Gets Serious Competition (TIME.com)
“It’s the first honest-to-goodness, no-qualifications-necessary iPad rival from a major manufacturer to hit stores. That’s in large part because it’s also the first to pack Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the operating system that Google designed specifically with tablets in mind. The Xoom has its fair share of raw edges, but it’s a great leap beyond earlier Android-based tablets such as Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, which took the unsatisfying shortcut of using earlier versions of Android that were meant for smartphones…
…All in all, the Honeycomb-powered Xoom feels like Motorola and Google took a powerful subnotebook computer, sheared off the keyboard, and replaced it with a nicely-designed touch interface. That’s a very different experience than the ultra-streamlined, push-button world of the iPad, but it’s a legitimate one in its own right.”
Motorola Xoom tablet (CNET: 3.5 out of 5)
“The Xoom’s spec sheet is enough to make any tablet tremble, but the price is high and Google still has some work to do before its tablet software experience is as fleshed out and intuitive as Apple’s.”
We’re Xoomin’, and It Feels Pretty Good (Wired: 6 out of 10)
“With an $800 entry price (or $600 if you’re willing to commit to a two-year Verizon data contract at $20 per month), the Xoom is a bigger leap of faith than Apple’s market-leading tablet…
…For that reason we think fewer people are likely to jump on the Xoom bandwagon. Those who do will be attracted by the widescreen format, the ability to buy apps without going through Apple’s restrictive App Store.
For those who want a more fully-finished, polished experience, however, we recommend waiting for a future Android tablet — or the iPad. The Xoom is a credible contender, but it’s not quite on par with the market leader yet.”
Review: Motorola Xoom – The Android Tablet Redefined (CrunchGear)
“Few tablets have met with such widespread anticipation as the recently-announced Xoom. It is the closest anyone has come to an iPad equivalent for the Android set. I was impressed with the speed, design, and quality of the device, and although there are a few caveats, I came away optimistic for the new crop of Honeycomb devices that will follow this one.”
Motorola Xoom review (Engadget)
“Is the Xoom a real competitor to the iPad? Absolutely. In fact, it outclasses the iPad in many ways. Still, the end user experience isn’t nearly where it needs to be, and until Google paints its tablet strategy and software picture more clearly, we’d suggest a wait-and-see approach. Honeycomb and the Xoom are spectacular — unfortunately they’re a spectacular work in progress.”
Motorola XOOM review (Boy Genius Report)
“It features great hardware, impressive specifications, and the latest Android OS designed just for tablets. There are many things to rave about with the XOOM, though there were some annoyances and frustrations that stemmed from Google’s OS for the most part and not from Motorola’s hardware…
…I think that the Motorola XOOM is a great product, I’m just not 100% sold on Honeycomb at this point as an operating system. I don’t believe it’s very innovative, and I don’t find it to be any better than alternatives in terms of ease of use, intuitiveness, or wide availability of apps.”
Motorola Xoom (PC Magazine: 3.5 out of 5)
“The Motorola Xoom for Verizon Wireless is the best Android tablet yet, but with a lack of key features (like Flash video and SD card slot support) and mediocre apps at launch, it doesn’t measure up to the Apple iPad.”
Motorola’s Xoom Starts Tablet Wars With iPad (Wall Street Journal)
“The Xoom and Honeycomb are a promising pair that should give the iPad its stiffest competition. But price will be an obstacle, and Apple isn’t standing still.”
Motorola Xoom (PCWorld: 3.5 out of 5)
“The Xoom is well-conceived and well-constructed, but some rough edges, a middling display, and a high price may deter early adopters.”
With most numeric reviews contained here giving the Xoom a 3.5 out of 5 (Wired, a tad lower at 6 out of 10) and most of the complaints stemming from a lack of apps coupled with a rough-around-the-edges interface, the Xoom looks like it might be spinning its wheels a bit.
It’s already grabbed the crown as the top Android tablet but it’s the first out of the gate to run Google’s made-for-tablets “Honeycomb” Android version. With the iPad 2 and several additional Honeycomb tablets right around the corner, plenty of potential buyers may be taking a wait-and-see approach.
The price might be a sticking point for some as well. While Motorola tipped that a $600 Wi-Fi version is on the way, the only options now are to spend $800 on it or lock into a two-year contract with Verizon to get it for $600.
More on TIME.com:
Motorola’s Xoom: The iPad Gets Serious Competition
Google’s Rumored Music Service Confirmed by Motorola?
Motorola Tablet Pokes Fun at Apple Users, Gets Priced at $800