Why I returned my Motorola Xoom
Today I chose to return my Motorola Xoom.
I had been holding off purchasing a tablet ever since the iPad became popular a year ago, and when Google announced Honeycomb, I was ready to jump onto the tablet bandwagon as soon as the Xoom was announced. I use Android daily on my T-mobile G2, and I have been extremely interested in the Android platform ever since the Nexus One. I’m pretty deep into the Google ecosystem now and I was sure that Google was going to extend their great platform to the tablet form factor.
After two and a half months with the tablet, I found myself not even powering on the Xoom’s screen for days at a time. There is nothing that this device offers that cannot be easier accomplished with a smartphone and a laptop (in my case a 13” MacBook Pro). Being a student, I need a device with me that I can get real work done on. For this reason, my laptop is always with me. There is no tablet available on the market that offers the kind of functionality required to get real work, such as heavy e-mail, web browsing, and notes all done with any type of efficiency near what a laptop can offer.
The only place the Xoom shines is while sitting on the couch, watching TV. In this setting, you can casually browse the web, keep up on things like Facebook and Twitter, read news, and play casual games. Beyond this, the Xoom really doesn’t have much mass user appeal. It can’t be used for content creation, and as far as consumption goes, there is an extreme lack of Honeycomb compatible/optimized apps, Hulu and Netflix are yet to be supported, and most major video formats for user-loaded video are either unsupported or poorly implemented.
Also, the Xoom is just too big. At 1.6lbs, with a small screen bezel, the Xoom is too heavy and awkward to hold with one hand. At first, I thought that the weight wouldn’t be an issue, but trying to do anything one handed really proved to be an arm-weakening task. This is multiplied by the fact that your thumb covers not only the bezel, but part of the screen while trying to hold onto the tablet. This leads to extra screen taps, and issues with tap recognition.
This brings me to my final point, price. When the iPad was announced over a year ago, Apple set the tablet price point at $499. Since then, other manufacturers are set on releasing at this price point, not realizing that they really must beat Apple on price in order to have a fighting chance. ASUS has proven with their EeePad Transformer that a 10” Tegra 2 Honeycomb tablet can be sold for $399, and I think this is a much more reasonable price point for a device like this that doesn’t have everyone’s favorite fruit on the back. At $599 for the 32gb WiFi model, the Xoom automatically priced itself out of the market.
So here’s the digest of why I returned my Xoom:
- Android 3.0 (even 3.1) just isn’t ready
- No hulu / netflix / video codecs
- Too heavy / hard to hold 1 handed
- Too expensive to beat the iPad
I eagerly await the day that a company can create a tablet that offers something that makes me want to leave my laptop at home, but until then, I’ll stick with my computer and my smartphone. I think ideal device will end up being something smaller and lighter than the average 10” tablet.