Android: The cable guy analogy

My Motorola Xyboard isn't the only Android device out there plagued with tardy updates.

My Motorola Xyboard.
My Motorola Xyboard. Brooke Crothers

Let's see, it's 5:00 and the cable guy was supposed to show up at 1:00. And, oh yeah, where's my Android update?

I hear Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) is great. I've been hearing how great ICS is since October (when it was released).

Which is about the same time I got my Motorola Xyboard (aka, Xoom 2) -- with Honeycomb. You know, Android 3.0, the old version of Android.

Think about it. Motorola announced a brand-new tablet design just as ICS was coming out but saddled it with Honeycomb.

So, I've been waiting.

It wasn't exactly encouraging when Motorola posted a schedule of upcoming updates last year showing the 10.1-inch Xyboard ICS update slated for "early Q3 2012."

When I first saw this I thought, wait, don't you mean Q1? Somebody must be getting their quarters mixed up.

Now I hear the ICS update is finally ready and "runs extremely smooth."

Like I said, I hear Ice Cream Sandwich is great. Motorola is not officially offering the upgrade yet. (I check for official updates constantly.)

This Android update thing gets under my skin because I like Motorola's Xyboard. A lot.

In fact, I like its physical design more than that of my third-generation iPad. The Xyboard is lighter, thinner, and easier to hold. (The Xyboard is 8.8mm thick versus the iPad's 9.4mm, and weighs 603 grams versus the iPad's 652 grams.)

Weight and weight distribution in a tablet is really important to me. And Motorola nailed it with the Xyboard.

I also wanted the Xyboard because it came with 4G -- at the time of purchase this wasn't an option on the iPad. And, oh, the Xyboard has a killer display.

And I like the Android market. I like the fact that there are a lot of different tablet designs to choose from in all shapes and sizes (though this has a dark side too, in the form of fragmentation). In that sense, Android is a lot more dynamic than Apple's one-design-fits-all.

Motorola Xyboard.
Motorola Xyboard. Motorola

And I like the Android OS. Or, I should say, I want to like it. Despite all the griping (yeah, I'm guilty of raising a stink, too) about the lack of apps on Android, I can get most of the apps I need.

The biggest problem I have is with updates and, consequently, performance. Honeycomb on the Xyboard is not always a smooth experience. Basic things (like text input, Web browsing) can, at times, become too slow to be productive. (A 3.2.2 update improved things but not as much as I thought initially.)

But it doesn't have to be that way. Other Android tablets running ICS, such as the Asus Transformer Prime and, now, Google's Nexus 7 with Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), are fast and smooth.

And up to date. So, hurry up with the update Motorola while I wait for the cable guy to show up.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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