CNET First Look
Motorola XoomWith Google's next generation of Android, Motorola's knack for great hardware, and Verizon's promise of 4G network compatibility, the Xoom tablet offers a more powerful, more capable alternative to Apple's iPad.
-Hey! I'm Donald Bell, and today, we're taking a first look, an official first look at the Motorola Xoom. This is an Android-based tablet with a 10.1-inch screen, 32 gigabytes of storage and a price tag of $800 off contract or $600 with a 2-year commitment from Verizon. It's about the same size as the original iPad although it has more of a wide screen dimension, and the bezel around the screen isn't as wide. It's definitely heavier than the iPad which sounds like a small complaint. The tablet is not some thing you spend a lot of time holding. On the bottom, you have connections for micro-USB and micro-HDMI though you'll need a dock if you wanna get video out from this thing. On the top, you have a headphone out and a door that covers up the microSD memory card slot for additional storage and a 4G sim car slot for the 4G support that's coming later this year. There is volume control on the left side, and on the back, you get a 5-megapixel camera and flash and a pair of stereo speakers. You'll also see the power buttons over here on the back. Now, it's a little weird to have the speakers blasting out away from you, but it's nice that you don't actually run the risk of covering them up with your hands. You also get 2-megapixel camera on the front that works with video chat apps like Google Talk. One of the biggest differences between the Xoom and all the Android tablets we reviewed in 2010 is the lack of tactile navigation buttons on the home screen. This is a good thing. Controls your back, search, and menu have all moved on to the touchscreen thanks to the latest version of Android made specifically for tablets. Verizon and Motorola are the first to have Android 3.0 and is a big part of why this tablet is so special. You get all the stuff that makes the Android great. There's full support for Android market, official Google apps for Gmail, Maps, GPS navigation, and calendar. A lot has changed though, the browser has this tab interface that works more like a desktop browser than a smartphone. You get this nice big keyboard. Notifications and settings are down here on the bottom, and generally, all the included apps have been overhauled for the larger screen of the tablet. So now the big question, is this thing a real competitor to the iPad. For my perspective, there is no doubt. It's fast. It's pretty and you can see that a lot of that went in to the execution. It's not cheap though. And with so many tablet options coming out this year, I stay away from contracts like the plague. Verizon and Motorola have the lock on Android 3.0 for now, but the many eager contenders are on the horizon. So that's the Motorola Xoom from Verizon. For cnet.com I'm Donald Bell.