Tag Archives: Xoom

Who can compete with the iPad?

The iPad is the king of tablets

Apple’s iPad has dominated tablet sales so far. Android tablets have started making some dents, but none of them are really gaining steam as a product (vs. Android tablets gaining some share as a collection). Harry McCracken at Technologizer asked the simple question every tablet maker should be asking at the time of creating their products: Why should someone buy this instead of an iPad?.

Not just the hardware

The iPad and iPad2 are exceptional products by themselves. Great design (although, I could do with a non-glossy/non-reflective screen), light enough to be really portable, GREAT battery life, and to me, a good size for a screen which would be used for media consumption like movies and TV shows via Netflix, hulu and the like.

The key to their success though, besides the hardware itself and the beauty of the operating system, is the ecosystem. The apps, music, movies, podcasts, iTunes U, and the sometimes overlooked accessory industry. Apple has made slow and steady progress in putting these pieces together and has a seemingly invincible position, but in the world of technology today, it could be very short-lived.

Of course, the starting price of $500, thought by many at the time of the iPad launch to be too high, seems like another killer feature of the iPad.

Ecosystem providers, real competition

Who can really compete with the iPad? Not just the tablet, but the entire package of the tablet, the ecosystem, and the price? Remember, it may be ok to just meet the iPad, but in order to create a serious dent, the competition has to have a pretty big advantage on almost all of the aspects. So, let’s see who is competing:

  • Android at the low end: Cheap Android tablets are everywhere but they may not have Google’s blessing and as a result be cut off from the first-class Android experience, including the Android Market. So they have the price advantage but nothing else.
  • Android at the top end: Motorola XOOM and Galaxy Tab started off as 3G devices sold by the carriers. They required a data contract or ended up costing more without data contract, than an iPad. They suffered from the data contract/price issue to start with, but more importantly, there are hardly any apps for Android in the tablet form factor. An ecosystem though, is not just about the apps, it should also provide a good collection of music, movies and TV shows, which Android seems to lack today.
  • HP TouchPad with webOS: HP recently launched the TouchPad and the sales as well as reviews are not encouraging. HP has a problem similar to Android tablets in terms of getting quality apps available for the customers. It does not have to be hundreds of thousands of apps like the iPad apps, but when you start from zero, it is really an uphill climb. HP does not have a marketplace for music, videos and TV either, but it is big enough to cut some deals and get something going. The point right now though, is that there is nothing on offer, making it difficult to justify the purchase for consumer use.
  • RIM Playbook and Windows 7 slates: I won’t go into too much detail because it is clear that RIM released this thing too soon. It is an unfinished product and has been a flop so far. It is hard to imagine a product from the maker of Blackberry devices that does not have native email and calendar. Native email and calendar are supposed to be coming this summer, but until then it is an incomplete product.   I am similarly ignoring Windows 7 tablets like the the Asus slate, because Windows 7 Touch seems like touch was slapped on Windows 7 rather than it being built for touch-first use. While it works much like a PC, thereby providing a healthy ecosystem to rely on, it is not really an iPad competitor because it is not as light, and is way more expensive.

Windows 8, Amazon tablet Two legitimate competitors

We know very little about Windows 8 and almost nothing about the Amazon tablet. In fact, we don’t even know if any such product is going to come from Amazon, but here is why I think either of these, or both, are going to be viable competitors to iPad (and also lay out conditions for their success).

Windows 8 (especially ARM version): ARM is known for its power efficiency, and we can assume that it will enable small form factor Windows 8 devices with a long battery life. Combine this with the public announcement by Steven Sinofsky that Windows 8 system requirements are going to be same or lesser than Windows 7, and we have a good chance of seeing Windows 8 tablets/slates in the iPad form factor with similar battery life. Windows has a great ecosystem which it supports on the XBOX and Windows Phone, in the form of the Zune Marketplace. It provides a huge collection of music, movies and TV shows. Windows of course, has the most extensive applications catalog (although the current Windows applications will not automatically work on ARM, but will do on Intel architecture as-is). Windows Phone has rapidly grown its app catalog, starting from zero in October/November of 2010 to about 25,000 this June. Since we don’t know what Windows 8 application development will be like outside of HTML/Javascript, let’s just assume that the app ecosystem will be rich enough to start with. This assumption is generally for Windows 8 with full support for legacyWindows applications. We cannot discuss ARM applications until we know more, supposedly at the //build/ conference in September this year.

One concern I have is that Microsoft seems to be fixated on the fact that tabletsare full PC’s, just in a different form factor. Maybe they consider slatesto be the lightweight PC with a similar form factor. I hope that one way or the other, that they understand that there is a product category which is not necessarily a full PC, but serves the purpose of casual computing much like the iPad does today.

Amazon tablet: Of all Android tablet makers, Amazon surprisingly is poised to be the best equipped in terms of an ecosystem it supports music, movies, TV shows, instant streaming, subscription, cloud storage, cloud music player, digital goods, and very recently, even its own curated Android market for apps! It has already shown manufacturing prowess with the highly successful Kindle, although I understand components for a tablet are different from those used in making the Kindle. Amazon also has a great retail shelf spaceto sell their tablet, and that is their home page, visited by millions of people every day.

If they can pull off a 9- or a 10-inch tablet built on Android with their own marketplace for apps, movies, music and TV shows, they would immediately be a competitor.

It is strange that I feel most optimistic about something that we may not see for one more year, and something that does not even exist as a product today. Such is the state of iPad competition (or lack thereof) today, that we are left to place our bets on almost-unicorns and unicorns.

I sure hope there is some real competition for the iPad though, because that can only be good for us, the consumers. Right?

Motorola Droid Bionic Launch And XOOM 4G LTE Upgrade Delayed!

Back at CES 2011, Motorola announced the Atrix 4G and the Droid Bionic. While the Atrix 4G is already available to the general consumer, the Droid Bionic was expected to be released sometime in Q2 of 2011.

The Droid Bionic is the first dual-core 4G LTE phone headed to Verizon’s network. However, there is a twist in the tale. At the company’s Q1 earning call, Motorola’s CEO Sanjay Jha told the folks over at Droid-Life that the Droid Bionic launch, as well the XOOM’s 4G LTE update has been delayed.

Motorola_Droid_Bionic

Instead of the original Droid Bionic, Motorola will now release a new improved and better spec’d Bionic in Q3,2011 .

The XOOM 4G LTE update has been delayed because of Verizon’s 4G LTE network. It looks like the carrier wants to beef up its network, before the XOOM gets 4G LTE support.

For the people who were worried about the low sales figure of the XOOM, the company managed to sell more than 250,000 units.

Keeping in mind that the XOOM launched in the last week of February, and is still not available all over the world, 250k units is not bad at all!

Motorola XOOM Gets A Software Update; Enhances Security Features And More!

Motorola and Verizon have started rolling out a new software update for the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet – the Motorola XOOM.

The update brings with it some much needed stability improvements, Bluetooth support for Google Talk and some enhanced security features.

Below is the full change-log -:

  • Access and stay connected to Wi-Fi networks with added Proxy support.
  • SSL data transfer with websites is now supported.
  • WPA Pre-Shared Key pass-phrases are now supported when using the device as a Mobile Hotspot.
  • Supports Google Widevine DRM and HDCP. Email and Messaging
  • POP3 HTML emails will display in their entirety. Call Features
  • Bluetooth ® is now supported in Google Talkâ„¢.

Additional Device Features

  • Encrypted passwords can be entered during power up.
  • Calendar events will remain up to date after an installed software update.
  • Application storage errors will not appear unless the device has reached maximum storage capacity.
  • Safely dock the MOTOROLA XOOM into the docking adapter without interruption.
  • Ability to add and use a Bluetooth mouse. + A shortcut key for the Bluetooth keyboard has been added.
  • View and import pictures from digital cameras with Picture Transfer Protocol.
  • When using the device in accessibility mode, menus will no longer prompt with sounds.

As of now, this software update is being rolled out for only the 3G+Wi-Fi version of the Motorola XOOM. Hopefully, the update will be rolled out sometime soon for the Wi-Fi only version as well.

Enable MicroSD Card Slot On The Motorola XOOM

Motorola released its highly anticipated tablet the Motorola XOOM at the end of February. All the reviews of the device stated that the product was rushed to the market.

The XOOM has a pretty decent spec sheet which includes a Tegra 2 chipset, couple of cameras, an array of sensors, free upgrade to 4G LTE and an non-functional microSD card slot.

Motorola_XOOM

Even though the Xoom is available in various storage capacities including 16GB and 32GB, a microSD card slot is always useful. Motorola and Google say that the microSD card on the Xoom will be functional sometime in future, after an OS update.

Now, a team of developers Tiamat over at XDA-Developers have released a custom kernel for the Xoom, which enables the microSD card slot. All Motorola Xoom owners need to do is to flash this custom kernel on their tablet, and insert a microSD card in the slot!

The custom kernel also brings support for tun.ko and cifs.ko, along with a modded ramdisk for USB Host support.

Xoom owners can head over to this thread for more information.

(Source)

Apple iPad 2 Selling 50 Times as Fast as the Motorola Xoom?

Apple iPad 2It has been only about 25 days since the official launch of the Apple iPad 2, and according to some reports, it has been selling quite well. The iPad 2 is selling at a faster rate than its predecessor – the iPad. Apple sold close to 2.5 million iPad 2 units in March, which is about 20 days of availability. By now, it has sold close to 3 million units, even though the sales are constrained due to limited supply.

For comparison, the Motorola Xoom, the first major Android Honeycomb tablet has sold only 100,000 units, according to a Deutsche Bank analyst. This figure was apparently arrived at by using the Android developer site to check the number of people using Honeycomb. It was launched on February 24.

If we compare the sales numbers of the iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom, the Xoom is a relative flop. The iPad 2 has been selling at an average rate of almost 120,000 units a day, while the Xoom has been selling at an average rate of only 2400 units a day, which means that the iPad is selling at almost 50 times the speed at which the Xoom is selling.

It seems that the consumers whole-heartedly agree with Consumer Reports’ conclusion, that the iPad 2 is the king of the current generation of tablets.

Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi Available For Orders

Wi-Fi, the 10.1 inch tablet from Motorola has finally gone on sale today at various stores including Best Buy, Costco and Staples.

Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi

Motorola XOOM features a 10.1 inch screen with a resolution of 1280×800 and is powered by an NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor which includes a dual-core Cortex processor. The device runs the 3.0 Honeycomb OS which is designed for tablets and has a 2MP camera at the front and a 5MP camera with 720p HD video capture at the back.

Motorola XOOM 32GB Wi-Fi version will retail at $599 which is on par with the 32GB version of the . However, XOOM has a better hardware configuration than the 2.

You can order the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi version by visiting this page.

Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi Version Coming On March 27th For $599

Motorola launched the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet the XOOM on February 24th.

Today, the company announced the Wi-Fi version of the XOOM which will be available beginning from March 27th. The XOOM sports a 10.1-inch XGA (1280×800) display and is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2 chipset. It is also the first tablet in the world to be powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb which was tailor made for tablets.

Motorola_XOOM

The handset packs in 1GB of RAM and a bunch of sensors including accelerometer, barometer and an ambient light sensor. There is also a 5MP camera at the back, and a VGA camera in the front for video calling.

The base model of the Wi-Fi version of the XOOM with 32GB of internal memory will cost $599. The tablet will be available at all major retailers in the United States including Best Buy, Costco, Radio Shack, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Staples.

Motorola has not announced anything about bringing the XOOM to other regions of the world as well.

Motorola Xoom Available For Pre-Order in India For Rs 35000

The Motorola Xoom, the first Android tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb which has been launched in the US since weeks, has finally shown some signs of coming to India.

Infibeam, a popular online store in India, has made the Motorola Xoom available in India for pre-order. It is priced at Rs 35,000 or $775, based on current exchange rates. It’s a bit surprising that the tablet will be available in India at a lower price than in the US where it is priced at $800. According to Infibeam, the Motorola Xoom will be released in India on 10 May 2011, and will start shipping in 3-4 days after the launch.

The Motorola Xoom is a very good Android tablet, and presently the only decent competitor to the Apple iPad 2. It has received good reviews but is priced a bit high, compared to the Apple iPad 2, which starts at $499, the same as the iPad. It is rumored that a Wi-Fi only version of the Xoom is in the works, and will cost substantially lower, closer to the $500 mark.

The Motorola Xoom has a 10.1 inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. It is powered by a 1 GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1 GB RAM and comes with a 5 MP camera. It also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G connectivity and comes with 32 GB internal storage.

To preorder it, visit Infibeam

Motorola Xoom

Flash Player 10.2 For Android Coming Next Week!

Motorola started rolling out a software update for the Xoom just hours ago. Many Xoom owners hoped that this update would bring Flash 10.2 to the tablet.

However, according to Motorola this update will prepare the Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet for Flash 10.2. Now, Adobe has finally broken its silence and announced that Flash 10.2 is coming to Android based tablets and handsets next week!

Flash_Player

Flash 10.2 will be available for all the Android handsets running 2.2 (FroYo) or Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), which meet the minimum system requirements. For the Honeycomb version, Flash 10.2 will be released with a beta’ tag, and will be available only if users have installed the v3.0.1 OTA update.

Flash 10.2 will bring with a number of performance enhancements including enhanced performance and support for Nvidia Tegra 2 based handsets and tablets. Flash 10.2 will also bring these changes :

  • Improved scrolling of web pages;
  • Uncompromised viewing of rich, immersive content in the way intended by the page designer, including support for instances where HTML and other web content is composited over Flash Player rendered content.   Flash Player rendered content will continue to be placed in a separate window on top of HTML in the Android 2.2 and 2.3 browsers, as these browsers do not support the new Android 3.0 browser rendering model.

Flash 10.2 will also be able to hardware accelerate H.264 videos for Android 3.0.1+ based tablets and improved scrolling of web pages as Flash content will be rendered as a part of the web browser, itself.

Adobe will release Flash Player 10.2 for both mobiles and tablets, next week on March 18th.

Motorola XOOM Gets A Software Update

It has hardly been a month since Motorola released the first Android 3.0 Honeycomb based tablet to the consumers in the United States, the Xoom.

Today, Motorola has started rolling out a new software update for the Xoom, which includes ‘numerous enhancements’ and will prepare the tablet for the future Flash 10.2 update as well. The update also improves the daylight savings time feature on the device.

Keep in mind, that this update will prepare the Xoom for Flash 10.2, and not actually install it!

Motorola_XOOM

Xoom owners, who have rooted their tablet, must restore it back to its original state so as to receive the OTA update. The OTA update can be downloaded either via 3G or via Wi-Fi. The update will be gradually rolled out in phases to all Xoom owners beginning from today.

Xoom owners who have rooted the device, can flash it back to stock by following these steps.

Hopefully, Adobe will release the Flash 10.2 update for the tablet soon now. When released, Xoom owners can download Adobe Flash 10.2 from the Android Market.