Motorola Xoom review
As with Android 2, the Xoom also allows you to customise its five desktops with interactive fragments, so you can view recent email, social networking status updates and so on directly on the desktop, in addition to adding shortcuts to applications, contacts and folders.
Tap the plus sign in the top-right corner to launch the customisation view and up pops a far more visual approach to adding elements to your desktop than you get with Android 2. You can still launch apps from the traditional grid view, too, and this is accessible via the Apps link in the top-right corner of the desktop.
The keyboard has been changed, but not radically so. Some keys have been added, including Tab, while the Enter and Backspace keys have moved to more desktop-like positions. One hidden benefit is full multitouch support (up to four points in the case of the Xoom), so you can hold down Shift and type capitals in the same way as you would on a physical keyboard, and hold the number key to shift temporarily to the numbers and symbols keyboard. It’s at least as good as the iPad’s offering.
That’s pretty much it as far as the UI is concerned, but Android 3 is more than just a barebones operating system. As with iOS for the iPad, it comes with a series of core apps, and these have been given the tablet makeover too.
The email app, which supports Gmail, POP3, IMAP and Exchange accounts, is now split into panes: tap an email header in the left pane, and the message content shows up on the right. The Calendar and Contacts app have been given a similar look and feel.
The browser has been beefed up, with a number of handy extras. You now get a toolbar and tabs displayed along the top of the screen and Incognito browsing, along the same lines as the desktop Chrome browser. Thumb gesture shortcuts let you access common features with a quick swipe of your major digit. And, of course, there’s support for Flash, though we had to download and install it from the Market ourselves.
Make a visit to the Android Market on your desktop PC, and you’ll get a good idea of how Google has tweaked the Market app on Android 3. It’s again divided into panes, complete with a graphics-heavy Featured App area at the top of the screen, a categories listing to the right and more featured apps in the main screen area.
The music player sports a CoverFlow-style interface for browsing through albums, and the YouTube app looks glorious, with featured clips and search results displayed in the form of a giant TV wall – a bit like the start screen you get with the Safari desktop web browser.
As far as third-party software goes, there isn’t much to play with. The Xoom comes with a bare minimum of extra software and no games at all. The most exotic pre-installed software beyond the core apps is Film Studio, a good-looking, but rather basic competitor to the iPad’s iMovie video editing app.
And there are some significant omissions. There’s no Facebook or Twitter integration as yet in Android 3 and, even more irritatingly, no default eBook reader.
|Warranty||1 yr return to base|
|Dimensions||249 x 13 x 168mm (WDH)|
|Resolution screen horizontal||1,280|
|Resolution screen vertical||800|
|CPU frequency, MHz||1,000MHz|
|Camera megapixel rating||5.0mp|
|Built-in flash type||Dual-LED|
|Upstream USB ports||0|
|Mobile operating system||Android 3|