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Motorola’s Xoom Android tablet is now available at Best Buy and Verizon stores, and reviewers have weighed in with mostly positive impressions.
Overall, the Xoom appears to be the most iPad-like Android tablet on the market, thanks to its impressive hardware and slick Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system. But it’s much more expensive than the iPad ($599 with a two-year Verizon contract, $799 off contract), there aren’t many tablet-specific Android apps available, and certain hardware and software elements feel rushed, and all of those disadvantages keep it from being an ideal option for general consumers.
Engadget editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky caps off his review by saying, “Honeycomb and the Xoom are spectacular — unfortunately they’re a spectacular work in progress.” That seems to be the overall sentiment among reviewers.
The Wall Street Journal and All Things Digital’s Walt Mossberg praised the Xoom, but concludes that its high price will pose a significant problem for the tablet. Motorola has said that a cheaper $599 WiFi-only version of the Xoom is in the works, but it’s unclear when it will be available. For now, the iPad has a more attractive $499 entry price, although at that price it offers half the memory and fewer features than the Xoom.
GigaOm’s Kevin Tofel offers up his first impressions on the Xoom in a video. Tofel praises the Gmail and Google Maps apps — both newly redesigned for Android 3.0 — but points out that video chat over Google Talk isn’t as high-quality as Apple’s FaceTime on the iPhone.
Tech personality Robert Scoble, a self-proclaimed iPad lover, points out that the lack of tablet apps will be a big problem for the Xoom. Apple has over 30,000 tablet apps available for the iPad, but at the moment there are only a handful of Android tablet apps available for the Xoom. Motorola has mentioned that it’s working on developing an Android app store of its own that can highlight tablet apps.
The Xoom won’t hold the limelight for too long. Apple is hosting an iPad 2 event next Thursday, which is expected to offer cameras and better hardware to compete with the Xoom and other upcoming Android tablets.