Motorola Xoom boomed at CES 2011 stealing the spotlight from other Android tablets, setting a new benchmark that Apple would be aiming for with its iPad 2 due in April.
The arrival of the tablet from the Motorola stable was reported to be in April, nearing the Apple iPad 2 timeline. However, Engadget reported on Saturday that the tablet's release will be pre-poned to February 17. Xoom will be available at Best Buy at a price of $700.
The earlier launch of the Motorola tablet coincides with reports emerging from the HTC camp that it will start shipping its Android 2.3-based tablet Flyer from March in U.S. Also, BlackBerry maker RIM is due to launch its PlayBook in March. Thus Motorola is aiming to garner an early mover's advantage prior to the HTC tablet launch as HTC is considered to be one manufacturer capable of taking on the iPad might.
However the question whether Motorola Xoom will be able to offer stiff competition to both iPad and iPad 2, still looms large in the tablet landscape. With iPad 2 reports tumbling out, since Apple released the iOS 4.3 beta for developers, Xoom has to look out for some serious punch coming from iPad 2.
Motorola Xoom comes with the new iteration of Android, the Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb, which has been specifically designed by Google for tablets unlike its other Android versions which were crafted for smartphones. The other Android renditions used in tablets have resulted in lower battery life. However, the Xoom running on Honeycomb juice offers 10 hours of battery life which is similar to iPad though its screen resolution is higher at 1280x800 compared to iPad's 1024x798.
DigiTimes reported that the upcoming iPad 2 will sport 2058x1536 in screen resolution which will beat Xoom's resolution by a mile. However, it is to be seen whether this will affect iPad 2's battery life.
The Xoom also sports a 1GHz dual-core Tegra 2 processor while Apple iPad runs on an A4 1GHz. Reports suggest that iPad 2 will take on the Tegra 2 dual-core chip with its SoC the A5, a dual-core Cortex-A9 chip design. It is also reported that the iPad 2 processor will be employing the SGX543 graphics support. The current iPad uses SGX535 graphics support. This addition will bring 1080p video capability to iPad 2, which Motorola Xoom also offers. The existing iPad offers 720p video playback.
At the memory levels Motorola Xoom offers 1GB RAM compared to iPad's 256 MB RAM. Xoom comes in only 32 GB format while the iPad comes in both 16 GB and 32 GB formats. Reports surmising that iPad 2 will boost its resolution to Retina Display would, however, warrant higher RAM,and Apple could bump-up the RAM capacity in the iPad 2.
Motorola Xoom comes loaded with sensors as it offers a built-in barometer and accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor and gyroscope. The iPad offers only an accelerometer and ambient light sensor, although reports suggest that the iPad 2 will come loaded with an accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity.
Xoom sports a 5MP rear-facing camera and a 2MP front facing camera while the existing iPad does not have a camera although the iPad 2 is due to carry two cameras. 9to5 Mac reported that the iPad 2 will have a 1MP rear camera and 0.3 MP VGA front-facing camera.
Xoom with a display size of 10.1-inch weighs the same as an iPad at 1.6 pounds, although the iPad 2 could be lighter, as in November 2010 a patent filing by Apple revealed that it would use carbon fiber material in its devices. The patent was titled Reinforced Device Housing and though the patent does not specifically mention iPad, the illustration or figures did give away the context.
Also, Motorola Xoom comes without any buttons as it will allow the use of special gestures to control the tablet. The iPad in its current form comes with buttons for volume control, application icons, home button, on/off and screen rotation lock. However, it is reported that the iPad 2 will have four and five finger gestures. This will add multitasking features to iPad. Thus, a four or five finger pinch will lead a user to the home screen, a swiping up gesture will bring the multitasking bar and left and right swipes will assist in navigating between apps.
The battle, however, seems to be not only between the devices but also in OS systems -- iOS 4.3 and Google's Android 3.0. Other factors which will pay a significant role between Xoom and iPad will include pricing, with current reports stating that Xoom will come with a $700 tag which is similar to a 32GB iPad, and also the quality of apps that are available for the tablets. Apple with its App Store brimming with 300,000 apps is surely leading the way though Android with its 100,000 apps is closely behind Apple's heel.
Here is a comparison between Motorola Xoom and iPad :
Nvidia Tegra 2: dual-core 1Ghz
16 GB/ 32 GB/ 64 GB
5 MP rear-facing, 2 MP front
Barometer, accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope
accelerometer, ambient light sensor