CES 2011 is over but Motorola Xoom still continues to wow the media, even as reports tumble out that the Xoom can act as a weatherman too but RIM is closing in with its PlayBook which received rave reviews at the event.

Xoom's only worthy competitor in the tablet race, prior to the launch of iPad 2, seems to be the RIM PlayBook 4G. Both are powerful tablets and run on virgin OS QNX and Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb.

Google's closed door work with Motorola resulted in the next iteration of Android 3.0, which is specifically crafted for tablets and Xoom is the harbinger for Honeycomb. Also, RIM's Playbook flaunts a new QNX OS, its first attempt to depart from its BlackBerry OS. RIM bought QNX Software Systems, a maker of real-time operating system, in April 2010. QNX created the Neutrino real-time operating system, a software well adopted by the automobile industry to power Bluetooth integration, device connectivity and similar systems.

Thus it is a sort of firsts for both Motorola and RIM as they showcase these new OS platforms. Google is attempting to do away with the tag associated with its earlier Android versions used in tablets, which was primarily made for smaller devices and RIM is attempting to do away with the legacy quotient as a result of its integration with the enterprise market.

Specification wise Xoom offers a bigger screen and higher resolution which stands at 10.1-inch and 1280x800 configurations compared to PlayBook's 7-inch display and 1024x600 resolutions. However, higher specs on the screen configuration has not affected Xoom's battery life as it returns a cool 10 hours compared to PlayBook's paltry 6 hours. This bodes well for Android 3.0 as earlier versions are supposed to be a drain on tablet batteries.

When it comes to processor Xoom is powered by the Tegra 2 dual-core 1 GHz while PlayBook runs on Texas Instruments Cortex dual core 1 GHz juice. And both the tablets flaunt 1GB in RAM which makes the tablets lightning fast.

Storage wise Xoom comes in only 32 GB format while RIM's PlayBook flaunts 8GB, 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB variants.

The PlayBook also offers a feature called BlackBerry Syncing that allows PlayBook to be synced with a BlackBerry device over Bluetooth. Basically, after syncing the PlayBook just becomes an extension of a BlackBerry phone. This will bode well for enterprise users even as Apple iPad and other Android tablets fail to offer such compatibility, something which allows RIM to specifically target its bread and butter clientele.

Motorola Xoom offers a built-in barometer which is used by meteorologists to gauge the atmospheric pressure. The barometer comes along side an accelerometer, magnetometer, ambient light sensor and gyroscope.

Also both Xoom and PlayBook come sans buttons thus both will showcase unique gestures to control the tab. In fact Apple revealed its Ios 4.3 beta for developers which suggest that Apple 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. Thus it seems that iPad 2 is the reference point for both PlayBook and Xoom.

Both Xoom and RIM offer 1080p video playback but PlayBook's screen resolution is 1024X600 and thus cannot playback 1080p video on its screen but however it supports HDMI video output for full 1080p viewing. The Xoom however offers both 1080p playback on its screen and HDMI video output.

Also Xoom and PlayBook offer rear facing 5MP camera's but in the front facing video chat camera PlayBook offers 3 MP cameras while Xoom offers 2 MP.

So who's the best? Configuration wise both are almost back-to-back as they both offer a choice to customers in the 10.1-inch and 7-inch form factor.

Here is a comparison between Motorola'sXoom and RIM's PlayBook:

Motorola Xoom

RIM PlayBook


Android 3.0



Nvidia Tegra 2: Dual Core 1Ghz

TI OMAP dual core 1 GHz








32 GB

8, 16, 32, 64 GB


1 GB

1 GB

Video Capture




5MP rear, 2MP front

5 MP rear, 3 MP front


802.11 b/g/n

802.11 a/b/g/n


10 hrs

6 hrs


1.6 lbs

0.9 lbs