A few short years ago, the consumer market was introduced to the tablet phenomenon. It wasn’t long before Motorola, a manufacturer of innovative technology since the 1930s, invested in development of tablets. The initial tablet by Motorola was called the Motorola Xoom, and was the first tablet to be powered by Android. It launched in early 2011.
Image courtesy of Motorola Mobility
The Xoom is a far technological leap from Motorola’s first consumer products, the battery eliminators - which were made for home radios in the 30’s and the first car radios in 40’s as well as televisions in the 50’s. Brothers, Paul and Joseph Gavin, founded the Motorola brand from its predecessor company Galvin Manufacturing Corp in Chicago, Illinois USA in 1930.
Motorola Xoom’s hardware is sleek and compact with a smooth anodized aluminum finish. There are no buttons on the front of the unit. The on/off button is located on the back of the device beside the 5MP camera and between two speakers. This is not typical of tablet devices, which normally houses a side power button. The volume keys seem hidden in the form factor to the upper left side of the unit and are not easy to find or use, but the buttons are safely encased. The unit uses a micro USB cable to sync items to your computer and also has a micro HDMI output to view movies and pictures on TV. Android Honeycomb 3.0 OS comes preinstalled and is upgradable to Honeycomb 3.2. A speedy dual-core processor and 1GB RAM are features that set this tablet apart from other similar tablets. Viewing movies captured with the front or back cameras on the large 10.1” 1280 x 800 pixels have a display that is sharp and vivid. Playback time is listed as 10 hours on the Motorola website.
There are a number of available apps through the Android Market that are built natively for the Xoom or that can be used with the Xoom. Some of the most popular downloads are games such as Angry Birds, Defender, and Drag Racing; these games optimize interactivity with the user interface. A market widget comes installed and categorizes apps in a logical format and also previews featured apps like games, books and social networking to name a few categories.
Image courtesy of androidapps.com
Quick Office is a software application that is preinstalled on the tablet and features fully functional office documents. Wiki Encyclopedia and YouTube widgets are also preinstalled. A tabbed and flash capable browser allows users to roam the Internet in familiar environment such like a desktop PC. A setup wizard helps users to personalize and customize their new tablets by prompting setup of media apps such as Google Talk and Gmail. The unit is able to connect using Wi-Fi to communicate real time using apps like Skype, Facebook and Twitter.
Physical Interface: Image courtesy of theandroidsite.com
The physical interface is nicely encased in an iodized matte aluminum. The display is on the larger end of the tablet spectrum, with WXGA 1280 x 800 pixels, making the resolution clear and sharp. Navigation is made easy through the touch screen and virtual QWERTY keyboard, that is used in both portrait and landscape mode. Voice and other sounds are recordable on the microphone, which also pick up voice commands with a fair amount of accuracy. Custom navigation boasts five fully personalized home screens.
Communication and Network Capabilities: Image courtesy of TechRepublic
The first generation tablets are WiFi only but came with built in SIM card slot for future expansion. Bluetooth is available for connecting accessories if needed, such as a wireless keyboard. The input is the popular micro USB connector, while also giving media users an HDMI output for playing movies directly from the tablet onto your TV screen. GPS and location services are also available for use.
Image courtesy of androidtalk
Graphical Interface: The user interface is intuitive but does have a slight learning process for those who have not used Android devices. Navigation and gesture systems are different from most other devices but still it’s easy enough to pick up by just playing with the device. Virtual buttons found at the bottom of every screen let you go back to the last page, go home and a third button is there to give you an overview of the applications that are open. A virtual multi-finger QWERTY keyboard is used for typing like you would on a real keyboard. Easy hand gestures such as pinching to zoom and swiping to turn pages are used to navigate. The whole graphical interface rotates with the device for ease of use with different applications. Other GUI’s (graphical user interface) that the Xoom uses is simple tapping motions to open/close documents the way you would use a click on a mouse. “Tap and drag” is used for highlighting and selecting areas to be copied/cut, whereas “tap and hold” is used for pasting. The main menu pans from side to side, which allows for a more natural experience of space. Image courtesy of AnandTech
Functionality and User Experience: The Motorola Xoom tablet allows you to multitask, much like a PC. This compact tablet is flexible in function; it can be used in the workplace, school and/or at home with customizable apps, widgets, backgrounds, and notifications. It is also easily organized and personalized.
Some of the functions the tablet can perform are reviewing and responding to email through a widget, browse the web, compose office documents in Quick Office, chat in real time with apps such as Google Talk or MSN, take pictures and record videos, keep score, check the weather, read the news, blog on WordPress and much more.
New users will find this unit easy to use and navigate, because the user interface is similar to a computer. One major difference in the user experience is that when using interactive applications, such as certain games, your real world movements control the screen. An example of this is a car racing game, like “Need For Speed” that uses the tablet as a steering wheel; when you turn the tablet, you are also turning the car in the game.