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Motorola Xoom – new Android tablet

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to receive a new tablet device – on loan from Optus.

They’re getting a bunch of people to provide some feedback on the new units – and chose me also – thanks !

A few friends of mine have an Apple iPad, and I have tried a few of the Microsoft Windows 7 tablets – each device has their own pro’s and con’s – the market for this “form factor” is really hotting up.

The Motorola Xoom is one of the first devices that runs the new Android 3.1 O/S from Google – the unit won the “Best of Show” at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), back in January.

It’s certainly a great tablet – I spent a few hours last night setting up the device.

I simply keyed in my password for my home WiFi – and once you have a Google account configured – you’re in…!

I spent a few hours poking around the various navigation controls – and applications – and Market Place.

I had a few frustrating moments – partly due to my inexperience with the layout & UI – and thinking like a PC user …!

Here’s a few bits & pieces from my initial observations.

  • Unlike the iPad/iPhone – you key in your PIN number – and THEN have to press OK as well.  
  • I’m used to my phone just opening up – after the 4th press.

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  • The home screen has navigation controls on the lower left – for HOME, fly-out for last FOUR items – and the BACK button.
  • Also – a swag of icons in the lower right – notifications, and clock, for example.
  • There are three-four “panes” that you can swipe left-right – much like the screens in an iPad or iPhone
  • The applications can be reached by the “Apps” button in the top right

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  • Web Browsing is very nice – thanks FLASH !  

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  • But – I found some sites wouldn’t load properly – detecting the device was a “mobile device” – even though it has 1280×720 screen (!)
  • When navigating to www.microsoft.com

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  • Then – switched to the desktop version of the site

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  • One frustrating task was to add bookmarks – and – if needing to open a new tab…(!)
  • The browser goes full-screen if only ONE tab – and I couldn’t work out how to get another tab…   
  • Similarly, I wanted to add a bookmark to the “home screen” – and couldn’t find that either.
  • There is a fly out on the top right – when you click the upper-right icon – but not there.

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  • It turns out – I found accidentally – there is a flyout on the far left and far right – that hovers when you swipe inwards.  
  • This allows for move forward, back, new tab, bookmarks, etc
  • Now that I *know*, it’s really handy – especially when holding the screen with arms out stretched – it’s actually VERY nice.
  • BUT – no visual cue that it’s there – I was wondering WTF !?!

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*phew*

One of my favourite apps is Google Earth.

  • I showed the kids some places in Australia – and we found our house.
  • Nice double-touch zoom and roll/rotate
  • BUT – I could work out how to TILT – and view 3D buildings (eg. New York)

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  • Clicking on the top “Search” box brings up the standard on-screen keyboard.

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  • Can’t tilt !    (??)

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  • Music and media – have had mixed results.  
  • The way to get files onto the device is via the USB cable – and then drag-down in Windows Explorer (Windows 7).
  • The had some errors – saying the device was unplugged – and halted copying a few times.   I’ve now got a few MP3’s on there – but was a bit problematic.

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  • Movies (videos) is another story – I haven’t been able to load ANY as yet – with no support for WMV, AVI or DIVX.  
  • I’ll try out a re-code of a video using HANDBRAKE – but it’s a bit crap to have to do that to be able to watch it.

More to follow (in further post/s)…>

  • 3G – haven’t tried it as yet
  • Google Apps, Gmail, Google+, YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, etc
  • Games – have tried Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and a car racing game
  • Front facing and rear facing camera’s – for photo + video (Skype ?)

Thanks again to Optus for the trial !

Smile

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2 Responses

  1. Hey Chris,

    Great work with the blog! It’s interesting to see your perspective of the tablet.

    I found you can open a new tab easily by hitting the plus sign next to the tabs you currently have open 🙂 But I find it interesting that the slide out panel you found hasn’t been clearly disclosed.

    I was thoroughly disappointed to find that videos could not simply be added – and it’s something I’m going to look into.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts! Awesome work!

    Michael.

  2. Check the Market Place, there are plenty of free media players that play AVI, etc (well for 2.2). Rock Player is one

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