Thursday, February 24, 2011

Xoom, Xoom, Xoom

Android really shines on a tablet. After playing with my new Xoom tablet and Android Honeycomb for a few hours now, I get the sense that Android was really meant for the larger screen. The notifications, the multitasking, the widgets; they all combine to make an incredibly powerful and rich tablet OS. Having a home screen with your calendar and email at your finger tips is incredibly more useful than page after page of icon matrixes.


And switching between applications is much nicer on Honeycomb.


To think that all this time Android has really been a tablet OS crammed into a smart phone just bursting to get free. By the same token, I can see now just how lame iOS is as a nice, but limited phone OS when running scaled up to a larger screen on the iPad.

And the Xoom hardware is very impressive. It is slightly taller but significantly narrower than the iPad and has much smaller bevels around the screen as well. Although this does make it harder to carry the Xoom without leaving finger tip smudges. The dual core Tegra2 processor makes everything feel pretty snappy as well.

The Xoom has a higher resolution packed into a slightly smaller screen which makes for higher DPI. Games like Angry Birds and eBooks look incredible on the Xoom's higher density screen.



Notice how the status bar at the bottom of the screen goes into a minimal mode when reading a book? The same thing happens when viewing a movie in order to minimize the distraction of that bottom strip. These are really nice touches that I would usually expect from Apple rather than Google.

Of course, I'm talking here in terms of environment only. With a few exceptions, as far as applications go, iPad wins hands down. No question. No contest.

As we have seen in the past, a superior OS usually doesn't win against an OS with more apps so this should be an interesting fight.

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