Saturday, February 26, 2011

Motorola XOOM v. Apple iPad2

The Motorola XOOM (manufacturer spells it with caps) tablet from Verizon Wireless running the Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) Operating System (OS) became available yesterday. Given that I had been waiting for this product it's strange that I have not yet pulled the trigger and bought the damn thing.

Most mainstream sources (NY Times, WSJ, ...) recommend waiting until March 2, only three days, for Apple's predatory announcement of its iPad2. It seems that the iPad2 announcement has been hurried to a strategically earlier date to impede XOOM sales.

These seem to be my reasons for hesitating:

1. Price.  $600 with a $20 per month two year contract with Verizon Wireless for one gig per month or $800.  Ouch!  That's no pressure for Apple to be more reasonable, which Apple would have no inclination to be anyway.

2. XOOM is currently only available in one configuration, 3G with a future software upgrade to 4G when that version of wireless network becomes available.  There is currently no WiFi only version.  I asked two friends who know this stuff better than I whether such a software upgrade made sense but did not get a direct answer: there's only a marketing of version of 4G and why would you need all that speed.  My thinking: I don't want a $600-$800 device to become obsolete in 12-18 months.

3. There will be plenty more Android tablets and the XOOM may not seem so hot in a few months.  Others may be less expensive and more polished;  XOOM currently lacks Flash video play, which is really odd given Apple's policy to never support Flash. I could live without an HD video camera and save that expense.  I just want to look up stuff.  A bare bones tablet for half the price would be compelling.  I don't actually need an iPad clone.

4. iPad2 is the 800 pound and $800 gorilla, the market leader and trend setter.  Maybe I should just succumb and buy from the evil Apple empire.

In the Westchester mall near my home are both an Apple store and a Verizon Wireless store.  Maybe I'll wait 3-4 days and see if I can try each and then delude myself into thinking that my decision was not largely emotional and go ahead and buy the XOOM in hopes that the enlightened google will reward me by smiting mighty Apple with its open architecture.

So when the heck will PCs with the google ChromeOS finally be available?  That product might preclude my consumer longing for the more expensive tablet.