Friday, March 4, 2011

Motorola XOOM: issues for a new user.

Since it just came out, we're all new users.

One thing I did not notice in the reviews is that the HDMI port is mini on the XOOM.  And it is OUT.  Most reviewers did not note that either, nor do the specs.

Note: the power port on the XOOM is NOT USB, but a small round sucker.  Groan!  Also, the USB port may NOT be used to charge the battery, which during the the first charged lit the LED as described but thereafter, does not even though the battery charge percentage increases so I guess that it's chargeing but not not indicating that through the LED.  Argh!

Setup was a whiz and, like my Motorola Droid smart phone, it seamlessly downloaded my contacts and calendar data.  When I opened the gmail app I was presented with an unfamiliar interface.

I then tried accessing my e-mail through the browser.  That same unfamiliar interface appeared.  Finally I noticed something at the bottom of the browser screen that does not appear in the google Chrome browser for Windows: options for either the default mobile interface or the desktop interface.  When I switched to the desktop interface I saw most of what I see on my Windows PC, except for the Priority Inbox.

My vision for modern computing is to keep my data on servers, not on individual computers.  Currently my data is synced between google servers and my Motorola Droid.  Now with the Motorola XOOM I would be syncing with yet another computer.  I don't like that and considered using my google functions through the XOOM browser, not through the XOOM apps.

I finally bit the bullet and reset my XOOM, erasing all the data that had been downloaded from the google servers.  Upon re-initializing my XOOM I skipped providing my google account info.

Now when I open the XOOM gmail app I am prompted to provide my google account info, so the re-set worked erasing my data.  Good.  Same with the contacts app.  I don't see anyway around syncing between google servers and my Motorola Droid smart phone because the screen is so small but the XOOM screen size seems large enough that I can use google online functions pretty comfortably in the browser and not be concerned that if my much more valuable XOOM were to be lost I would not also be losing all my data too.

For Calendar and Docs I had to individually select Desktop view.  Docs warned me that my browser might not support all Docs stuff but stayed with Desktop.  I don't expect to create or edit Docs much onn the XOOM anyway but we'll see.  Hope the XOOM browser remembers my Desktop choices.

By erasing the data I also lost my WiFi passwords.  Rats.  Cannot seem to get stuff like that after fiddling with setting my google account for backup but not sync.

Let's see how this goes during the 14 day trial period.

The extra package of stuff that I ordered for $80 is a bit weird.  The package includes:
- Display Portfolio protective cover/stand
- Standard Doc
- Display Protectors 3-Pack

The Display Portfolio is flimsier than I had expected and I do not see how the XOOM can remain in it and also be inserted into the Standard Doc even with switching the adapter, which itself seems impossible.  The Display Portfolio has no holes on the bottom to provide access between the charger and the charging port so I don't know if I'll:

1. remove the XOOM from the Display Portfolio and drop it into the Standard Doc or
2. leave the XOOM in the Display Portfolio and plug it into the AC adapter, which renders the Standard Doc unnecessary.

All the Motorola documentation has a font size that is much too small, while wasting the obligatory white space.  Hey, Motorola, not all of your customers have great eye sight.  Even with a magnifying glass it's difficult to read.  And as David Pogue noted, what's with those cryptic mini icons on the XOOM screen.  There's plenty of screen real estate.

On the Windows PC I noticed that when I was logged in on the XOOM using the gmail app, Windows gmail indicated that I was logged in on a second computer, providing the IP address.  That's not the case now that I'm accessing gmail on the XOOM through its browser.

I have not actually tried it yet but copy and paste appears to be the same junk, maybe worse, as that on my Motorola Droid.  Computer finger painting has its limits.

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