Life with a Motorola Xoom–Day 1

Published 06 April 11 09:35 AM | rodtrent

Well, actually Day 1 and 1/4, I guess.

Despite reported poor sales numbers for the Motorola Xoom, I picked one up last night on the way to a charity basketball tournament I played in.  I spent the time doing the in-store and out-of-store research, and wasn’t swayed at all by the Motorola commercials.  In fact, the crazy “Xoom turns you into a Transformer” pitch was really a turn-off.  But, it was just time for a tablet.

As the sales person handed me my tablet, I was astonished at the size of the box.  It was no bigger than a box of chocolates.

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I purchased the Wifi-only model.  I have the Droid X through Verizon, so I can use that as a Wifi hotspot - no need to pay for an additional data package if I purchase the tablet through Verizon.

The box contains the Xoom, a couple small manuals, a wall charger, and a USB cable.

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The Xoom is exceptional.  Today is the day where I spend some time installing the apps I need and customizing the tablet to my use.  The AppBrain app is a lifesaver in this instance, where it syncs my apps to the cloud from my Droid X, auto-creates a brand new app list when I login with my Xoom, and I can then copy my apps between lists.  Once the apps are copied between lists, I hit the “Install” option and all my favorite apps are installed on the Xoom.

There are some glaring issues with the Xoom. 

First and foremost, the tablet was designed to need add-on accessories.  I hate that.  For example, the power plug is different than any other Motorola Android device, so you can’t simply use the same power charger between devices.  This means that if you want to charge the Xoom in the car, you need a special Xoom car charger (I did purchase this with the Xoom).  Another example, is that, if I drop this thing, or it falls off a table – it’s probably going to break.  Don’t get me wrong, the construction is solid, but the display can break.  So, you actually need a good rubberized case.  I didn’t purchase the case, but will probably do so soon.

Another issue is the keyboard. I love my Droid X because I can use Swype to type.  If I had to hunt-and-peck all the time, the experience would not be as good.  I’m going to try and find an alternate input method today.

The tablet seems to retain Wifi connections (i.e., stay connected) much better than the Droid X. The Droid X will drop a Wifi connection periodically if the signal is weak, and may have something to do with the confusion between Wifi and the Verizon network connection.

Apps are installing, and I’m already impressed by a lot of what I see.  There are tablet-specific apps in the Marketplace that I’m already enjoying, like the USA Today news app.  My goal is to offload some of my work from my normal setting to the tablet.  We’ll see how much of that can actually be done.

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