Life with a Motorola Xoom–Day 2

Published 07 April 11 10:22 AM | rodtrent

I’m sitting at Day 2 (read about Day 1) of using the Motorola Xoom Android tablet and I have to say, it’s been interesting – and, most of it has been awesome. 

First off, the Xoom is an eye-catching device.  Once the wife and kids saw it, they all started salivating with ideas on how they could use it.  The wife and I sat in bed last night and watched some episodes from Toby Turner on YouTube using the XOOM.

One of the ideal uses for the tablet is to use it to check emails and check web pages, due to it being “always on” and the battery life being so phenomenal.  I’ve not attempted to “test” the battery life yet, but plan on doing so soon.  However, the battery does seem to hold up just the small amount it has been used so far. My plan is that one day next week I will use the Xoom exclusively as a work device.  So, that should be a great test of the battery life, as well as, the real business value.

I mentioned yesterday about the hunt-and-peck keyboard, and it was immediately suggested to download the Thumbkeyboard app for Android.  Nice app!  With the app you can split the on-screen keyboard so that you can use your thumbs to type quickly while holding the tablet on either side.  You can’t type as fast as with Swype, but it’s workable.

Thumbkeyboard

I spent most of yesterday installing and looking through the Android apps I’ve used most on my Android phone.  Some of them were horrible on a tablet due to being developed specifically for small screen size (they didn’t automatically resize), so I promptly removed them and looked for other, similar apps that might do the job.

In the Android Marketplace, there is an entire section for tablet-optimized apps, so it was good to be able to sift through those.  However, there are quite a few apps that are workable on a tablet without having to be revamped.  Here’s a list of apps I’ve installed, along with IF they are tablet-optimized versus tablet-workable.

App Tablet status
   
Plume for Twitter Works great, little quirky at the top of the screen
Adobe Photoshop Express Works great
Barcode Scanner Works great
Amazon.com Works great
SparkChess HD Lite Works great – requires Adobe AIR to be installed
my6sense Great app, works great – needs some tablet optimization
TV Guide Mobile Works great – awesome tablet app
Wikipedia Encyclopedia Works great
IMDB Works great
Evernote Works great – widget needs better tablet optimization
Angry Birds Rio Works great – nicely done, great for tablet
Google Earth Touchscreen implementation needs to be slowed down a bit – could be due to the Xoom processor
Facebook for Android Works – but needs some serious tablet optimization
Flash Player What can I say? Everyone hates Adobe, but you need Flash for video.
NewsRob Pro Works great. Best Android RSS newsreader.
Amazon Kindle Wow…Google Books UI really blows this away. Amazon needs to update this quickly.
DroidIn Pro Works but needs to be optimized
Gowalla Works great
K-9 Mail Works great – could be optimized a bit more, though
Dropbox Works great – what can I say – best app ever
Miso Works great
Beautiful Live Weather Works – but widget needs to be optimized for the tablet
Comics for Android Works great – really nice experience
Pulse News Works great – tablet UI is really nice
Documents to Go Works great – can’t work without this app
AppBrain App Market Works – love the app, but needs tablet optimization
WordSearch Unlimited Works, but was optimized for smaller screen
WeatherBug Elite Works great – but saw yesterday that a tablet-optimized version is coming
JEFIT Pro Works great
Google Maps Works great – really nice
Google Books Works great – best ebook UI on Android so far
YouTube Works great – UI is excellent on the tablet
Dungeon Defenders Works great – came installed on the XOOM
Street View – Google Maps Works great

Just a quick closing note to today’s post, there is a bit of quirkiness in the Xoom/Honeycomb interface.  Sometimes you will tap to open a menu in an app, or an options or settings feature set, and you will be taken to some random app on the tablet.  Crazy.

More tomorrow as I spend another day marveling at this crazy device.  I have to think seriously today about a rubberized cover for the XOOM, as I am severely afraid to sit it down on anything except a known “soft” surface.

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