Photo: Robert Scoble
Our full review of the Xoom last week drew a lot of ire from Android enthusiasts, and they raised some good points.Honeycomb and the Xoom are far from perfect, but there are a handful of features that some think are enough to justify buying an Android tablet over an iPad.
For the most part we agree that for some, especially the tech-savvy, would choose a Xoom over the iPad for these advantages alone.
We took a look at the Honeycomb and Xoom features that trump what the iPad has to offer right now based on what our readers think and our own experiences with the tablet.
Like all Android devices, the Xoom allows you to fully-customise your home screen. Widgets for services like Twitter, Facebook, weather, Gmail, and RSS feeds will keep you updated without opening a separate app. The chances of iPad getting this kind of customisation? Slim to none.
It's a bit embarrassing that the Xoom didn't ship with Flash support, considering that's one of its major selling points against the iPad. But Motorola says it is coming soon. When it does, you'll have no problem viewing embedded video or animations still found on many websites.
Assuming another tablet doesn't come out of nowhere with it, the Xoom will be the first tablet to offer 4G data speeds. But like Flash support, you'll have to wait. For those who purchase a Xoom before 4G becomes available, you'll have to send your tablet in to Motorola so they can add the upgrade. Annoying.
But if you really want 4G speeds on a tablet, the Xoom is still your only choice.
There has been a lot of trash talk recently about the notification system in iOS, and it's well deserved. Honeycomb's notification system isn't perfect, but it's vastly better than what you'll get on the iPad. Instead of annoying badges, notifications on Honeycomb pop up in the lower right corner with a preview of your new email, tweet, or instant message. Tapping the corner will bring up a list of all your recent notifications for easy access. When we tested the Xoom, the notification system was one of our favourite features.
Multitasking has been around for less than a year on iOS and only about four months on the iPad. But Honeycomb and the Xoom do it better. It may drain your battery faster (we suggest getting a task manager for this), but switching between apps and letting them run in the background is much better on the Xoom.