Earlier this week, Woot.com (still one of my favorite websites) ran a special on Motorola Xoom tablets, which as many know was one of the first Android-based supposed ‘iPad killers’. I gave it some thought, looked around Amazon and found an even better deal on a refurbished (open box) unit, so decided ‘what the heck’ and pulled the trigger. It showed up yesterday.
I have an iPad (first version) and, while I overall enjoy it (and definitely have come to appreciate the value of a tablet vs. a laptop for casual computing), I had been growing a bit weary of its shortcomings.
My impression after a couple of days? I love the Xoom - more than I expected. Since I was already sold on Android phones, perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I am.
Why? First (and probably most importantly) because I absolutely live in Google services - Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Docs, etc.. - I am heavily invested in these services, and being able to simply enter my credentials and have everything there almost instantly is (sorry Steve Jobs) magical. It’s also a reason I am a Spanning Backup fan and advocate - because my life’s in Google’s cloud - so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Google devices work for me.
But it’s also the overall flexibility of the platform - I am an admitted gadget geek, and love to play around with and tweak my screens, my apps, and the various ways I want to do things. I want my devices to adapt to me, not vice versa.
Is Android for everyone? Certainly not. Apple has a huge advantage in fit and finish - while I am pretty impressed with the overall polish of Honeycomb, it is most definitely not caught up with iOS, and there are plenty of quirky menu structures and ‘how do I do this?’ moments. (some of those were alleviated since I’ve been using an Android phone so long).
Not to mention the well-known advantage Apple holds in developer support - I was able to find most every app I regularly use for Android (some even have tablet versions, with more to undoubtedly come), but there’s certainly nowhere near the breadth or depth of apps available that are available for iPad. I’m going to miss Flipboard in particular (Android has Pulse which is similar but just not the same), and also the gorgeous iPad version of Twitter.
It’s a trade-off, and as I’ve said many times, I am a fan of and have the utmost respect for Apple (I remain a very avid Mac user). But I’m willing to put up with a few seams and a few less apps to gain the integration, flexibility and customizability that Android delivers. It’s still early, but I’m sold.
Anybody want to buy an iPad?