April 4th, 2011


Android Honeycomb on Motorola Xoom, first day impressions

I've been an Android smartphone user ever since the the HTC Dream came out. And I've wanted an Android tablet ever since the world went nuts over the iPad. I've held off on buying the really early pad-like devices that have come out of China and India, because while they looked like the start of a promise, they have been plagued with poor build quality, hacked up software laods, and not-quite-there-yet. I want something I can use, not just futz with.

Now that the Motorola Xoom is out, and after playing with the first cut of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb running on it, I knew that it was time. And since I didn't enroll for Google I/O before it sold out, I was probably going to have to buy it.

So I did. I ordered it from Amazon, requested free 3day Prime shipping, and was expecting it on Wednesday. It arrived today.

The unboxing went pretty quickly. There is the unit, a USB cable, and a power cable. And a few dozen sheets of regulatory instructions. No "user manual". Fortunately, while the Honeycomb UI is different from the past Android UIs (stock, GoogleTV, Sense, Touch), it's not too much different, and I was driving it after only a few minutes, and after all my apps synced up, I was using the calendar, gmail, chat, and Kindle, and such.

I think this is going to be my default Kindle device, and I am going to be doing a majority of my email reading and much casual web browsing with it.

I have only two complaints so far:

One is the standard annoyance of having to connect all the apps that depend on back-end services back up to their accounts (Kindle & Amazon MP3 to Amazon, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, etc). Android really needs to have a standard keychain service, and then sync it back to the G mothership like it does everything else.

The other, continuing annoyance, is the power/charging cable uses a proprietary connector. Now that the world is quickly converging on micro-USB for charging phones, after 20 years of power adapter hell, it's looking like the hardware manufacturers are doing the same stupid thing again with tablets. This is going to be Yet Another power connector I will have to pack into my gear.

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