Since Steve Jobs introduced the iPad in January 2010, competitors have struggled to create a tablet to rival Apple's. By some accounts, it's here: Yesterday, Verizon began selling the Motorola Xoom, the first tablet to feature Android 3.0 Honeycomb, a notable advance over previous Android tablets that run on adapted smartphone operating systems. Has the iPad met its match? (See the Xoom up close)
Yes, Apple finally has some competition: The Xoom is "the first honest-to-goodness, no-qualifications-necessary iPad rival from a major manufacturer to hit stores," says Harry McCracken at TIME. It's $300 more expensive, but also more powerful than the iPad. Still, prospective tablet buyers should wait and see what Apple has up its sleeve when it unveils the iPad 2 next week.
"iPad gets competition: Meet Motorola's Xoom"
This could be the beginning of an Android takeover: While the iPad 2 will likely match the Xoom's superior technical specs, it's unclear whether Apple can "answer Honeycomb's user interface advantages," says Wilson Rothman at MSNBC. The Xoom's ability to move between apps is far more "elegant" than the "iPad's hackneyed switcher." Keep in mind, however, that Xoom isn't the only Android tablet with the Honeycomb OS coming out.
"Motorola Xoom review: iPad finally has competition"
No, the iPad is still the best bet: "The Xoom is a credible contender, but it's not quite on par with the market leader yet," say Michael Calore and Dylan Tweney in Wired. With a skinnier, taller screen, it's excellent for reading and watching movies, but price is an issue. The Xoom costs hundreds more than the iPad, making it a "bigger leap of faith."
"We're Xoomin', and it feels pretty good"
Time will tell: As of next week, "we'll find out whether the next iPad can render other tablets obsolete," says Jared Newman at PCWorld. It'll need a "software overhaul," as well as better video chat, no carrier commitment, even better screen resolution, and a nice price. "The company may not need to drop prices with the Xoom coming in way over Apple's entry-level $499 iPad, but an even lower price — or perhaps more storage for the same price — could bury the iPad 2's costly competitors."
"5 ways the iPad 2 can smoke Motorola's Xoom, other tablets"