Motorola Xoom Review: Android Market (part 2)

The Motorola Xoom is the first Android tablet to seriously challenge the iPad. The hardware is pretty solid, but what about the apps? Unfortunately, there just isn’t much to talk about since there are only 16 Android apps available in the Android Market. The number’s sure to grow as more Android tablets are sold, but it’s a shame that the entire selection of Android tablet apps currently fits on a single page.

The good news is that the apps that are there are of high quality. Gun Bros. is a shooting adventure game that plays very smoothly on the Xoom.  There’s also Pulse, a news reader app. Besides those there’s a handful of free and handful of paid apps, a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of apps available for the iPad.

The CNN app for Android tables is reminiscent of the CNN Chrome app. You can browse through tiles rather than scrolling up and down web pages. Text goes on the left of story pages and multimedia goes on the right. There’s a quick button to access live video and hourly audio news updates. There’s also a tool for submitting iReports, which ties into the Xoom’s built-in cameras.

The YouTube app comes with the Xoom, but it’s a clear example of how smooth and rich apps can be on the Xoom and other Android tablets…if anyone would get off their rear and start developing them.

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The Motorola Xoom is a pretty slick device, but as I pointed out in part one of our Xoom review, it’s not quite ready for prime time. Flash, 4G LTE and MicroSD are all features we heard about when the Xoom was launched, but none of them are ready as of today. Add those issues to the lack of tablet-specific apps in the Android market and the Xoom isn’t quite ready for mass consumer consumption. The lack of tablet apps won’t keep Geeks who are willing to deal with tech hiccups and are used to the curse of being early adopters from buying the Xoom.

As we’ve mentioned before, Android phone users buy far fewer apps than iPhone users. If this pattern holds true, I’m worried that it’ll take much too long for the Android Market’s tablet app category to grow to a respectable size.

Yes, Angry Birds is present, but that’s only going to carry the Android Market so far.

  

Comments

        • Anonymous says

          not being optimized for multiple cores. or a hardware gpu. and perhaps more importantly being tweaked for honeycomb.

        • RichardL says

          @ slozomby

          Except that activities and multi-threaded coding are intrinsic to Android. These are fundamental to multiprocessing. Nothing new there.

  1. Lightshedder says

    I own an Archos 101 tablet with the same size (thou not same resolution) screen as the Xoom and I can say that many of the phone apps look and run just fine on the larger screen. Everything from alternative browsers (Dolphin HD) to TweetCaster. My Xoom is somewhere between Verizon and me in FedEx’s hands, but I am hoping for the same experience on the Xoom, at least until Honeycomb specific versions hit the app store.

    • Jamesflashg says

      Hello, i have a question about the Archos 101 please. i ordered one and spent a week of being unable to connect to wifi via bluetooth on my droid x or connecting to my home computer using the usb. I ended up sending it backso, my question is, did you have any connectivity issues whatsoever with your Archos and how do you feel about it.

  2. Steve Means says

    The issue of apps on the Xoom tablet appears different to this user. We are about 20 hours into using our Xoom tablet and have over 40 functioning apps. All our apps which we use on a Droid 2 and Droid X transferred automatically. We deleted some of those and added many others. Almost all function adequately, some better than on Droid X and Droid 2. The point is that there are thousands of apps available for the Android platform and every second more of these are upgraded or found adequate on 3.0 the most recent version. The known failings of functioning on specific devices continue on the Xoom. For instance trying to operate WIFI at the same time as having a data plan with Verizon causes some apps, specifically Facebook, to collapse/stop functioning. We hope this is not a Verizon design to force data usage??? It appears that the author of this piece, Xavier Lanier, uses his devices in a technical and more limited way than we do OR he writes from a theoretical view, perhaps using simulations like the help line folks at Verizon rather than actually having a device in hand. Hey! Xavier, try Google Earth on the Xoom! You may still be playing and enjoying when next the sun also rises.

  3. Linerich says

    I think Google did not think out of box this time (Xoom). They may lack on app developing in time but how about its own product, Google TV. Can Xoom do something unique with it? They shouldn’t add HDMI port on a mobile device (just imagine that there is a long wire laying on the floor while sitting on the couch).
    For the Honeycomb, the reason it can run smoothly is based on dual core and high ram. The ideal OS should run on average hardware without problem. That’s one of Linux soul. Maybe webOS can run more smooth than honeycomb on this hardware spec.
    It’s just personal opinions!! Bottom line: Xoom offer alternative choice of Tablet PCs.

  4. John says

    I think there are a lot of Apps that are yet to be categorized as tablet Apps. I have a Galaxy Tab and have the Financial Times App and the WSJ App that, as far as I know, do not work on Android phones, but were designed for the larger screen of an Android Tablet. I also have PressReader which works on my phone (but too hard to read or scan) but is readable on the Tab and will be perfect on a 10″ Tablet. Zinio mags which I have not seen on phones, works well on the Tab, but again will be perfect on a larger screen. Other Apps such as Adobe Reader will work great on the larger Tablets because all you need here is more screen real estate. Thus I believe there are a lot more Apps than 16 at this time and as other people have said a lot of the “phone” Apps scale up very well to a larger screen, at least to the 7″ of the Galaxy Tab which is my experience. Other popular Apps are already preinstalled on the larger Tablets such as YouTube and look better than the iPad version, at least until Wednesday?????

    My daughter has an iPad and obviously there are a lot more well designediPad Apps and many of them are impressive (Economist App for example). I believe that with the new Tablets all the worthwhile iPad Apps will soon be ported to the new Android Tablets, but meanwhile it is fair to say that there are a lot more than 16 Android Tablet Apps available today notwithstanding where they are classified in the Android Market.

    While I comment on Apps I always wonder why the focus is on the number of Apps available. Should not the focus be on quality, different Apps that do new things and not the fact that there are 50,000 weather Apps in one App store and 35,000 weather Apps in the other App store.

    Anyway I am looking forward to the new Android Tablets because for portability I like the size of the Tab, but in the house a 10″ Tablet is easier on the eye.

  5. Jesus Lopez says

    I cannot wait to get the Motorola Xoom, definitely the best Android tablet out there. I cannot wait to get the DISH Remote Access app so that I can stream live and recorded TV to my Xoom. I have and work at DISH Network and you can use the app to watch TV wherever you have 3G coverage or WiFi.

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