Why I’m Returning My Motorola Xoom…

The Motorola Xoom is the first Android 3.0 and is strong enough to give us a glimpse into the future of Android tablets, but unfortunately the future isn’t quite here yet. After buying the device a couple of weeks ago the honeymoon is over and I’m going to get my $799 back from Verizon.

As I’ve mentioned  before, this  tablet does an excellent job handling multiple  Google accounts and services. If you  rely on a lot of Google services, a Honeycomb tablet might be your best bet.

The number one reason I’m returning the device is because I’m simply not using it as much as I had expected to.  The user experience still some rough edges and  I just don’t have the patience to wait for the Honeycomb ecosystem to evolve.  When I plunk down $800, I want something now…not ‘soon.’

There’s nothing incredibly horrible about the Xoom, but I think you have to be willing to be at the tip of the early adopter spear if you expect to be happy with the device. The Xoom is fast and powerful, just as the Xoom commercials promise, but that’s not enough. Here are the reasons why I’m done with the Xoom…for now.

Motorola Xoom (coming soon)

The Motorola Xoom  has some very  impressive features and specs. Unfortunately, they’re not all  available today. The Xoom needs to be  sent into Verizon to get a 4G   upgrade “soon.”  The microSD card  slot is not functional  yet.  And Flash, something  that truly differentiates  Honeycomb tablets from the iPad, is missing in action.

It’s all too clear that Motorola rushed this product out the door before it was fully baked.   This might fly  for some geeks, but not for me. Of course I knew about the shortcomings before I bought the Xoom,  but I really liked what I saw back at CES and who wouldn’t get excited about the first credible threat to iPad?

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Android Market

Apps  really make or break the tablet experience. Unfortunately, the Android Market  is nearly void  of applications built specifically for tablets. At launch, there were only 16 apps listed in the top of section of the  Android Market.

While most people don’t  need 60,000 at their fingertips, it’s nice to have options.  Many of  the apps  I find most useful on my iPad  or missing in action in the Android Market. Sure,  developers will build  for Honeycomb, but I suspect they’re waiting for Android 3.0  to grab some traction before  diverting  attention away from Android smartphone apps and iOS apps.

Motorola Xoom Price

The Motorola Xoom costs $799 without a 2-year contract or $599 with a contract. I opted for the $799 contract-free option so I could have the freedom to ditch the service if and when I wanted to.

But the Xoom’s purchase price is just part of the story. Buying the device at $799 still requires the device to be setup and activated, which means you still have to pay for a month of servie and a $35 activation fee, even if you plan on stickig to WiFi only or don’t have an immediate need for 3G service.

Most people will likely opt for the $599 subsidized price and  either the $30 or $50 per month plans. This means the total cost of ownership for the Xoom is approximately $1,350 to $1,850,  before you even buy a case  or single app  for the device.  That’s  simply too much for a device that is still not ready for prime time.

Android  tablet makers really need to convince Verizon and other carriers to allow for pricing schemes similar to what’s found on the iPad. Trying to get the average customer today for the same Internet three times on a monthly basis is a losing proposition.

I also think it would be  a wise move to introduce Wi-Fi only  versions of the Xoom or similar devices at $499 or less as quickly as possible.  You can try rationalizing  the $599 and $799  price tags  all you want, but the reality is that most consumers think the iPad costs $499.

Tablets don’t live in a  bubble.  The $799 price  is something that’s really bothered me  over the past couple weeks.  There’s a lot of other nice gadgets  the same price range that I could spend the money on. That  kind of money can pay for a pretty decent notebook, an HDTV or any smartphone on the market (or possibly two).

What I’ll Miss About the Xoom

My favorite app on the device is the email client. It’s miles ahead of the iPad’s. I generally feel like I can get more done, faster on the Xoom compared to the iPad.

I also really like how the Xoom is an independent  device, which means I don’t have to sync it  with a Mac or PC. I  hope Apple moves in this direction someday soon.

Comments

  1. Magnetar68 says

    I was disappointed with the same things you mentioned and the thought of returning it did cross my mind, but after using it for a week I don’t think I could live without it. I am looking forward to the upgrades, but I am actually very happy with how it has enhanced my commute/coffee shop/lunch/bedtime routine. My 3 year old loves the kid books on it too.

  2. lsbeller says

    What specifically is it about the email client that makes you more productive over the iPad?

    Steve

    • Xavier Lanier says

      I just prefer the layout of the app better. iPad feels like an enlarged iPhone app, Xoom’s email client feels like it was really belt for tablets.

      • Adrian says

        You can’t deliver that much power over microUSB. Even though the Xoom’s battery life is great, you wouldn’t be able to charge faster than it drains, and even if it was off it would take too long to charge via microUSB.

        As tablets get more powerful and have even bigger batteries, you can expect others to need something other than USB.

  3. cezeOne says

    same reason I returned my GTab. I wasn’t using as much after the Honeymoon Phase was over in 14 days. I went back to using my Galaxy S (epic4G)

  4. Nobody says

    Missing traction? This thing is already sold out from all the local best buys in phoenix.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      Selling a dozen or two units per retail store doesn’t mean much at all. Developers need millions of potential buyers to take any platform seriously. It may happen with time, but I’m sure many devs are in the wait-and-see mode.

        • Xavier Lanier says

          Huh? We’re talking tablets, not smartphones here. There’s simply nothing in the Android Market’s tablet section at the moment. Will there be in a few months? Hopefully, and I may re-buy the Xoom or another Honeycomb tablet at that time.

  5. Charlie says

    web-browsing on Xoom is the thing that beats and will beat everything. I use 5 apps regularly.

    No sense in returning a device which will become only better and better and better in the nearest weeks, beating ipad2 again and again and again. You can afford 32Gb Xoom 4G powerhouse for $599, while you can buy ipad2 32Gb 3G ONLY for $729 and NOT cheaper. Where is it overpriced? If it has at least 12 selling points that ipad2 hasn’t. + Honeycomb. Buying Honeycomb Xoom, you become a part of a new tech-stream.

    • AppleFUD says

      Seriously. . . how many people use over 5 apps other than games? My day is 90% in my browsers these days. After that any decent office suite will do 4% of my other tasks which often takes place in my browser, a good text editor is another 4%, and a video/multimedia player is the rest.

      However, I think waiting for the WiFi version is a wise decision as the price on that will be very competitive and I’m sure there will be discounts, coupons, etc. . to drop it even further. Personally I think Verizon is keeping the price high on the Xoom. . . might even be something to do with getting the iPad 2.

  6. ShortName says

    So, are you going to have to pay the restocking fee and the early termination fee? The fees for returning the device after 14 days is $420. Was it worth it to have it for two weeks to have to pay that? Even after you said you knew of it’s shortcomings before buying it? Will you just lie and say that there is something else wrong with it?
    http://www.verizonwireless.com/ReturnPolicy.shtml

  7. HillsMills says

    2 questions:
    1) what’s with the photo, you hold 1 Xoom 4G, but there we can see 2 photoshopped Xooms one aboth another. What’s the goal of such a photoshop (enlarging of it says that it can be not photoshopped, but MSpainted) manipulation here? Xoom proportions are perfect. Portrait and landscape. Photo is FAKE.
    2) what is the goal of this article? when you are going to buy Xoom, you ALREADY know what it is. You write like you haven’t seen before Honeycomb presentations, Xoom demonstrations, Xoom price and don’t know that Honeycomb is created specially for tablet, it’s just launched, it can’t have 20000000000 apps, it’s just LAUNCHED. ipad1had ZERO apps on its launch last year.

    I bought Xoom and I’m totally satisfied. For 400%. Because I know for sure that my Xoom is clearly better than ipad2. No contest.

    • DNel says

      When I first saw the photo, I was sure that it was one big Xoom. But closer inspection shows it’s one Xoom in a case that is open with the case lid flopped down giving it the appearance of two.

      • Xavier Lanier says

        Um…not sure why you’re so suspicious. It’s just a Xoom with its case hanging down so I can take a photo of myself with it in the mirror.

        I don’t expect it to have 20000000 apps, but I do expect hardware to be more polished at that price point.

  8. Anonymous says

    I respect your reasoning but can’t help wondering if the iPad2 arrival is behind the decision(?) But maybe you would find you don’t use that much either.

    • Xavier Lanier says

      No, I was going to get the iPad 2 regardless of the Xoom. I was hoping for a better Android experience, but that’ll have to wait at least a few months.

  9. Notafanboy says

    Pretty sad, you are returning the Xoom for reasons that you knew about all BEFORE you bought the device. I’m thinking you are quite the impulse buyer and do not think things through very well. I personally have bought and love my Xoom, my iPad now sits quietly in the corner awaiting it’s next owner. I will not be one of the suckers (yes, there is one born every minute) to buy an iPad 2. Apple is on the way out, Android is the wave.

    • Anonymous says

      you’re right, honeycomb is the future. i really liked my XOOM tablet, so i went back to verizon and bought 20 more. Now I have at least three XOOM tablets in every room in my house.. it’s wonderful.

      how many XOOMs did you buy??

  10. Anonymous says

    Well, though iPad 2′s display didn’t get an upgrade, and same to most, retina display on the iPad 2 is my expect, but I still think iPad is better than Motorola Xoom, which is loudly trumpeted as having a “1GHz dual-core processor and fully Flash-enabled for video-rich web,” But at last said that it won’t actually have anything of the sort. At launch at least. LOL, so don’t get hopes too high until the motorala Xoom or other tablet launch with flash support.

    People who suggest iPad 2 is an incremental upgrade are simply not looking at the bigger picture; the Apple iPad 2 feels and acts drastically differently from its predecessor.

    The plethora changes – some cosmetic, some under the hood – have boosted a device that felt like a luxury, to a device that is head and shoulders above its competitors at the moment.
    http://www.ifunia.com/news/apple-ipad-2-faster-thinner-same-price/

    • Timmidgett says

      Disagree. Dont get me wrong, I love Apple products, I own a MacBook Pro, iPod Touch, iPod Classic, and a new Nano, but the iPad 2 is not a giant step forward. The only changes are that its dual core, thinner, and marginally lighter (.17 lbs to be exact), a gyroscope and a couple of garbage cameras (even the Engadget Apple fanboys said the camera was a fail). Most tech blogs and iPad 2 reviews concur that the device is nothing more than an incremental upgrade, and that if you own the first iPad, its not worth upgrading.
      Why do people think the device is far advanced compared to the competition? The iPad is locked down. No matter what people say it still feels like a giant iPod Touch. It’s nothing more than a screen with some icons on it. It will NEVER give you the choice of using Flash or not, it will NEVER have user expandable and removable memory, and it will ALWAYS be locked down to what Apple decides you want on your device.
      I agree that the Xoom is expensive and that its got some initially fatal short comings, Im on the fence myself as to whether or not to return mine because at the moment I cannot use my library of digital copies of movies on it. But overall I think the device is solid, and iPad lacks.

  11. savagemike says

    It’s true the price is too high.
    But then it is false that a comparable ipad (or ipad2 is $500.

    Also, when is it that the sd card slot, 4G and flash will be active on the ipad2?

    They may have rushed it out a little.
    That is better than simply not having the capability at all – ever.

    The biggest down side is the proprietary power plug.
    But then ipad2 has the same as well.

    Finally it is true that iOS has some maturity on android3.
    I’m sure that like most products android3 will have some kinks to work out.
    But it is just zero hour.
    What does it say that something as front and center as an e-mail app at zero hour is ‘head and shoulders’ above apples implementation.

    The biggest thing ipad2 has going on is the slim form factor and that garage band app.

    Frankly I will wait for something with a stylus and decent GPS built in without shelling out for 3G which I do not need and have no intention of paying the monthly rate for.

  12. Bsmistek says

    We bought two Xooms and are absolutely thrilled with them. We have and iPad1 that loooks like a cheap imitation next to these powerhouse Androids!

  13. Jd says

    Funny how the people who like the Ipad are referred to as fanboys, yet the way the Android users talk here, they are just as bad or worse.

  14. Jd says

    I have used and Android tablet also, and was not impressed. In fact I’m returning mine also to get an Ipad 2.

    The Android operating system is *very* buggy. And its really not that user friendly… as I kept getting the impression I was running on Linux the way everything works. Linux has a history of not being user friendly.

    Yeah the customizing of the Android is nice, but it also gets old pretty quick.

  15. Donald Lott says

    I bought the Motorola Xoom (WiFi) and my wife got the iPad 2 (WiFi). I’m a Droid guy and she’s an Apple girl. We both live happily ever after in our different worlds. I couldn’t be happier with my Droid X, Moto Xoom, etc. and she’s in love with her iPad / iPhone / MacBook Pro, etc. I have to admit that I feel burned at times when all of the focus is on Apple apps before the Droid. I want Netflix on my tablet and I want Comcast XFinity but the Apple gets first dibs by the devs. I’ve been living in a Windows world and have become accustomed to getting apps first. I guess I know what it’s like to be a Mac user all these years. Nonetheless, this just goes to show that people have preferences and it’s good to have options. Apple’s not for me but I’m thankful that it’s around for my wife. Happy wife, happy life.

    • Glen says

      I find it funny any of you bought a new tablet for that kind of money. I just bought my xoom with a box of accessories for 200.00 on Ebay. Works perfect…thanks.

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