While Motorola had recently confirmed the release and pricing for the WiFi-only model of the 32 GB Android 3.0 slate, the company hasn’t really said when customers can begin to order or pre-order the Xoom other than to say it will be available come March 27th for $600. Now, thanks to pre-order pages on retailers like Amazon.com, Stapes, and Costco, we have a bit more information on when consumers who don’t need the 3G/4G connectivity on the model built for Verizon Wireless can start entering in their credit card information.
Staples says that if customers pre-order before March 23rd, the company will be shipping out the Xoom tablets on March 25th to ensure they’ll arrive on launch day. Costco will ship their inventory out later, on April 1st, but the company is saying that it will also bundle a gel case.
The Motorola Xoom is the first official tablet from Google. Despite other tablets being released prior to the Xoom using the Android operating system, Google had said in the past that those tablets did not offer the optimum user experience. Instead, Google chose to re-write Android specifically for the tablet experience and Android 3.0 Honeycomb is the result of such efforts; the Xoom, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, is the first tablet to debut Honeycomb.
Despite being heralded as the first true challenger to Apple’s iPad, the Xoom had some shortcomings. While the Android OS is designed for the tablet experience, there are currently very few third-party apps that are designed for tablets. Right now, most apps are smartphone apps that will upscale to fill the Xoom’s high definition 1280 X 800 10.1-inch display, creating the experience of an oversized Android smartphone. Also, while Adobe and Motorola promise Adobe Flash 10.2 support, Flash is still not available on the Xoom and is said to be forthcoming.
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