Motorola has kicked two new Xoom 2 tablets out of its Android device nest, and it looks like the fledgling hardware updates are a big improvement over the original Xoom. There are two new models: the Xoom 2 and the Xoom 2 Media Edition, and they’re currently slated just for the UK and Ireland.
The original Xoom, released just weeks before the iPad 2 in February 2010, was the first “real” Android tablet. It ran Google’s Honeycomb operating system (which was created specifically for tablet deployment), and offered a 10.1-inch screen — a big step up from 5- and 7-inch Android devices running Google’s smartphone OS. That first Xoom, however, offered none of the finesse, elegance and app support of the iPad. And then came the iPad 2, which quickly eclipsed all Xoom media buzz.
The first Xoom was lightweight (in a bad way), plasticky and cheap-feeling. Until we get a hands-on with the Xoom 2 siblings, we won’t know if the new ones feel any better. But they are certainly thinner, faster and lighter.
The main difference between the regular Xoom 2 and the Xoom 2 Media Edition is size — 10.1-inch and 8.2-inch displays respectively. Both models are 0.35-inches thick (the original was a shade over half an inch), and the new 10-incher weighs 1.32 pounds (the original: 1.5 pounds).
Both Xoom 2s run on a dual-core 1.2GHz processor (up from 1GHz), include 1GB RAM, and run Android 3.2 Honeycomb.
But despite these improvements, Motorola is clearly building down to reach a friendly price point, a smart move considering the original Xoom wasn’t competitively priced against the iPad 2. Xoom 2 storage has been halved from 32GB to 16GB, and the front-facing camera is now down from 2MP to 1.3MP. The rear camera remains at 5MP, and hopefully it’s improved, because the original version was awful.
Both tablets will launch later in November in Great Britain, with no U.S or Canada dates yet announced.
Xoom2 product page [Motorola]
Xoom2 Media Edition [Motorola]