Good, but is it good enough?
The tablet war escalated by several degrees today as Apple announced the launch event for the next version of its iPad tablet, while the first truly credible challenger to Apple in the tablet market - the Motorola Xoom - has been launched, and with it the first reviews.
The Xoom is launching in the US before the rest of the world and it seems to be only US journos who have got hold of review units. So we thought we'd bring you a round-up of the guys on the other side of the pond are saying.
Walt Mossberg of the WSJ echoes our sentiment that the tablet wars have properly commenced with the launch of the Xoom. He observes that there are many ways in which the Xoom is superior to the iPad, but on the flip side it costs more than the equivalently specced iPad and, of course, Apple's about to launch a new, improved one.
Anand Lal Shimpi of AnandTech is pleasantly surprised by the Xoom. He likes Honeycomb and observes that NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chip packs a lot more punch than Apple's A4. Anand doesn't dwell too much on the price, but says you'd be mad not to wait and see what Apple has to offer next week before taking the plunge.
Self-confessed iPad freak Robert Scoble says he's falling in love with the Xoom. He notes, as did Anand, that multitasking and notifications work better on the Xoom than the iPad. While he thinks the Xoom is better positioned than other iPad competitors from RIM and HP, the initial lack of tablet-specific apps means he recommends waiting a bit before buying.
Jonathan Geller of BGR thinks Moto has made as good a Honeycomb tablet as is possible right now, but he's not convinced by either the OS or the need for a tablet at all. Meanwhile TechCrunch writer MG Siegler posted on his own blog that he's surprised Google and Moto would launch a product when there are still as many bugs as he's seen reported by reviewers.
Joshua Topolsky of Engadget says the Xoom has the feel of a product that was rushed out to beat the anticipated launch of the iPad 2, but despite that still has a lot to offer. If Gizmodo has done a review, we couldn't find it.
There are many others, but a common theme unites them all. The consensus is that the Motorola Xoom is an excellent tablet and by far the best alternative yet to the iPad. But the software still needs fine-tuning, the $800 price tag is a bit rich and Apple is launching the iPad 2 next week. So the advice is, unless you're a compulsive early adopter, to wait for a while before taking the tablet plunge.