Friday, June 17, 2011

My thoughts on my Xoom

I was so hyped up 2 months early to buy the Xoom. I didn't want the contract so I waited for the wifi version. I'm still glad I didn't get the contract. The day I bought it, I took it back to the office with me and I didn't get any more work done that day. It was so impressive to just hold in my hand. Others gathered around to see what my new toy could do and what it had under the hood. I work with two other gadget freaks who have their own blog (gadgetu.net) and they were impressed as well.

Over the next few days I found more and more to use it for. I was a little let down when the majority of my apps did not work on the tablet. However, as the months have passed more and more are becoming available. Of course, Angry Birds is the best looking one on a 10.1 inch screen (until Ka'Pal that is.) Before I could buy the Xoom I had to accomplish two feats. 1. Save $600. Easy as pie. 2. Get my wife to buy in on the idea. Not so easy. I was able to sway her based on her love for books and her love for me (and she likes to see me succeed with Flash development).


In the end of May, Google released Honeycomb update 3.1. That made some very nice changes. Now I can expand the built in scrollable widgets. The Videos from the Market is very nice too. I did have to work through a few kinks. One in particular, the update turned of a configuration that allowed me to set the caps lock. Took about 3 days to figure that one out. And there is an HTML decoding issue with Exchange emails. Apostrophes read in their html code "&apos". Huge uproar on the Google forums on this one. Still not fixed. Many people dumping the Xoom because it was their work tablet. I just remember not to use apostrophes.

The hardware of the device is very sweet. I may be hurting it by never letting the battery completely die, but THE BATTERY HAS NEVER DIED ON ME! That's awesome. I once traveled to Panama City beach and let the kids watch movies the whole way down (4.5 hour trip). Used it all weekend. Watched movies on the way home. Did not die. Down to about 15% of battery. But did not die.

Using it for work is a small challenge. I was having certificate issues for the longest time, but then I found a security setting for passwords for certificates. Then that was resolved. Took about 3 months to figure that one out, but that was a user error. Emails work great on exchange while at work, but company blocks personal email from Yahoo! and Gmail. They also block Google Talk. Got to love the IT security people.

I've been able to replace my video camera with the Xoom, too. I took it with me to my daughters Pre-K graduation and the video turned out excellent! Pics too. I had the largest preview screen compared to the other parents taking pictures or video. But then again, they also came by to see what it was. So that was cool. My kids love it too. They use to play educational games on my Droid X. But now they fight over the Xoom. I have had to implement "Game time on Xoom" as a reward for eating their vegetables. I bet Motorola didn't see that as a potential marketing exploit.

For development purposes, it's a great tool to test optimization of my apps. It's trickier to load the apps on though. It's not recognized via USB by the adb in the Android SDK for some reason. Haven't figured that out yet. But I can transfer the files over USB as a regular file folder system with windows. Then I just install the app from the memory. 1 more step but not tedious.

Overall, I am very happy with my purchase. The kinks are so small and insignificant, they don't even matter in my opinion. I'm not going to buy an iPad to compare it too either.

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