Redmonk analyst (and card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation) Stephen O'Grady has up a lengthy and worthwhile review of the new Motorola Xoom, the first tablet powered by Google's Honeycomb version of Android.
Like many other reviewers, O'Grady has both good and (a lot of) bad to say about the tablet. I'm going to get into some of those problems in a subsequent post. But O'Grady also points out that many of the flaws could be fixed by better software, which gives him some hope:
It took Android approximately five versions, in my opinion, to be competitive on the handset – FroYo being the first legitimate alternative [coverage]. I expect it to progress much more rapidly on tablets, if for no other reason than the fact that the community is exponentially larger than it was in September 2008 when Android 1.0 launched. As a result, I’m willing to give Honeycomb the benefit of the doubt. Will regular customers extend Android the same courtesy? I doubt it.
The greater concern for the Android ecosystem, however, should be Apple. Honeycomb is a 1.0 release; current performance is not likely to be predictive of future potential. Certainly it was not with handsets. Apple, however, is increasingly using the iPad’s success as an engine to drive and reinforce its dominant market position. Remember that Apple is more than willing to put its capital to work to secure its supply of vital components, the byproduct of which is shortages and thus higher costs for competitors. The more successful the iPad is – and make no mistake, it’s been absurdly successful – the more challenging this becomes.
As a user, of course, none of that is my concern. I just want the best tool for the job, and for me that’s looking like the Xoom, the warts notwithstanding. But ask me again in seven days.
-GearMonk blog, March 4, 2011