In what has become a seemingly disappointing trend for me, I am letting go of yet another Android device. I made the switch from Android to Windows Phone a couple of months ago to see what Redmond had in store after growing tired of sporadic updates and an unpolished and inconsistent feel from Android. While not fully satisfied with WP7, I have been pretty happy. This Fall should take care of most of my issues with the young mobile platform. Now it’s Honeycomb’s turn. I’ve had the XOOM for over 2 months now, and was hoping it would make me laugh at my wife’s iPad 2. It turns out, I never feel like using it because of the inconsistent feel and response of the OS as well as the pathetic support from Motorola. Read on for my final thoughts of the XOOM.
We’ve said it too many times here, but the XOOM is a half-baked pile of crap. If you check through Android forums, you will see plenty of people defending the tablet and the OS, and there’s plenty to like about it. But in reality, it’s all potential. I can’t tell if my issues are because of the XOOM or the OS. The accelerometer is garbage, and the delay between rotating the tablet and having the actual screen rotate with you is atrocious. The system gets slowed down STILL, and can get very laggy. The Micro SD slot is just for looks apparently. Flash works, but is so hit or miss that I leave the option disabled. Still no LTE. Apps are almost non existent, especially usable ones. The list goes on.
I was completely expecting to jump from the XOOM to the Asus Transformer if Moto wouldn’t get their act together. I have no intentions for that anymore though. I don’t like how Honeycomb is shaping up. Developers are pretty much uninterested in the platform because sales numbers tell them not to be interested. OEM’s are all over the map putting out mimicking tablets every couple of weeks now. Getting one with Network support costs more for a tablet than without, and that includes a 2 year contract in most cases. Even accessories are annoying with all of the different ports and options that there’s a likely chance the cable you get for your tablet will be different than your next one. It’s tiring.
This is a tough thing for me to say. Before Honeycomb made its way to the masses, Andreas and I had plenty of discussions debating the differences between iOS and Android. He eventually understood options and choice is a good thing for many people, and I eventually understood that there has to be a supreme level of control over the platform.
Look at yesterday’s announcements of iOS 5 and you can see Apple copied a lot of other platforms features. iCloud is something Google already has in place (GDocs, GMail, Picasa, YouTube, Google Music Beta) and is already successful with. But look at all of the different checkpoints you have to go to access these services. Why can’t they be combined for a smooth and seamless experience? Well, it’s because Google is a beta style company that gets their product out and organizes it all after. In time the Google cloud system might be seamless (and maybe iCloud isn’t, but I know I’d put my money on it), but it isn’t yet and they haven’t announced plans for it yet either.
So for me, it all came down to not wanting to be the guinea pig. Sure there are some things Honeycomb does better than iOS. Yet I just can’t stop being frustrated by something every time I use it. I can’t figure out why sometimes when I switch to another app from my browser, that when I go back my tabs are all missing. I can’t figure out why I’m still having apps force close. And I can’t stop wondering why I’m putting myself through using this tablet and don’t return it. Oh wait, I can cross that last one off my list.