Testing The Motorola Xoom

February 24 18:45 2011 Print This Article

They call it the first true Android tablet, running the first true Android tablet OS. “They”, in this case, would be the tech writers over at popsci.com, who’ve just published a terrific review of the latest, greatest tablet device: the Motorola Xoom. Here are a few key points to consider if you’re a mobile app tester. Pay particularly close attention to the last blurb (after the jump).

Google Apps: We already knew that Google was pushing panel-based app formatting for Honeycomb, so their suite has to set a strong example (sometimes to its own detriment, but more on that when we talk YouTube later on). When you first open Gmail, for instance, it may look just like it does in iOS, but the experience is much more seamless. In message view, the left-most column of the screen houses a list of items in a folder (say, your inbox), while the right two-thirds displays an expanded, threaded conversation view; if you ask me, the Honeycomb format trounces even web-based Gmail. In both Mail and Gmail accounts, the main folder-view allows you to drag-and-drop messages in and out of folders.

Recent Apps and Multitasking: Beside the virtual Home and Back buttons, which persistently appear at the bottom-left corner of the screen, is the Recent Apps list, which expands into a stack of the last five apps used alongside a thumbnail of the last screen you were on. This column made toggling between apps almost instantaneous; I, for example, hopped quickly between Maps (where I was hunting for a nearby restaurant) and an email–a task which would have taken a healthy amount of double-clicking the home button on an iPad to accomplish.

Camera: The camera refresh in Honeycomb is long overdue. When using the rear-facing camera, the captured image takes up about two-thirds of the screen, with the image controls remaining handy on the right, letting you adjust white balance, flash, color palate and scene modes without bouncing in and out of pop-up menus. One click (or tap, or whatever) also swaps between the rear-facing five-megapixel sensor and the front-facing two-megapixel sensor.

Apps: Android tablets need Android tablet apps. Hopefully, that’ll come in time, but at the moment, there are precious few apps (and the continued absence of a Netflix app) in the redesigned Honeycomb Android Market that are expressly designed for Honeycomb. Not even major apps like Facebook, Kindle, and Twitter are ready, which makes the platform as a whole feel slightly half-baked. Regular Android apps work on the Xoom, but as any iPad owner who’s tried to run an iPhone app will tell you, it’s not a particularly fun experience. Smartphone Android apps look zoomed-in and blurry on the Xoom, and require the use of the Menu button that’s mandatory on Android phones but has been eliminated from the Xoom. (Luckily, Honeycomb can just add a virtual menu button next to Home and Back, but it’s still awkward and inconsistent with the rest of Honeycomb.) It’s unfair to brand the Honeycomb app situation “bad,” since the thing hadn’t even hit the market at time of testing, but it’s something about which customers need to be aware.

Read the rest of the Motorola Xoom review on popsci.com.

Source: http://www.mobileapptesting.com

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Nataliia Vasylyna
Nataliia Vasylyna

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