Motorola Bows New Droid Xyboard tablets, offer 4G connectivity

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Motorola new Xyboard tablet PC. Is the 101-inch version better than iPad 2 or the 8.2-inch model better than Amazon's Kindle Fire?


A day after Dell ended online sales of its 7-inch Streak tablet leaving the tablet PC field pretty much to iPad and its two e-reader competitors from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Motorola has quietly announced the replacement for its disappointing Xoom tablet – the Xyboard.


Xyboard will come in two screen sizes, 10.1 and 8.2 inches, starting at $529.99 and $429.99 respectively with a two-year contact – the former $30 more than iPad, the latter $230 more than the Amazon Kindle Fire. The 16 GB models are priced at $629.99 and $529.99, respectively for the 32 GB models and


While Motorola said its new Xyboard tablets would be in Verizon stores "just in time for the holidays," neither company announced a specific on-sale date.


What's new/different

What, therefore, given that iPad has proven to be superior to all other big-screen Android alternatives and that Fire seems to satisfy those who don't want to spend more than twice the money on an iPad, do the Xyboards have that iPad or Fire don't have?


Tablet Android 8” 3g, 4.01, GB-A30

4G LTE connectivity.


This speedy connectivity is the highlight of a slew of impressive technical specifications: 1.2 GHz processor (same as iPad), 1 GB of RAM (allowing for more programs to be running simultaneously and twice as much as iPad), Android 3.2 Honeycomb (the latest version), 5 MP rear camera (iPad 2 just .92 MP) with a flash, 1.3 MP front camera (twice as much resolution as iPad 2's), with pre-installed Quickoffice HD and more. With an app called Dijit, Xyboard also doubles as a universal remote+electronic program guide for your TV, DVR and Blu-ray or DVD player.


But I wouldn't buy one, nor could I recommend buying one instead of either an iPad 2 or a Kindle Fire – or a Barnes & Noble Tablet.


What Motorola hasn't figured out

For folks who actually shell out money for these expensive toys, a tablet-buying decision is not and has never been about specs. Nearly every Android tablet produced has had specs superior to iPad, which is how their makers justify charging more for their tablet wares than Apple.


But no Android tablet has captured iPad's overall experience or has equaled Apple's ecosystem advantage. And I see nothing in Xyboard (at least from the press release) other than improved specs, pre-installed business-centric apps that suggested Xyboards are aimed more for the commercial customer, and faster connectivity to differentiate it substantially from the Xoom (although I hope to get more information before committing a final adjudication).

Plus, it isn't clear that a tablet needs either to have a constant Internet connection, regardless of speed, to be functional, or a camera of any kind since a tablet is awkward to wield as an imaging device (and there isn't an indication that Xyboard captures video of any kind). Neither the Kindle Fire nor the Barnes & Noble, for instance, include a camera, and at least Amazon is expected to sell nearly four million Fires  by the end of the year.




Plus, you'll have to commit to a two-year contract to get Xyboard at iPad 2-plus prices. Considering how quickly tablets are evolving, do you want to be stuck paying for a Xyboard for the next two years?


No, Motorola and other non-e-reader Android tablet makers are going do something more than slather on the specs if they're going to interest us in a tablet other than iPad.


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