Apple's revamped iPad, the iPad 2, is certainly an improvement over the original iPad. But when compared head to head against the Motorola Xoom, the Xoom still wins. Here's why.
As I explained in a previous blog, Eight reasons the Motorola Xoom beats the iPad, the Xoom is far superior to the original iPad. And now that the iPad 2 has been announced, it's clear that the Xoom is superior to the new iPad, for almost all of the same reasons.
The major new additions to the iPad include a dual-core processor and front and rear cameras, so in those instances, it's caught up to the Xoom. The new svelter and slightly thinner design is good as well. A gyroscope has been added, which the Xoom already has. And software tweaks, via the new iOS 4.3, are welcome as well.
But that still leaves the Xoom a better tablet than the iPad. Start with the operating system. With iOS 4.3, iOS was tweaked but didn't get a dramatic overhaul. Android 3.0, called Honeycomb, is simply better than the iOS for a number of reasons. It handles notifications, multi-tasking and app switching better. The widgets still outpace anything on the iOS. And Honeycomb has more features and is more customizable. The iOS 4.3 tweaks did nothing to change any of that.
The Chrome-like browser built into Xoom trumps the Safari running on the iPad 2. Xoom's browser sports tabs, will sync bookmarks with PC, Mac, and Linux versions of Chrome, and uses a single box for typing URLs and searching.
Xoom, of course, will be able to play Flash relatively soon. The iPad 2 will never do it. Clearly, being able to run Flash is better than being banned from running Flash.
When you buy an iPad 2, you'll be subject to the whims of what Apple wants you to download and doesn't want you to download. Want to be able to get information from the WikiLeaks site using an app, for example? Don't try doing it on your iPad 2 --- Apple has banned any app from letting you do that. It bans plenty of other apps as well. With the Xoom, you can download and use any app you want.
Finally, the Xoom's built-in apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Calendar still trump anything built into the iPad 2. and using the Xoom's Tegra 2 chip, you get nifty new features, such as vector graphics and 3D rendering in Google Maps.