The first Android tablet graced with Honeycomb is turning two, with Motorola announcing the Xoom 2 is now on sale from Telstra.
A little over nine months ago, Motorola launched its original Xoom
tablet in Australia, notable especially for its watershed status as the first device to run the tablet-specific Android 3.0 Honeycomb when it was originally released in the US. And now, the first come-of-age Android tablet is turning two, with Motorola and Telstra announcing the Xoom 2 is available today for $720 outright and via a number of Telstra plans ranging from $49 to $99 per month minimum monthly spend.
Still running Honeycomb (admittedly a significantly updated version in 3.2, and also confirmed to be upgradable to Android 4.0 when it's made available via Motorola and Telstra's channels), the Xoom's successor is a 10.1-inch tablet powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM and with 32GB built-in storage (which can be expanded with an additional 32GB storage via microSD).
The 3G device (there's no Wi-Fi-only model) features scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass by Corning, dual 5MP/1.3MP cameras and Motorola claims up to 10 hours of video playback (with 28 days standby power on 3G). In terms of specs it's a jump up from the Xoom 1, but in a year when we expect to see quad-core tablets arriving the upgrades might be deemed a bit modest by some -- explained in part by the fact that the Xoom 2 was originally launched late last year in some overseas markets under a different name.
Motorola has clearly listened to form factor criticisms of the original Xoom, delivering a device which is lighter and thinner than its relatively chunky predecessor while retaining some of the design cues of the original: at 8.8mm thick and 603g, the Xoom 2 should prove a more comfortable fit in hand (and includes flattened edges designed to make it easier to hold), bringing it closer in dimensions to current market leaders including the iPad 2
and Galaxy Tab 10.1
Of course, it's a tricky time to be launching a tablet, with Apple expected to be unveiling the iPad 3
in just a few short weeks, but if you've been waiting for your Motorola/Android fix, this is it.