Thursday, May 12, 2011

Android Market now available in SA!

One of my longest standing gripes with Google is the lack of availability in South Africa of paid market-apps! An announcement was made that clarifies that; the full Android market is coming to SA.


Brilliant news, and about bloody time!

Xoom running Honeycomb 3.1

I've managed to hack Honeycomb 3.1 onto the Motorola Xoom I am evaluating. The highlights that are outlined are all implemented, and to summarise;

  • its faster
  • screen transitions are smoother
  • Adobe Flash seems to have less impact on the device
  • Stock system widgets are now resizeable - duh!
  • Most importantly, the e-mail client now actually deletes mail from IMAP servers


Its an incremental upgrade and should have been called 3.02. But hey, marketing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Motorola Xoom review

There are notoriously few decent Android tablets around, and the first tablet-

Motorola xoom

optimised version called Honeycomb, running on the Motorola Xoom, was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011.


I lusted after it immediately, but actual release was only in April 2011. To make matters more complicated, the tablet was launched in partnership with Verizon, which meant a US-centric launch plan. I managed to acquire one, and have spent two weeks with it. I also ordered the Portfolio case, an official accessory.


Pro's for the Xoom;

  • It doesn't run iOS
  • It can multi-task
  • It runs a tablet-specific operating system
  • Its CPU is dual-core
  • It can run for 8 hours continuously


Con's however outweigh the pro's;

  • There are so few Honeycomb-optimised apps that its not worth buying specifically
  • The official case will damage the device over time, and forces you to have it open when charging
  • The power button is at the back - very silly place for a power button
  • The few apps that do exist require you to be in the US to buy them - pretty useless if you don't live in the US or UK
  • Its heavy
  • Its expensive


Its disappointing, but on the weight of the device (literally) and the lack of optimised applications, I'd have to say that Google missed several really good tricks here. The software is severely buggy (e.g. the e-mail client can't delete mail from an IMAP server), and the lack of a decent app ecosystem makes this a dead duck.


In comparison to an Apple iPad (the original), the decision to go with this device was marginal; with the iPad2, you'd have to be an idiot.