Motorola Xoom 2: Review of rumours, features, pictures and specs
The Motorola Xoom 2 might not be the first of the next generation Android Honeycomb tablets, but if the original Xoom is anything to go by, then there's plenty of reason to be excited still. In fact, with the first incarnation launched all those months ago, it's high time that the follow up hit the shelves of the world.
So, with Motorola Xoom 2 news upon us like a heavy suitcase, it's probably a good idea to straighten out this Google tablet device's specs and features, so that we can take a long, hard look at what the future is all about.
Motorola Xoom 2 release date
The Motorola Xoom was announced back at CES 2011 on 6 January 2011, and Pocket-lint made sure we got our hands on it the moment it saw the light of the showroom floor. That said, it wasn't until 24 February of the same year that it started bleeping through the check-out tills of the world.
Going back a little further, we first got wind that a Motorola tablet was in the offing when Droid Life discovered some hidden data on 17 August 2010 describing an Android tablet referred to at the time as the Motorola Stingray. Your choice as to whether you reckon the name Xoom has more or less pizazz.
Back to the Motorola Xoom 2 rumours, and the first stories heard about such a thing turned up on 17 June 2011 when a Verizon advert aired on US TV networks showing a lady on her Verizon branded tablet; it looked an awful lot like the original Xoom, only not, and with the camera in the wrong place.
The next, and this time far bigger, drop occurred on 23-26 September 2011 when both Engadget and thisismynext.com had anonymous tipsters contact them about some goings on at Motorola, some speculation followed including some interesting Xoom 2 pictures. The fascinating part is the idea that there was going to be two of them: the Motorola Xoom 2 and the slightly smaller Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition.
The biggest clue so far seems to be from Carphone Warehouse Ireland whose advert for the Xoom 2 suggests that we'll be seeing it before Christmas.
With very similar first rumour dates in their respective years, one might bet that the Motorola Xoom 2 turns up at the same time in the calendar as the first Xoom did, i.e. CES 2012. However, with the Google Android Ice Cream Sandwich launch on 11 October 2011, any time after then could be fair game.
Motorola Xoom 2 features
The more traditional, non-Media Edition Motorola Xoom 2 features look to include a 10.1-inch screen - the same as the original, only with a more powerful engine room at work in the shape of what appears to be a Texas Instruments OMAP 4 system on a chip with a dual-core CPU at 1.2GHz and 1GB of "faster" RAM. Following the lead from those, the likely prediction would be a PowerVR SGX540 GPU much like the one found in the Amazon Kindle Fire set up but for now this is just speculation.
Physically speaking the Xoom 2 might be quite a looker too. Again, the Engadget tipster from the 23 September outlined physical details including a 9mm profile which puts it just a shade thicker than the 8.8mm - and super-thin - iPad 2. There also look to be some physical buttons on the rear of the device as well as HDMI, micro-USB and SIM card ports too.
As for the smaller tablet, the Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition features were reported on 24 September promising an 8.2-inch, HD capable, screen with IPS for a better viewing angle, puting it in virgin territory as far as tablet sizes go. The same leaks also point to a fairly durable piece of Gorilla glass on the front that's both got anti-glare properties as well as water-resistance to a degree. Could this be the tablet that's finally beach-friendly?
As for its more personal stats, the same rumours predict a 430g waistline with an ever-so-slightly bulkier 9.3mm frame. Thisismynext.com also reported on 24 September that Motorola might push the Media Edition's home entertainment credentials with both an IR remote and a sub-woofer built-in. Both Xoom 2 models have also been predicted to support LTE.
Back to the Carphone Warehouse ad, and this suggests an 8.2-inch Xoom 2.
Motorola Xoom 2 camera
The HD label on the back of the Xoom 2 from the leaked shots on 23 September is a pretty decent clue that the larger of the two Motorola tablets will be able to shoot 1080p video and it was expected, at the time, for up to 5-megapixel stills to be possible. The leaked shots also clearly show a front facing camera as well.
Less was said about the optics on the Xoom 2 Media Edition at the time, although Pocket-lint reported on the 26 September that the rear facer looked to the be same 5MP, HD shooting unit as on the larger model.
Motorola Xoom 2 apps and software
Naturally, it's Android all the way with the Xoom 2 and, what with Google now the the name behind the company, it really couldn't be anything else.
The first flush of stories between 23-26 September all seemed to agree that it's a case of Android 3.2 for both the Motorola Xoom 2 and the Media Edition. Keen followers of all things Android will know that 3.2 represents Honeycomb rather than Ice Cream Sandwich, although it's quite possible that the Xoom 2 tablets could come with the later version if they're launched from December onwards.
The Verizon advert on 17 June showed a Xoom 2 running Honeycomb without a UI on top, although there is a disclaimer on the footage indicating that the screen shots were simulated. At the same time, with Google behind Motorola, one might wonder whether there would be a lean towards the Xoom 2 products coming with straight Android anyway; it was something which looked to be supported by the leaked shots of the software of the Media Edition on 24 September.
Motorola Xoom 2 battery
The original tips said nothing of the battery life on either device.
Motorola Xoom 2 accessories
Even the early leaks from the tipsters at Engadget and Thisisthenext.com pointed towards a couple of interesting Xoom 2 accessories from the start.
Word on 24 September was that the Media Edition would come with a stylus pen as well as an optional keyboard case.
Motorola Xoom 2 pictures
The first sightings of a rather swish looking Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition turned up as frozen stills from the Verizon commercial, but it wasn't until 23 September on Droid Life that we got the first dusties of the more traditional look Xoom 2. The appearance was certainly of a pre-production model complete with slightly nasty-look two-tone rear.
The following day, Engadget published a whole load more of both the Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition and even one of the siblings side by side in a family photo. Naturally, all the serial numbers and identifying marks were blanked out but what was clear was the magnesium/aluminium chassis, the rear ports and switches, the positioning of the camera and the size differences between the two.
Motorola Xoom 2 price
The Motorola Xoom 2 leak on the Verizon advert is obviously a very strong indicator that the US network is one which will be stocking at least one of these two tablets. We'll have to wait and see about the Motorola Xoom 2 price.
Naturally, things will be muddied slightly when it comes to the difference of going SIM free or on a contract and whether or not the tablets come in different storage sizes.
The Carphone Warehouse advert suggests an Irish price of €399 for the 8.2-inch Xoom 2.
Motorola Xoom 2 review
Expect plenty more coverage as we get closer to the release date and full and thorough Motorola Xoom 2 and Motorola Xoom 2 Media Edition reviews once we've had a chance to get them into the Pocket-lint labs.
Check out our Motorola Xoom review and let us know your thoughts on the Xoom 2, Media Edition or otherwise, in the comments below.