This weekend I was able to test drive a Motorola 3G "XOOM."
Okay, kids, it's official: Momma doesn't understand your obsession with touch-y whatchamacallits.
Let me sum up: No, wait. There is too much. Let me explain:
Even the dog is like "Why does it keep paw-sing?"
I just don't know why anyone really needs this tablet computer nonsense. The XOOM is $800. EIGHT HUNDRED DAMN DOLLARS. It lacks a lot of stuff I would want in a computer, and ultimately, if I'm shelling out over $500 for an electronic, it's because I want it to do a lot of things in one tidy package so that my life will become more convenient and succinct. So far the one thing I've seen people use their iPads for is watching videos. Okay, and reading books / comics.
That's great, but I also need to write... a lot. I write a lot nowadays, can't you see? I need a full keyboard for that. And touch screen tablet doohickeys don't have typey-type keyboards. So if you need to do some real work on it, you have to go shell out $70 or $80 for a peripheral keyboard that will work with the bluetoothy deal on the XOOM. So now on top of spending $800 for the device, I also have to buy stuff that will make the device work like I need it to?
There's 32 GB of built-in memory on the XOOM, with a micro SD slot to upgrade to more gigabytes of space if you need, but I'd prefer to have a USB port for hooking up my external wallet drive. Or a full sized SD slot for all the full sized SD cards I carry with me. I mean, the things are only the size of a postage stamp, I can literally back up entire websites and put them in my fifth pocket in case of the apocalypse. (I'll be needing to re-establish Geektress quickly, so the Terminators can adapt to human geek proclivities faster.) (THAT'S RIGHT I'LL BE A ROBO-TRAITOR.)
Despite Google developing the "Android Honeycomb Operating System" for tablet computers, the XOOM is laggy as hell. And I'm not talking just on the 3G network verses a wifi signal from my home router, no. (The XOOM can be upgraded to 4G, but first you have to buy the 3G tablet, and then send it in to Motorola to be upgraded.) Doing anything at all seems sluggish. Even Autodesk SketchBook Mobile Express -- which is a significantly better free drawing program than my standby, DrawPad -- moved all herky-jerky.
Surfing to FX.com and trying to watch "Justified" means that I get "buffering" sorts of pausing every couple of minutes. If you try going to the Netflix website in the browser, you get a sweet-ass error message about how you should've just went with the iPad2. And because Netflix still hasn't finished their app for Android yet, you can't access the thousands of ready-to-stream videos on your account any other way.
If not being able to watch Walter Goggins and Timothy Olyphant exchange snide comments is not enough of a deterrent, get this: The speakers are on the underside of the tablet. So you can't just, say, lay it down in your lap to watch while you're in bed, because YOU CAN'T HEAR THE DAMNED THING. I know, I know: "wear headphones." What if I don't want to? What if I'm one of the many people who don't like having tiny speakers shoved down their ear canal all the time?
What then, Mr. Smart Ideas?
There's an HDMI output if you want to hook it up to your tv, sure. But you have to buy the cable, another $10-$20. You're also going to probably want a dock, because if you don't have a tv handy, you'll want to prop up the tablet somehow. Hey, some of the docks actually have their own speakers to trump the ones on the XOOM! But did I mention the Motorola Xoom dock I found retails for $130?
Isn't there something that will watch movies and read comics and surf the internet and play music and run Photoshop and tell time and take pictures and Skype and download porn and be my best friend that does have a keyboard and USB ports and SD card slots and silverlight for Netflix.com?
OH HOLY SHIT, YES THERE IS, IT'S CALLED A FUCKING NETBOOK.
This is Steve, I've had Steve for over three years now, and he's a goddamn delight. So much so that I actually have two Steves. When Asus released their second wave of EEE netbooks, this time with Windows and a larger screen (though, the actual size of the device stayed the same, they just moved the speakers from the monitor), I bought a second one in black. (I have the 7" and 9" inch models, but I believe now they've gone all the way up to 12". Momma doesn't need all that.)
Guess what sits up by itself because it's hinged and doesn't need a $100 dock -- a netbook, didn't give you time to answer because that's called rhetorical. Guess what has a screen you can change the orientation on so you can read it vertically JUST LIKE A BOOK YES the ASUS EEEpc!
So I have a netbook for keeping by the bedside if I want to surf and watch movies that aren't on my Netflix Roku, and write emails and generally enjoy life with a super-speedy Linux based operating system. I also have black Steve for running Photoshop and my Wacom tablet on Windows, and also for writing and sending emails and enjoying life -- but I can use it on the go. (It only weighs .6 pounds more than the first iPad.) I can also read e-books (because Kindle has a PC version for download,) comics, draw and paint, take pictures and "interface" with my webcam.
You know how much all of that cost me? $250. Total. For both netbooks.
Now tell me your smudgy piece of shit is terrific for whatever it is you do. Or don't. I'd actually rather you didn't. See, the point is, I don't care.
Don't get me wrong here: If you have the scratch, and all you want is something to watch videos and read comic books and you don't ever plan on sending any text lengthier than 140 characters, get an iPad2. Yes, here I am, Apple Products Hater, telling you to get the new iPad if you really need a tablet computer. It's thin and sexy as hell. Apps are fun, and if you don't already have a smartphone, you can see what people have been talking about all this time. (It's basically just an easy gateway for installing software.) And right now what I'm seeing is that app developers are creating for Apple first, with Android as an afterthought. So if you want the neat things like Double Feature Comics, you gotta get an iPad.
But if you need to do honest-to-Gourd computating, I don't know why you would go with a tablet computer. You're going to end up needing a desktop or a laptop because you're going to get annoyed with your expensive Angry Birds toy. (The first thing downloaded to the XOOM after Comixology -- whose app is pretty neat, I got Gotham City Sirens #1 and Jack of Fables #1 and G-Man for free, thanks -- was Angry Birds, because at that point my husband had stolen it.)
So I guess to wrap this up, my opinion on the XOOM is: plllllllllllbbbbt.
I did get to make this, though. Yay, capitalism:
"Instead of an iPad, I carry an abacus. You probably wouldn't understand."