First Look: Motorola’s Xoom Sequel, The Xyboard Tablet

Motorola’s Xyboard tablet is the follow-up to its Xoom tablet. Image: Jon Snyder/

Motorola is taking another shot at the tablet game with the Droid Xyboard, the company’s latest Android device to hit Verizon stores. After getting our hands on one this afternoon, we found that it’s a solid, well-performing slate that’s easy on the eyes. Too bad it has such a stupid name.

The 4G Xyboard is Motorola’s follow-up to its pricey, not terribly popular Xoom tablet, which was released in February. Available in 8.2-inch and 10.1-inch versions, the Honeycomb-powered Xyboard enters the market hot on the heels of the super-hot Kindle Fire. It’s on sale today for $430 (for the 8.2-inch) or $530 (for the 10.1-inch) with a two-year contract from Verizon, with options for 16GB or 32GB of memory on the smaller version, and up to 64GB on the larger one.

The first thing that struck me about the Xyboard is its industrial design. Rather than being perfectly rectangular in shape, the 8.2-inch slate has clipped corners, which actually makes it fit more comfortably when you hold it one-handed. The back, too, shows some stylistic creativity. A rubberized outer rim houses a power button and volume rocker, while centered in the back of the tablet is a sheet of dark gray brushed metal held in place by six visible screws. Think robot chic.

The positioning of the device’s only two buttons makes for a clean appearance, but leaves your fingers searching when it’s time to crank up the volume or send it to sleep. The 8.2-inch size, however, is a great compromise between the 7-inch ‘tweeners and 10-inch stunners. It’s small enough to wield in one hand with ease (the 0.86-pound weight helps with that too), yet large enough that watching a full-screen, HD YouTube video or a movie on Netflix is pleasant. Pair that with Verizon’s 4G speeds, and you’ve got great streaming video quality.

The overall experience is smooth, an improvement over many of the past buggy iterations of Honeycomb (perhaps the longer lead time gave Google the room to stabilize). Powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, app loading times are reasonably swift, and swiping from one screen to another on its Honeycomb interface is stutter-free.

Unlike HTC and Samsung devices, it’s not overly skinned, so you can actually experience the Android OS for what it is, rather than a bogged down, bloated mess. The Xyboard will be eligible for an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade at some point in the future, but for now, it runs Honeycomb very well.

Both the 8.2- and 10.1-inch models have a 1280 x 800 resolution display. After turning up the brightness from auto to full, the tablet’s battery life dropped from around 20 percent to around 5 percent in less than an hour, so it looks like you’ll need to be conscious of your 4G and brightness settings if you don’t want your tablet to die on you quickly.

If you’re one of those people who likes to take pictures with their tablet (read: you are a dork), the Xyboard has a 5-megapixel back-facing camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera on its face. The rear camera’s quality is relatively sub-par compared to what you’d get from other comparable cameras, and definitely shoddier compared to the 8-megapixel standard of most 2011 handsets. The colors are bright and close to true to life, but the overall image lacks sharpness. The camera does have some variable settings though, for white balance, color effects, and scene mode. Video quality was also just ‘meh’: a video taken indoors at the Wired offices was noticeably grainy.

Overall, the Xyboard seems like a decent tablet. The slate looks slick and feels good in your hands, and is powerful enough to provide a successful tablet experience. It’s a bit of a shame that it’s shipping with Honeycomb instead of ICS, but that’s certainly not a deal breaker. What’s a real shame, though, is that it’s available now, and not six months ago.

Look for the full review on Wired Reviews in the coming weeks.

The Xyboard features clipped corners and a more hardware focused rear design. Image: Jon Snyder/

Motorola’s Tablet Do-Over Is Ready for Pre-Order

Look familiar? The Xyboard tablet is not all that different from the Xoom. Photo courtesy of Motorola

“Those who cannot remember the past,” George Santayana wrote, “are condemned to repeat it.”

Motorola must have a very short memory. This much is apparent in the impending release of the Xyboard, Motorola’s successor to the Xoom Android tablet. The Xyboard is up for pre-order on Verizon’s web site, but by most measures, the device isn’t all that different from its predecessor.

For one thing, it boasts markedly similar specs. The Xyboard comes with a slightly more powerful dual-core processor (1.2GHz instead of 1GHz), a 10.1-inch screen (same as the Xoom), and front and rear-facing cameras with the same resolutions as those in the previous tablet (5 and 1.3 megapixels, respectively). The only major difference that we can discern thus far is that the Xyboard will measure in slightly lighter and thinner than the Xoom.

And for those who want more than just Wi-Fi, built-in 4G LTE connectivity on Verizon’s network is also an option. That’s an update to the Xoom, which required sending the device back to the manufacturer for a 4G upgrade (sheesh).

But here’s the ugly kicker: Motorola is selling the Xyboard at premium (read: pricey) rates, starting at $530 for the 16GB version, and stepping up gradually to $630 for 32GB and $730 for 64GB. And those prices are after signing a two-year Verizon Wireless contract.

To be fair, these prices represent a $100 price cut relative to comparable iPad 2 models, and the Xyboard includes 4G instead of 3G. So it would seem that you’re getting a deal by choosing Android over iOS.

But as the past year has vividly shown us, customers don’t want to buy Android tablets at premium prices. We’ve only seen non-iPad tablets fly off the shelves when hitting bargain bins, and even then the parent companies have been forced to sell premium components at a loss. That’s no way to run a business.

So why not learn from previous mistakes? And further, why release another device — one that is, for all intents and purposes, identical to the previous flop of a tablet launch — when both quad-core processors and a new version of Android are on the horizon?

Maybe the company knows something we don’t? Or maybe not.

The Xyboard goes on sale nationwide on Monday, with pre-orders currently available on Verizon’s web site.

Motorola Xoom 2 officially priced at 400 Euros, coming this Christmas to Carphone Warehouse

For those unaware, Carphone Warehouse is a warehouse that sells carphones in Europe, Jupiter and other locales in the known galaxy. It also sells smartphones and tablets. And according to the leaked flyer that we’ve acquired, the long-awaited Motorola Xoom 2 (or Xoom II, as it were) will be landing in Ireland before Christmas. The price? €399.90, or around $545, for the WiFi-only edition with 16GB of inbuilt storage. Other specs include Android 3.2 (what, no Ice Cream Sandwich?), an 8.2-inch touchpanel, and much, much more. In fact, CW calls it “everything a tablet should be.” Truth in advertising? You be the judge.

[Thanks, Artyom]

Motorola Xoom 2 officially priced at 400 Euros, coming this Christmas to Carphone Warehouse originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 01 Nov 2011 10:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola Mobility to drop 800 jobs

Motorola Mobility has issued a regulatory filing outlining the loss of 800 jobs. The cut will cost the handset manufacturer $31 million — that number includes $27 million in severance and $4 million to close locations. The reason for the cuts? Bloomberg suggests that it’s part of an attempt to lower costs, as the company readies itself to join the Google family — a decision Motorola’s board will vote on in the middle of next month. This news follows last week’s earnings report, in which the mobile company reported a $32 million net loss — not the greatest financial report, sure, but a marked improvement over the prior quarter’s $56 million loss.

Motorola Mobility to drop 800 jobs originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:15:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Refresh Roundup: week of October 24, 2011

Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging to get updated. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it’s easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don’t escape without notice, we’ve gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery from the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout attips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

Official Android updates

  • Guess which phone’s finally getting Gingerbread: the HTC Thunderbolt. Yes, we’re being serious. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in, and thanks Eddie for the image!]
  • Gingerbread is now rolling out to the Motorola Droid Pro and Droid 2 Global. [PhoneScoop]
  • The HTC EVO Design 4G wasn’t out for very long before it was ready for a maintenance release. It’s called version 1.19.651.0, and no change log was found right away.
  • More HTC stuff: the EVO 3D also offers a small bug fix in the form of a security update under the name of version 2.08.651.3. [AndroidCentral]
  • The LG Revolution on Verizon’s also officially gaining Android 2.3. [Pocketnow]
  • In the UK, HTC Desire S owners are now finding themselves beneficiaries of the Android 2.3.5 firmware update as well as Sense 3.0. [AndroidCentral]
  • How about a couple for the little guys? CSpire, formerly known as Cellular South, is pushing Gingerbread to its Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Milestone X. [AndroidCentral(1) and (2)]
  • Sony Ericsson announced this week that Android 2.3.4 is rolling out to the 2011 Xperia lineup around the world. Additional enhancements include 16x video zoom, WiFi DLNA, screen capture capability, ability to attach USB peripherals to Sony Ericsson LiveDock and more.

Unofficial Android updates, custom ROMs and misc. hackery

  • The Samsung Stratosphere on Verizon has been successfully rooted. [AndroidCommunity]
  • HTC devices receiving the official Gingerbread kernel source from HTCDev this week: The Evo Shift 4G, the Thunderbolt and Droid Incredible. [AndroidCentral]
  • When it rains, it pours — the Thunderbolt, on top of receiving Gingerbread and its accompanying kernel source, has also found itself on the receiving end of an Ice Cream Sandwich SDK port. As can be expected, it’s still in prealpha stages and has a few bugs to work out. [AndroidCommunity]
  • If you’re a CM7 user, there’s now a file available that will turn your lock screen into one that resembles Ice Cream Sandwich’s style. [Droid-Life]

Other platforms

  • Microsoft’s pushing a firmware upgrade to the LG Optimus 7 Windows Phone which seems to grace the device with WiFi tethering and the ability to locate hidden WiFi networks. [WMPowerUser]
  • It’s not a BlackBerry firmware update, but many people still have a soft spot for BBM and will be interested to know that RIM is putting out version 6.0.1 with a few enhancements. Head to the source to check it out. [MobileTechReview]

Refreshes we covered this week

Refresh Roundup: week of October 24, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 30 Oct 2011 11:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mystery Motorola devices headed for Verizon, could be the long-awaited Xoom 2s?

Is Big Red gearing up for a tag team Moto tablet refresh? From the looks of this internal screen grab (and the oodles of pre-release leaks), that may very well be the case. Despite the lack of official confirmation from both parties, we’re pretty certain those two mystery model numbers shown above — MZ617 and MZ609 — belong to the oft in-the-wild spotted Xoom 2 and its 8.2-inch “Media Edition” sibling. Unfortunately, that listed October 23rd date has come and gone with nary a mention of the slates’ existence, so we’ll just have to content ourselves with evidence of their apparent 4G capabilities and storage configurations. Folks keen to snag the full-fledged 10.1-incher will purportedly be able to select from 16GB, 32GB and 64GB models, whereas lil’ bro Fleming offers up 16GB and 32GB options. With Google’s Motorola acquisition looming overhead, these could be your go-to tabs for an unadulterated Ice Cream Sandwich experience. And, hey, at least they’ll ship with LTE this time.

Mystery Motorola devices headed for Verizon, could be the long-awaited Xoom 2s? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 08:33:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola Mobility reports $3.3 billion in revenue and $32 million net loss, offers more details on Google buyout

Just in time for the company to be acquired by Google, Motorola Mobility is beginning to right the ship, as evidenced by today’s quarterly earnings report. The company reported total net revenues of $3.3 billion — precisely the same amount earned last quarter, incidentally, and up 11 percent from this time last year — and a GAAP net loss of $32 million. While the number may put frowns on a few faces, it’s still an improvement from Q2’s loss of $56 million, and more than half ($18 million) of the losses were attributed to expenses from the Google acquisition. Mobile device revenues are up 20 percent year-over-year and 11.6 million devices were shipped, including 4.8 million smartphones and 100,000 Xoom tablets.

On the regulatory front, Moto offered a few new details about the progress of the company’s acquisition. It announced that it will hold a meeting with stockholders on November 17 to gain approval of the Google merger, and — pending antitrust clearance by the US Department of Justice, the EU and several other government entities — expects to close the transaction by the end of this year or early 2012 at the latest. Check out all of the numbers after the break.

Continue reading Motorola Mobility reports $3.3 billion in revenue and $32 million net loss, offers more details on Google buyout

Motorola Mobility reports $3.3 billion in revenue and $32 million net loss, offers more details on Google buyout originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 16:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola Atrix 2 review

We’ve seen a lot of game-changing devices this year, haven’t we? 2011 has already witnessed the first Honeycomb tablets, the influx of LTE and the introduction of a boatload of smartphones with dual-core processors. One of those groundbreaking devices was the Motorola Atrix 4G, which we called the best smartphone at CES 2011 because of its powerful Tegra 2 SoC and simply innovative Webtop operating system with an accompanying Lapdock. It was new, and it was powerful.

Not even ten months after the Atrix’s February 22nd launch, we’re already seeing its successor, aptly named the Atrix 2. At the risk of sounding blunt, it’s not a groundbreaking device — aside from a few bumps in specs, larger display and a fresh redesign, it doesn’t offer the same level of showmanship or innovation so eagerly demonstrated in the first iteration. But does the sequel compensate for the lack of sizzle? How much does this improve over the original? Does the newest version of the Lapdock satisfy? We’ll answer these questions and so much more after the break.

Continue reading Motorola Atrix 2 review

Motorola Atrix 2 review originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 14:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola Droid 4 exposed to our wandering eyes, comes with LTE in tow?

We were just a tad disappointed when the Motorola Droid 3 came out without Verizon’s signature LTE logo on the back, but a mere three months later the QWERTY slider is back with a new model that should be packing 4G. The images above and below, procured by Droid-Life, show what looks to be a super-slim device with the same slight curves on the corner as the RAZR, and tapered back akin to the Droid Bionic. And, interestingly enough, it appears to be nearly complete, judging by the non-Mr. Blurrycam quality of the images and the tutorial stickers on the screen. Not only does the device appear to offer LTE, it also adds Webtop and should be compatible with the LapDock 100 and 500. Rounding out the tentative specs are a 4-inch display, spacious five-row keyboard (with number row included), 1080p HD video capture, front-facing camera and a non-removable battery. It also comes with Android 2.3.5 installed instead of Ice Cream Sandwich, something which we hope to see remedied soon after launch. Looks like we’re finally close to having a high-end QWERTY option on Verizon’s 4G lineup.

Motorola Droid 4 exposed to our wandering eyes, comes with LTE in tow? originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 12:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Motorola Pro+ 4G rides into Canada November 7th, will kick off shoes and stay a while

We knew it was planning to grace Europe and Asia with its presence this month, but now we’re hearing the Motorola Pro+ 4G is ready to make its North American debut at Bell Canada. We’re not seeing any large differences here compared to the overseas model, though the addition of “4G” to the title is an obvious exception. The device offers a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, Android 2.3, a 5MP camera, 3.1-inch VGA (640 x 480) display with Gorilla Glass, HSPA 14.4 (hence the “4G” name) and a lot of Enterprise-friendly security features. We know it’ll be hitting shelves on November 7th, but no price has been announced so far. To find out the full shebang, head south for the press release.

Update: We’ve confirmed with an inside source that it’ll sell for $349.95, but there’s no word on whether subsidies will apply for long-term contracts.

Continue reading Motorola Pro+ 4G rides into Canada November 7th, will kick off shoes and stay a while

Motorola Pro+ 4G rides into Canada November 7th, will kick off shoes and stay a while originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Oct 2011 06:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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