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The Motorola Xoom arrives in Verizon stores today. It’s the first Google Honeycomb tablet available to customers. Verizon keeps the price high – $799 price unlocked or $599 with a 2-year contract. Best Buy also has it for $799.

Hardware features include a 10.1 inch display, a dual-core 1 GHz Tegra 2 processor and 1 GB of RAM.

  • Playback at 16.10 widescreen format
  • Console-like gaming with a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope
  • Support for Adobe Flash
  • Front and rear-facing cameras.
  • Video chat with friends using the front facing camera
  • Capture HD 720p video and play it back over HDMI

The 10.1” screen has a 1280 x 800 display (16:10) vs. the iPad’s 1024 x 768 panel (4:3). As a result the Xoom is the same width in landscape as the iPad, but it’s noticeably shorter (and a little thinner).

Verizon expects a 4G LTE upgrade shortly after launch, but you will have to send in your device and will be without it for 6 days while they upgrade the hardware and software, reports Droid Life. iSuppli says that there are no LTE components inside the Xoom tablet.

Here are some Honeycomb reviews:

  • Engadget (Joshua Topolsky): “a lot of the new software feels like it isn’t quite out of beta (surprise surprise). We had our fair share of force closes and bizarre freezes, particularly in the Market app and Movie Studio. Most applications were fine, but there definitely some moments where we felt like the whole device was teetering on the brink of a total crash.”
  • CrunchGear (John Biggs): “if you open too many apps, it slows down to a crawl. The horrors that Apple seems to have avoided in iOS are readily apparent here. I had quite a few app crashes and many apps designed for 2.x devices crashed. Google Body, remade for Honeycomb, crashed every other try”.
  • WSJ ( Walt Mossberg): “I’ve always felt that Android had a rough-around-the edges, geeky feel, with too many steps to do things and too much reliance on menus. But Honeycomb eliminates much of that”. He went on to point out: “I found numerous apps in the Android Market that wouldn’t work with the Xoom”.
  • GigaOM (Kevin Tofel): “Honeycomb still has bugs to be worked out. Aside from some third-party apps crashing, the Android Market has crashed on me twice in a short time. And after Facebook crashed, the Facebook widget became completely non-responsive.” There’s good stuff too as Tofel also points out “Notifications are excellent, and competitors should take note.”
  • Slashgear (Vincent Nguyen): “The first batch of Honeycomb slates may have some wrinkles – the missing Flash and paucity of video codec support being two examples – but 2011 definitely looks to be the year that Android tablets will come of age.”

Other Honeycomb tablets due in the next weeks include;

  • LG’s 10″ Slate (8.9-inch screen, dual-core Tegra 2, 32 GB of internal memory, two cameras, 1080p video as well as stereoscopic 3D)
  • Samsung’s 10.1-inch Galaxy Tab 2 (10″, 1280×800 pixel display, dual-core 1GHz processor – Exynos or Orion, 8 megapixel camera)
  • Dell’s 7″ & 10″ Streaks (Tegra2, 7-inch, Adobe Flash 10.1, 1.3 MP front-facing camera, 16 GB of internal storage, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS & HSPA)
  • Acer’s 10″ Iconia Tab (10″, full-size keyboard doubles as a docking station, runs Windows 7, 1.3MP webcam, AMD C-50 processor and AMD RadeonT HD6250 graphics)
  • HTC’s Flyer (7 inch, 1.5 GHz CPU, 5 megapixel/1.3 megapixel cameras, microSD, GSM/GPRS/EDGE)

Liliputing has a Xoom review roundup. Pogue & Mossberg have reviews. “The Xoom and Honeycomb are a promising pair that should give the iPad its stiffest competition. But price will be an obstacle, and Apple isn’t standing still.”

Tablets could displace around 10 percent of PC units by 2014, according to Gartner.

Apple has sold nearly 15 million iPads, since it went on sale last spring, and seems poised to unveil a new version of its hugely successful iPad, on March 2.

Analysts expect the iPad 2 to be thinner than its predecessor and feature an improved display, as well as front-facing camera and Facetime video chat. And some reports suggest it will be powered by one of Qualcomm’s multimode chips and will run on both GSM and CDMA-based networks around the world.

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