Back in the early 1990s—1993, to be
exact—Apple Computer launched a
handheld computer product known as the
Newton. Interestingly, the Newton was the
first device to be called a personal digital
assistant (PDA), a term that lives on today.
Essentially, it was the first tablet computer.
The one thing that most folks agreed on at
the time was that tablet computers would
never replace desktop computers and
that their usefulness would never evolve
beyond certain niches.
Boy, were they wrong! Last year, Apple
came out with the iPad, and within a few
short months, the utility and style of tablet
computers were plain to see.
Now Motorola has jumped into the tabletcomputer
pond with both feet. Its Xoom is
a technological wonder that can stand toe
to toe with—and indeed surpass—many of
its competitors in both functionality and raw
horsepower. Coupled with Android’s Honeycomb
3.0 operating system, the Motorola
Xoom is a fantastic device that’s taking the
world of tablet computing by storm.
Currently available in two models (3G/Wi-Fi
and Wi-Fi only), the Xoom is capable of
functioning as a stand-alone computer, albeit
one with a few limitations. Probably the most
glaring limitation is the lack of a physical
keyboard, but of course the keyboard is
onscreen. (It works wonderfully but lacks the
tactile feedback that standard keyboards
supply.) Otherwise, the Xoom has it all:
color; sound; a large touch-sensitive screen;
a snazzy operating system; and hundreds
upon hundreds of very cool apps that make it
sing, dance, game, and teach.