Motorola Xoom 2 Tablets Coming To UK First

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Later this month Motorola Mobility is releasing the Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition tablets in the UK

Motorola Mobility said it will launch two Xoom tablets into the European market in a bold announcement that comes a week after the company disclosed weak sales of the original Xoom slate.

Both tablets at Carphone Warehouse in the UK and Ireland, as well as Best Buy, PC World, Dixons and Currys in theUK in mid-November. There is no word on pricing yet and the company has not said anything about US launch plans. But it would be inconceivable for a company that needs more tablet muscle to eschew Xoom 2 and Media Edition launches in the US.

Not zooming into the market

Launched last February, the original Motorola Xoom was Google’s Android 3.0 Honeycomb’s coming-out party. However, the device had a tepid reception from most reviewers and was often returned because it crashed or was hard to use.

After selling 440,000 Xooms in its second quarter, Motorola sold only 100,000 units of the original Xoom during the third quarter. All told, the Xoom shipped less than 1 million units worldwide, while the iPad and iPad 2 have sold over 32 million units combined.

Undaunted, the Android OEM, which Google is trying to purchase for $12.5 billion (£7.8m), is offering the Xoom 2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition machines. There are several similarities and differences between the two tablets.

First, the similarities. Both run Honeycomb 3.2, are powered by a 1.2GHz processor, possess 1GB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage, and are equipped with 1.3 megapixel front- and 5 megapixel rear-facing high-definition cameras.

Both the Xoom 2 and Media Edition will also roll with MotoCast, a proprietary application that lets users stream all their music, photos, videos and documents between their PC or Mac and the tablets without any media tools, applications or cords. MotoCast is to Xoom tablets as ZumoCast is to Motorola Droid smartphones.

The differences

The Xoom 2 has a 10.1-inch high-definition display protected by Corning Gorilla Glass and splashguard coating, 10 hours of Web usage (including video playback) for battery life, and has VPN support and data encryption for enterprise employees, Citrix Receiver and Citrix GoToMeeting preinstalled, as well as Motoprint wireless printing support.

The Media Edition machine has an 8.2-inch Gorilla Glass screen and splash-guard but, unlike the Xoom 2, it has a 178º viewing angle for multi-person viewing and, purportedly, a 20 percent bump in graphics performance over the original Xoom. The Media Edition also sports a remote-control application to let users manage their home audio/video systems.

The Media Edition also includes six hours of Web usage, but no enterprise support or Motoprint application on board. It also weighs only 0.85 pounds, compared with the Xoom 2’s 1.3 pounds, which became the standard with the iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The original Xoom was something of a disappointment (as all Android tablet sales have been to date), so Motorola will have to come to market with something more compelling.

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