Teardown Shows Xoom Tablet’s High-End Hardware

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iSuppli has revealed the hardware components Motorola is using to make Xoom the first true iPad competitor

Motorola’s Xoom tablet has been touted as one of the first true Apple iPad competitors to hit the market, and a new teardown from analysis firm IHS iSuppli suggests the device contains exactly the sort of under-the-hood hardware to back that assertion up.

The 10.1-inch Xoom runs Google Android 3.0, codenamed “Honeycomb”, which has been optimised for the tablet form-factor.

It will arrive in UK stores including Carphone Warehouse and PC World in the second quarter of 2011, the company has said. The higher-end device, including both 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities, will be sold by the Carphone Warehouse group including Best Buy stores, whereas the Wi-Fi-only version will be available from DSG Group, which includes Currys and PC World. There is no word on the price, and no deals through mobile phone operators have yet been announced.

Dual-core processor

“Unlike the iPad, the Xoom now comes in only one configuration, with 32GB of NAND storage,” read the 25 February note penned by Wayne Lam, senior analyst at IHS iSuppli. “However, the Xoom makes up for this lack of variety with its powerful dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 apps processor, ample 1GB synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) and loads of extra sensors.”

While that dual-core design gives the Xoom a noted advantage when it comes to running software, the device lacks 4G components aside from a dummy miniPCIe card, which Lam termed “an obvious placeholder for the future LTE upgrade”. In the meantime, however, Xoom owners need to send their tablet back to the factory in order to upgrade to 4G capability.

With an eye toward that future LTE upgrade, the Xoom comes pre-installed with a SIM card slot and a pair of MIMO antennas. In addition, the tablet includes some other interesting features.

“The Motorola Xoom seems to be pushing the bounds for integrating a large number of sensors in a tablet,” Lam’s note added. Those include the CMOS image camera sensors, an electronic compass, a Bosch Sensortec pressure monitor, and both a 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope.

IHS iSuppli expects to release a more detailed report, complete with a cost breakdown, in coming days. In the meantime, the Xoom seems to be earning relatively strong reviews in the wake of the 24 February release.

“When you use the camera, for example, it anticipates that you’ll be holding it in landscape mode with your right thumb on the screen, and it simulates the radial control dial of a real camera under your thumb,” Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps wrote in a 24 February corporate blog posting. “There are no awkward moments, as there were with earlier Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak.”

High price

Much of the praise for the Xoom focuses on Android 3.0, although general consensus seems to condemn the tablet’s high price point. Motorola’s momentum could also find itself blunted by Apple’s 2 March media event in San Francisco, when industry pundits widely expect the company to whip the curtain away from the next-generation iPad.

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