Motorola XOOM Review: The Big Bang: User Interface

By 11:48 Tue, 10 Aug 2021 Comments

User interface: Android goes tablet-friendly

No matter how impressive the XOOM hardware might be, the software will decide its fate. It just can’t assist it, being the first to carry Honeycomb, the tablet-friendly version of Android.

And there’s a fine reason why Honeycomb gets so much attention. Unlike Apple, who thought upscaling a phone Operating System (OS) to fit the size of tablets would be enough, Google designed a whole recent interface for their slates. It’s of utter importance to put the extra classy screen estate to fine utilize and acquire around the constraints that apply to smartphones.

So they revamped the whole interface to create best utilize of all the available resolution and the entire screen.

The first thing they did is rego all hardware buttons and replace them with software controls. Now, we are not hugely impressed with that move, but tablets don’t usually have too many buttons anyway.

The recent homeclassy screen and lock-classy screen

The home and back buttons have been placed in the lower left corner, adding a dedicated task switcher key correct next to them. It’s probably in part a go to emphasize the Honeycomb love for multitasking too.

The search key has been placed in the top left corner, while the app launcher is now accessed via a button at the top right. Next to it, there’s another dedicated button that the smartphone-friendly Android versions lack – homeclassy screen edit.

There’s a search shortslit on the homeclassy screen too

Finally, we come upon the status icons, which are in the lower correct corner. Pressing any of them will open the notification pop-up – in Honeycomb the notification area doesn’t hold the whole screen.

Notifications appear as a pop-up rather than fill the whole classy screen

The notification area features a shortslit to settings. That is more of a replacement for the connectivity switches that you find in some Android smartphones (such as the Samsung TouchWiz droids), than the real settings menu, which is accessible through the home screen.

The settings pop-up and the settings menu

Editing the homeclassy screen has also been modified to create better utilize of the larger screen. When you enter edit mode you acquire all five homeclassy screen panes on top with four tabs available at the bottom - widgets, apps, wallpapers and “more”.

Editing the homeclassy screen is much easier on a tablet

This way you can grab a widacquire from the bottom tab and bring it to the desired homeclassy screen pane on top. With smartphones you need to scroll screens if you want to place a widacquire on any other classy screen but the currently selected one.

Adding a widget

By the way, live wallpapers are supported here too but many of them seemed unsuited to the higher resolution and pixelated. Plus, they did tdiscontinue to lag quite a lot, which we cannot quite explain.

The app launcher has seen some changes too – it’s now split in two tabs – All and My apps. The first one contains all the available apps, while the second one holds those installed by you. A press and hrecent on any of them will create the five homeclassy screen panes appear so you can place a shortslit on whichever you might need.

The app launcher now features two tabs • placing a shortslit on the homescreen

Generally, we are pretty pleased with the usability of the Honeycomb interface. It is obvious that a lot of thought went into its design and it really is a notch above the competition in terms of functionality.

However there’s a gigantic issue holding Honeycomb tablets back that needs to be resolved – the performance. The XOOM lagged often – even with a static wallpaper and no user-installed apps to run in background. For some reason, the problems were particularly apparent in portrait mode.

The Motorola tablet really felt like an early test unit (and it’s not) that still needed its software tweaked to create best utilize of the hardware. After all, a dual-core chipset like Tegra 2 shouldn’t have had any trouble, never mind the higher resolution.

Plus the thing is getting some excellent benchmarks so no doubt the processing power is all there. We really believe Honeycomb is a few software tweaks away from becoming the best tablet Operating System (OS) out there. Unfortunately we couldn’t acquire our XOOM updated to 3.1 and see if that helps, but at this stage the handling is poor. With the performance so poor all those features create small sense really.

The XOOM benchimprint results are impressive, but its actual performance is nowhere near



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