Motorola's Xyboard: Now With Fewer Features, Weaker GPU

Motorola's Xyboard: Now With Fewer Features, Weaker GPU

The Motorola Xoom was a notorious flop thanks to a sky-high price tag, features that didn't work for months (the company didn'ts tart upgrading the tablet to its promised 4G capability until late this fall), and a buggy implementation of Honeycomb that was a direct result of Motorola pushing too hard for an early launch.

Moto, defiant in the face of such failure, went back to the drawing board and has given us the Xyboard / Xoom 2. The new tablet doesn't just replicate some of the mistakes that doomed its predecessor, it adds new flaws and foibles. This, my friends, is dedication at its finest.



First, let's talk specs. The new Xyboard comes in 8.2" and 10.1" flavors with full retail prices of $599 and $699 respectively ($429 and $529 w/ two-year Verizon contract). That makes the Xyboard $100 cheaper than a 16GB 9.7" iPad 2 w/ equivalent contract . The front camera is lower quality (1.3Mpixels vs. 2.0 MP on the original Xoom), there's no more removal storage, and the GPU is significantly less powerful. Like the original, it runs Honeycomb (Motorola has said that an ICS upgrade will be pushed out at an undefined later date.

Motorola is primarily talking up the increase in CPU speed (from 1GHz to 1.2GHz), but neglects to mention that it swapped out Nvidia for a TI OMAP4 solution, including an SGX540. There's nothing inherently wrong with the SGX540 GPU, but it's significantly less powerful than NV's Tegra 2 -- much less Tegra 3 or the iPad 2's SGX5432 MP2. In short, this is a tablet that packs a GPU better suited to a smartphone.


The Xyboard makes exactly half this much sense

The Xyboard is equally bizarre from a business perspective. The great, painful tablet lesson of 2011 was that consumers weren't interested in Android approximations of what they viewed as a superior Apple product. Motorola scarcely lacks for company in this field; the Touchpad tanked, PlayBook punted, Streak sank, and the Xoom xucked. Of all the companies in question, Moto is the only one who got up, dusted itself off, and decided to strip out some features and hit a price point marginally lower than the iPad 2's, because clearly the success of the Kindle Fire and Nook tablet at half or less of Apple's MSRP proved the market was ready for expensive Android solutions.

This tablet is very nearly a uniquely lousy deal. If you don't need 3G service, there are cheaper options with better features. If you do want 3G access, the iPad 2 is a much more powerful machine. The 8.2" option is a bit more interesting  (and for a landscape tablet, it fits better in the hands), but both the Kindle Fire and the Nook tablet are still much cheaper and have more rich content options available.

Who is this thing supposed to actually appeal to? We have no idea. If it seems like we're being harsh on the device, remember, the prices we've quoted above are for a two-year contract with a minimal $350 cancellation fee. This is a piece of hardware you're going to be sitting on for quite some time -- but it's outfitted with last-generation equipment and actually offers fewer features than its predecessor.
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Even the PlayBook is better then this... Why is it that manufactures have to strip their features in order to get a lower price; I mean the PlayBook didn't and it's still selling for a marginally reasonable price? When will they realize that the only way they'll get them to sell is if they take the lessons from the Amazon Kindle and apply it to their tablets. Mainly, lower the price!

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Phone Carrier's do not know or care about specs enough to know what a device's limitations mean.

Prices are always a concern, but Phone carriers only care about one thing: # of contracts. It is the truth and that is why people like you and I design these devices and not sell them.

The only thing a Tablet is right now is just a Novelty. The Ipad could not make enough sales volume to even commit to a decent job site.

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first a strange name, now this? It doesnt look like motorola or VZ know what to do with tablets. The Xoom one was a bit pricey, but it wasnt that bad. Just goes to show you that Asus is still the only one getting it done when it comes to tablets.

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fail... need I say more.

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Wow what a total POS, must be looking for a write off. lol

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Joel, get informed! SGX540 is NOT less powerful than ULP GeForce - http://www.anandtech.com/show/5133/galaxy-nexus-ice-cream-sandwich-initial-performance

with the rest of non-technical rant I do agree! Only much lower price compared to iPsd 2 can sell Android tablets... It is a matter if mindset that puts '=' sign between tablet as a device and iPad as a product

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and products like this cause Apple's Ipad to remain unquestionably dominant in the tablet market...

Although with the kindle fire taking its niche in the economical category and the Asus Transformer Prime (thinner and more powerful hardware wise than the Ipad 2) Apple could be facing some touch competition from Android soon, just definitely not through anything from Motorola

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It does seem that Motorola is trying to find the level of the customer base's incompetence. Moto aparrently believes that the average tablet buyer is an idiot and how far they can push the envelope. BTW, what is the story behind the Segway Brigade image?. 

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Why Moto..Why. ?

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Seriously.  One look around the android marketplace would have clued them in.  

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SDucey,

I went looking for a nonsensical image. Found that. :P

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