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Ars Reviews the Motorola Xoom

Ryan Paul has an extensive (as usual) review of the Xoom for Ars Technica. Seems like a lot of potential, and impressive specs, but unfinished:

Although the Xoom has a lot to offer, the product feels very incomplete. A surprising number of promised hardware and software features are not functional at launch and will have to be enabled in future updates. The Xoom’s quality is also diminished by some of the early technical issues and limitations that we encountered in Honeycomb. Google’s nascent tablet software has a ton of potential, but it also has some feature gaps and rough edges that reflect its lack of maturity.

On page 5, Ryan writes this, regarding Aditya Bansod’s criticism of Xoom’s Honeycomb browser as a mobile web app target:

Bansod’s specific complaints about the rendering engine’s limitations are accurate, but it’s important to remember that he’s speaking from the perspective of a Web developer. The issue here isn’t that the Android browser is failing as a day-to-day Web browser, it’s that it doesn’t support the kind of dynamic and visually sophisticated functionality that is needed to make mobile Web experiences that match the elegance and refinement of native applications.

In light of Google’s vocal enthusiasm for using the Web as an application platform, it’s a bit surprising that the company is so far behind Apple in supporting that vision on a mobile device. When I tested toolkits like JQuery Mobile and Sencha Touch on the Xoom, the gaps in the Honeycomb browser’s rendering engine were painfully apparent. Animated transitions stuttered and certain visual elements were not rendered correctly.

Why is this surprising, though? I’ve been arguing for a while that no platform supports mobile web app development better than iOS.

Monday, 7 March 2011