Is the Xoom really ready for prime time? That's a pretty loaded question depending on whom you ask. Most folks who have picked up a Motorola Xoom have reported that the browser works considerably well with the exception that Verizon's 3G network is a little slow. However, when it comes to asking Sencha -- a company that makes JavaScript frameworks for desktop and mobile devices and are experts on HTML5-based products the Motorola Xoom browser falls flat on it's face. From their testing data:

We found consistent and reproducible issues in CSS3 Animations and CSS3 Transitions among other things. We had issues where the browser either hung or crashed. Regular scrolling was slow or below full framerate. We had issues where media playback failed or performed incorrectly. At times it felt like we were using a preproduction device, but we bought our test device from a Verizon Wireless store.

Harsh words. Sencha was quick to note the finer things about the Motorola Xoom browser before dropping their complete analysis bomb on everyone though. The Motorola Xoom led the pack during the SunSpider test due to its use of a more recent WebKit build. After that, well -- the Xoom in their minds bit the dust despite obtaining perfect score on the Acid3 tests as it still failed to render the letters and numbers, as it should have.

So should this turn a user off from buying a Motorola Xoom -- or leave a bad impression of the device overall? Not really. The tests completed by Sencha were done so based on their business background being the development of HTML5 applications. Unless you're intending upon developing HTML5 applications you'll likely not be as concerned as they were with the browser's abilities.

That said, it does add some credibility to those who have stated the Motorola Xoom was rushed out the door. But, hopefully Google and Motorola will continue to work out the kinks, I mean we already have to ship the device back to them anyway. Least they could do is load a new browser. Makes me wonder how Firefox would run on it. Full report is available at the source link should you want the nitty gritty details. [Sencha via Daring Fireball]


Reader comments

Motorola Xoom's browser put through its HTML5 paces


I swear, every article I read lately makes me not want to buy this device when the wifi version comes out.... I so want a tablet. It's getting harder and harder not looking at the ipad2. :(

Or just wait 3 months. You are fully aware of the iPads shortcomings. If you've waited this long 3 months aren't going to kill you. I'll bet cash that Google is working overtime on Android 3.0 right now. (Ditch the damn names please!??) Most of which will get ironed out in a few months. However I challenge you to fix the lack of a SD card slot in an iPad with a software fix. The lack of an open market. The lack of Apple being more concerned over form then function. Apple basically treating their developers like cattle. I mean none of those things are going to be fixed.

Not to be the "Apple guy" (I don't even own any products of theirs) but:

This 'open market' thing...other than malware and viruses, what is App Store missing that Market provides?

Apple lacking form over function...isn't Apple known for its form and function? Seems with everyone else you get one or the other but never both.

Treating their developers like mean the same Apple that paid out billions to those developers last year for all of the applications submitted and sold?

I think people hate on Apple just because it's "Apple". :P

I hate how some sites can only be sen in mobile view . And sometimes it does lag a bit. Otherwise its great. A small update should fix this

I have no doubt that eventually Honeycomb will be the best tablet platform out there and will beat everything in sight. That day is not here yet because the software is just plain not ready. Core applications are buggy and 3rd party stuff is very scarce. The iPad and the Galaxy Tab are way ahead of the Xoom because that Honeycomb is just not ready. For now I am going to stick with my Galaxy Tab that I have been enjoying for almost 6 months now.

Many people have been saying that those of us who bought the tab last September should have waited for Honeycomb. I have always planned on getting a Honeycomb device when they are ready but until then I am perfectly content running the tried and proven Froyo version of Android. If I had not bought I tab then I would have been missing out on the tablet experience for almost 6 months now which is a long time in the world of technology. The experience is great. I have full HTML 5 and CSS support. I have full Adobe Flash support. I have full micro SD support. I can rent / buy movies and download them directly to the tab. I can use my Tab as a phone with the the unlocked European ROM that I am running. Every app in the market runs great on my Tab. There are so many things that the Tab can do that the Xoom just cant do yet. When Honeycomb is ready I will be upgrading. Until then I am perfectly content.

The Xoom doesn't even play the HTML 5 videos on CNN. It just shows the "install flash" screen. Come on, Apple has pretty much won the flash war at this point. All devices need to be able to run HTML 5 in order to be relevant.

Likewise. Sadly I'm happier without the device than with it. To be honest with you it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth when it comes to tablets.

I'll likely end up waiting for some significantly different piece of hardware before I jump on something like this. One and a half pounds is still simply not comfortable.

Great device but I will agree with the test...browser freeze is consistent. Not a good thing but I know a fix will come out so I'm not worried. Awesome tablet in my opinion and I am very satisfied with my purchase.

This is my problem. I wanted a Xoom, and I've tried it out, testing a few websites on both 3G and wifi, in VZW stores, and in Best Buy, and I found the original Ipad renders webpages better imo, and has a brighter screen, with darker blacks and whiter whites. One thing that really disturbed me is that on various webpages that had embedded non-flash video, it played fine on the Ipad, but the video didn't show up at all on the Xoom. Here's one example:

If you go to the above website on a regular computer, you will notice about 4 different videos, and they play. If you go to the original Ipad, and go to the same page, the videos display and work fine. However, if you go to the Motorola Xoom, and go to that page, there is just a big white blank page space where the video should be. And this is the case whether you are in the mobile version or desktop version of the webpage.

And that's another irritating thing. Why does the Xoom show so many websites in Mobile version by default?

The problem you're describing might have something to do with the fact that the Xoom doesn't have Flash yet. Any site that uses Flash video with HTML5 fallback SHOULD detect that the Xoom doesn't have Flash and render the HTML5 version instead. Maybe the Xoom has some funky nonfunctional version of Flash installed, so these sights think it's available when it really isn't.

Can't think of any other reason it would be doing this.


I hear what you are saying, but the Ipad doesn't have flash, nor does it have any plans of getting flash, yet, it worked flawlessly on there.

I was a bit disappointed when I tried it too.
I'm not sure if the widescreen approach is right for feels weird to use in portrait mode. It also seems thicker than the iPad (not the iPad2).

Older apps don't all seem to work on it (little stuff like touch/drag doesn't work, icons appear all over the place, the apps don't resize automatically or even display in a little phone sized window)...almost like Google wants you to develop/buy new versions of apps for Honeycomb :-P

What in the world is triggering the antispam filter in this message? :-P

Unless you can't/couldn't wait, there doesn't seem to be any reason to get this tablet over the Asus Transformer, which has nearly all the same specs, PLUS can use a keyboard dock that also acts as an extended battery, and only costs $399. The only thing the Xoom has over it is a 0.8 more megapixels for the FFC and a completely stock OS supported by Google. Honestly, I don't know why no one ever mentions the Transformer (or any of Asus's tablets, really) when talking about Honeycomb tablets.

Like most Android fans I want to love this device, but it was clearly rushed out the door and is WAAAAY overpriced.

I'm getting the impression that Motorola is a pretty sketchy company. They seem to have a habit of doing this kind of thing, making poor design decisions, and leaving past purchasers in the lurch. I don't really trust them after watching their overall foray into Android devices. I got a pair of their stereo bluetooth headphones recently and, while the sound is just okay, there are many completely nonsensical and frustrating design and software issues. They don't seem to have very good design or QA teams.

I was gungho on the Xoom...but then the reviews trickled in, and then I got hands on, and then I realized it doesn't have the apps I want (and probably never will), and then...the iPad 2 was announced. I love Android, and I love the sync functionality with my Gmail and all other things Google...but the lack of apps (and lack of those apps I want ever coming to Android, such as SketchyPad and iMockUps) just killed it for me. I wasn't bothered by the price at all...but damn, the iPad 2 sold me by offering just the right bump in specs for my taste with all the apps I need for my work as a web designer. If Android ever catches up in the apps department (something that probably won't happen where I need it to because my industry is Apple dominate), I will hop on board with the tablets...until then, my Droid X is great :)

Does Honeycomb or its browser support full use of Gdocs? I'd like to be able to use its full editing ability as though I'm working on it from my laptop's browser. And I've tried just about every android office app and find them all lacking.

"were using a preproduction device"

I would say this is one person's opinion but CONSISTENTLY I'm finding almost all review, not done by fansities, to have this exact same conclusion in some from or another. Google and Moto rushed this thing to market and its half baked. I am within 2 weeks of getting a Verizon Xoom. I'm now 60% certain that purchase is on hold. One or two reviews of this nature are one thing. When I'm consistently seeing this across most reviews it becomes, sadly, and painfully obvious that at least the software needs another 3 months to bake. I'm 100% certain the hardware is fine. But the OS is another matter altogether. :\

The one catch, the only catch in all of this is I was there. I was there for when the G1 was released. I've pent hours playing with the Xoom at Best Buy and can say overall the software is worlds better then what Android 1.0 was. And while 3.0 is far from a 1.0 release, the fact that I'm reading about freezeups and hangs on the Xoom. Even on my G1 when I first got it it wasn't doing that.

Just my .02..

But I've been really happy with my Xoom. (Disclaimer: I got it $599.00 off contract).

I have not had any freeze up problems and find that it does just about everything I need. In fact, I have not had a need to open my laptop since the Xoom arrived in the mail.

I knew when I purchased the Xoom that I was buying bleeding edge software/hardware. Anyone who follows Android knows that the SDK for honeycomb came out like 8 days before the Xoom. So I had no expectation that every app I used on my mature phone OS would be available. But I've been shocked at the speed in which devs are adapting to the new OS.

That being said, one of the REASONS I got the device is because it's bleeding edge. I enjoy the Android community and want to have a voice in how it develops. If I wanted a walled garden then I would get an iPhone/iPad. But I like the wild-west feel of the Android culture and enjoy watching what devs can do with both new and old devices.

Of course the device is ready, but I don't care for HTML5, it could be broken in half and I still wouldn't care, and I want is MORE native APPS.

Wow, I wonder if there was this much whining about lack of apps for the iPad when it first came out. Nah, Jobs has trained his minions to expect no more than he tells them to.

I sure know there was lots of criticism from i-fanatics about lack of apps on Android when the OG Droid came out. Back then, a tad over a year ago, there were only 12,000 Android apps. Now there are over 150,000 apps. The Android tablet app market is set to explode. You'd be a fool not to know that.

Yes, there are over 150,000 apps...but how many of those are actually good, quality applications? Even some of the ones that are iOS rips are lacking. The bottom line is, Android doesn't come close to the quantity or quality of many of the iOS apps out there. Android is starting to collect, but it's got a long ways to go before it matches the level that iOS has established, and in some ways it will never catch up (simply because some developers don't care about Android). I feel if Google wants Android to have a mass appeal on the level of iOS, they need to work with manufacturers to advertise the OS properly. It seems like most Android devices don't advertise Android, or they don't advertise anything significant *cough*Droid*cough**Xoom*cough*.