Motorola Xoom vs. Apple iPad 2: 10 Reasons to Pick Xoom

News Analysis: Apple's iPad 2 is coming out in just days. But when you compare them head-to-head, perhaps the Motorola Xoom, which is already available, is the average customer's best tablet choice.

Apple's iPad 2, which was announced in a special event March 2, is expected to hit store shelves March 11. When it does, customers will have the unenviable task of choosing either Apple's latest tablet or the many other tablets from competing manufacturers that are vying for their hard-earned cash. Although last year, the decision to choose the iPad was an easy one, in 2011, it's not as easy as one thinks.

That's especially true if customers decide to opt for either the iPad 2 or the Motorola Xoom. The former is likely the front runner, given its predecessor's success, but the Xoom is also a fine option. It delivers a number of solid features that consumers would be quite happy with. Even better, it does so at a price that's quite competitive.

But for those still on the fence, let's just make it easy: opt for the Motorola Xoom.

Yes,the iPad 2 looks like a nice device on paper, but that doesn't necessarily mean it can live up the appeal of the Xoom. The average consumer could do worse than to pick up Motorola's tablet over Apple's.

Read on to find out why:

1. The slightly larger display

It might be a few factions of an inch difference, but it's important for consumers to consider that the Motorola Xoom has a slightly larger display than Apple's iPad. The Xoom features a 10.1-inch screen, while the iPad comes with a 9.7-inch display. On paper, that might not seem like much. But when one holds the devices in their hands and compares them, it's quite noticeable. The extra screen real estate comes in handy when viewing video or surfing the Web. Keep that in mind.

2. Upgrade to 4G

Motorola's Xoom currently only offers customers the ability to connect to Verizon's 3G network when they're away from home. However, Motorola Mobility has said that it will offer a free upgrade to 4G in the coming months. After that upgrade is in place, customers will be able to connect to Verizon's ultra-high-speed network. Apple iPad 2 owners, on the other hand, won't have that luxury. While Xoom owners will be surfing the Web at ultra-high speed, iPad 2 customers will be stuck on 3G.

3. Android 3.0 Honeycomb is promising

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs showed off the iPad 2 March 2, he said that the platform would come with iOS 4.3, an updated version of the mobile-operating system Apple launched last year. The Xoom, on the other hand, ships with Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb. That platform, which was unveiled this year, comes with a number of important upgrades, including a reworked design, much better browsing, improved multitasking, and several other features. Those who have gotten their hands on the platform say it's a sizable upgrade over Android 2.2. Due to Google's desire to make the operating system more desktop-like in its functionality, iOS 4.3 might look rather obsolete next to it.

4. Don't believe the apps hype

Apple was quick to point out at its March 2 event that it has 65,000 iPad applications available to customers. The company said that the Android Market currently has about 100 applications available to tablet owners. However, Apple failed to point out that more and more developers are moving to Android to bring their applications to tablets. Over time, the discrepancy in mobile applications won't be nearly as great as Apple would like users to believe. It's a problem now, but it won't be a major issue by the end of the year.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...