Motorola's duo of angular new tablets has landed in the UK and we've naturally come out to see what all the fuss is about. Both variants of the Xoom 2 tout Android 3.2 as their OS, dual-core 1.2GHz processors, 16GB of internal storage, and IPS displays. The difference between them is primarily one of size: the Media Edition squeezes into a smaller 8.2-inch form factor than the 10.1-inch "standard" Xoom 2. The larger model is also compatible with an optional battery-powered, capacitive stylus. We don't have the price for it yet and it definitely doesn't work with the 8.2-inch Media Edition, but it is apparently compatible with every app the bigger sibling can run. We'll try to find out who's responsible for the stylus recognition technology — Motorola didn't have an immediate answer for us.
Extra apps preloaded on the second-generation Xooms will include Citrix, Dijit, Evernote, Fuze Meeting, GoToMeeting, QuickOffice, Skitch, Twonky, and MotoCast. The latter gives you direct IP connectivity to your computer at home, allowing you to browse and access content via the tablet. Motorola tells us that the Xoom 2 range is only starting off with Honeycomb and will be getting an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade "in due course."
Both Xooms look exceedingly thin and their 1280 x 800 IPS displays mark a huge upgrade from the original Xoom's dull and uninspiring screen. Colors are brighter and viewing angles are much improved. A neat new trick Motorola has implemented in the new hardware is called Intelligent Grip Suppression. What that means is that you can grip the tablet with your finger on the touchscreen surface, which the software is smart enough to recognize as not being an attempt at input and chooses to ignore. The result is that you can scroll, browse, and pan with your right hand as usual, while your left is also touching the screen in a grip position. It's a small and simple little tweak, but might turn out to be a legitimate usability boon.
The launch of both the Xoom 2 and its portrait-oriented Media Edition mate is set for two weeks from now all across the UK and Ireland. Prices are set at £329.99 for the smaller tablet and £379.99 for the bigger unit.