Following the European launch of the Xoom 2 earlier this month with no real details on a US launch, the first details on the US version have surfaced along with future branding changes. Â Continue reading for all of the details and analysis.
The Motorola Xoom 2 will undergo a change in branding and identity to distance it from the Xoom branding used on the first generation of tablets in the US, with Verizon filing the trademark for the XYBoard brand in the last month. Following recent trends set by Samsung to differentiate different versions of the same tablet family by display size, the first two tablets will be known as the Motorola XYBoard 8.2 and XYBoard 10.1 with prominent Verizon Wireless branding.
As far as specifications are concerned, the first model in the XYBoard series in the 8.2 will feature a 1.2GHz dual-coreÂ processor running Android Honeycomb with the inclusion of an LTE radio, fixing the most glaring issue present in the first Xoom model, namely the lack of a built-in LTE radio and needing to undertake a shipping program in order to have Xoom 4G tablets fitted with LTE modules, a process fraught with delays and numerous other issues.
With Verizon and Motorola undertaking another major push to promote LTE Android tablets, the Motorola XYBoard series looks to rectify the mistakes made with the first version in terms of hardware design Â and software. However, it remains to be seen whether the XYBoard series will be enough to spur sales and lure customers away from the increasing spate of similar Android tablets.
With the branding change being front and center, it also signals Verizon and Motorola’s desire to move away from the Xoom brand, damaged by lower than expected sales and poor perception thanks to the high cost of the original tablet and the botched release plan of the 4G LTE version.
With Motorola and Verizon working together again on the new tablet line, time will tell whether attempt number 2 will signal success for both companies or if it will languish in the wake of the iPad 2, which is considerably more popular than any current Android tablet, both in terms of marketshare and usage metrics.
As Verizon also sells the iPad, one also questions why they would spend more time and money on developing more Android tablets, as the current sales numbers reflect that the money spent on developing such devices isn’t reflected in increased sales or profit unless one takes into account purchases made by the minority Android hacking community.
The Android mod and developer community is the perfect audience for such tablets as the XYBoard based on hardware potential alone, but are Verizon and Motorola targeting the same general consumers that were driven away by the first Xoom series, or are they conceding that market to Apple and focusing on enterprise and enthusiast customers? If the former, then expect more of the same lack of visibility and lack of sales volume that effectively killed the first Xoom in the US.
However, if they are deliberately going after the corporate customer and the enthusiast, this new series may effectively revive Verizon and Motorola’s attempts to sell Android tablets to the masses, by focusing on the ones that would care about the product to begin with.