Telstra launches Motorola Xoom 2 tablet

news Hot on the heels of the Motorola Xoom, Motorola Mobility and Telstra are introducing the Xoom 2 tablet to Australia. The company claims the new slimmer and lighter version of the tablet is also faster, super-powerful, and features higher productivity, rich entertainment and customisable experiences. The Motorola Xoom 2 is available from Telstra starting this week.

Calling the previous Motorola Xoom (read Delimiter’s review here) a great achievement for Motorola, Timo Brouwer, managing director, ANZ and South Pacific, Motorola Mobility, said that the Xoom 2 meets the needs of today’s always-on generation. “Motorola XOOM 2 is the ultimate device for home, work and play, and comes packed with apps like MOTOPRINT and MotoCast, which you won’t find on any other Android-powered tablet,” Brouwer said.

Features of the Motorola Xoom 2 include Android 3.2 (upgradeable to Android 4 in the future) and a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor. It also has scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass for the 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, and a splashguard coating that helps it withstand poolside use, spilled liquids or dashes out to the car on a rainy day. The tablet’s new MotoCast app enables streaming of photos, music, videos and documents from a computer to the tablet without any media tools, apps or cords. This gives business customers easy access to files and documents on their office PC, whenever required.

Other business-ready features of the Xoom 2 include VPN support and data encryption. The tablet has MotoPrint integrated into key apps, which enables wireless printing from the tablet. With a 603g weight, that is over 100g lighter than the original Motorola Xoom, and a battery providing up to 10 hours of video playback, the Xoom 2 is more portable.

According to Andrew Volard, director, Telstra Mobile, tablets are rapidly becoming must-have companions for Australians who wish to carry games, magazines, productivity tools and video with them on the road. The Motorola Xoom 2 has a 1GB RAM, in-built 32GB storage and an additional 32GB microSD slot. It has 3G connectivity on the 850/900/1900/2100 bands with a 14.4 Mbps peak downlink rating.

Volard said that the slimmer and lighter new model makes for a good travel companion, offering a vibrant high-definition touch screen, made-for-tablet apps like Gmail and YouTube, and home screens that are easily personalised with apps, widgets and shortcuts. The tablet fits easily into a bag or satchel, and its angular corners make it easy to hold, even for prolonged periods. According to Volard, “Teamed with Australia’s largest national mobile network, Motorola XOOM 2 is the perfect tool for viewing, creating and sharing content in more places.”

The Xoom 2 can connect to users’ compatible HDTV via an included HDMI cable for them to enjoy large-screen entertainment. The device can also connect to any keyboard and mouse using inbuilt Bluetooth technology.

Telstra stores and partners are offering Motorola Xoom 2 for outright purchase for $720 RRP from February 21st onwards. This includes a monthly data allowance (ranging from 1GB to 15GB on four different plans) and payment over 24 months for eligible customers. Customers purchasing the device outright can also club it with Telstra’s Pre-Paid Data + Cap offer, allowing them to update data when required. Eligible customers can also opt for monthly device repayment plans, after MRO Bonus credit, paying between $10 and $20 per month, according to the plan. Recharge denominations available include a popular $150 recharge plan that includes 10 GB of data to use in Australia with a 365-day expiry period.

Telstra Business customers can avail of the range of Telstra Mobile Broadband Member Plans over 24 months with Xoom 2, including Shared plans; this allows them to share unused data across eligible services on the same account while in Australia.

Research published by analyst house Telsyte last week revealed that Apple sold about one million iPads in Australia in 2011, representing around 76 percent of the total local market for the new burgeoning tablet category. Because of this, and a number of other indicators, I don’t believe that Motorola will make a big impact on the Australian market with the Xoom 2.

Right now, Android tablets in general are struggling against the dominance of the iPad. It doesn’t appear as if Motorola has delivered significant new features or enhanced technical specifications in the Xoom 2 that would compel people to buy it instead of the iPad. I could be wrong – and I have been before. But I just don’t see a huge amount of interest in Android tablets in general right now, especially after the first batch proved so lacklustre.

Image credit: Motorola. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay