At the start of the year, Motorola had a great platform to release the Xoom. Running Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), and boasting an nVidia Tegra 2 running at 1GHz, the Xoom could have sold much more respectably. It was going to be the flagship Android tablet, and it would have ensured Google's promotion of the Xoom. However, things turned out rather differently.
As ZDNet reports, Motorola released their financial results earlier this week. In those results the company admits to having only shipped 440,000 Xoom tablets. Owing to that being the number of tablets shipped there is no guarantee that 440,000 tablets were even sold. In an environment where Apple seems to be able to sell every iPad manufactured, it is difficult to immediately tell why the Xoom has had such a disappointing run.
The Xoom was heavily promoted for some features that would, theoretically, make it superior to the iPad. However, these features fell flat. Initially, the Xoom was advertised for its ability to experience the web like on a desktop computer, thanks to Flash. This was not to be the case when the Xoom released. The Flash software was not ready at the launch of the Xoom; a later update finally allowed buyers to make use of this heavily-promoted feature.
Android 3.1 also caused issues for Motorola's Xoom. It was buggy and was prone to crashing, but this was not Motorola's fault. At release the Xoom ran the stock Android ROM, so blame for this mishap has to be levelled at Google. Honeycomb meant that reviewers bashed the Xoom's performance due to poor optimization, as well as stating it was prone to crashing. Even now, typing on Google "Why is my Xoom" results in the suggested search of "Why is my Xoom so slow?", as can be seen below. Early adopters of the Xoom in particular had issues with the tablet's performance, as optimization updates were not yet available.
Another feature of the Xoom that Motorola promoted was its inclusion of a memory card reader. This meant that a MicroSD card could be slotted into the Xoom, and allow for theoretically infinite memory. It did not work out this way, when it was discovered at launch that the reader did not work. It took Motorola months to release an update to make the memory card reader in the tablet usable. The memory card reader was promoted frequently by Motorola, who intended to get 'one-up' on Apple's iPad 2, which did not include a memory card reader. At launch, the Xoom effectively did not include one either. It was only towards the end of June that the reader was fixed in an update; an update which was not released in the United States initially. Unsurprisingly, American owners of the Xoom were vocal about their issues with the tablet, prompting Motorola to tweet the following message:
“Google is refining the SD card solution for U.S.-based Motorola XOOM devices & we’ll share timing info as soon it’s available”
Finally, Verizon's advertisement of the Xoom managed to do nothing for the tablet. The advertisement campaign for the Xoom did not explain why consumers should be purchasing one of the tablets, and its main selling point was the Verizon 4G LTE network, which was coming soon. The Xoom is yet to be able to come to the 4G network due to an upgrade that is yet to happen the tablets. The upgrade is now expected in September; months after the Xoom released with the ad campaign. Samsung has already beaten the 'flagship' Android tablet to the mark, as their latest tablet supports 4G LTE.