As a proper first tablet effort, as opposed to the first generation of Android OS 2.2 smartphone/tablets, it does a remarkably good job of delivering an experience that offers its own distinct tablet experience, different to that of the iPad and iPad 2, while sharing clear and obvious similarities.
Essentially, it's the iPhone vs Android Phone war taken to the next level, with Apple still leading overall and in the most consistent OS and UI design, but Google catching up quickly and delivering a credible tablet experience that's fun to use all its own - along with benefits like true multitasking, Adobe Flash compatibility and the promise of being able to add more storage space via SD card, although at launch, the SD card is not yet functioning.
As Android 3.0 is "tablet-optimised", it certainly feels it in comparison to Android OS 2.2, and delivers a very positive first impression for noticeably iPad 2-like speedy operation, thanks to a 1GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core processor that is supposed to run even faster than the iPad 2's slightly-slowed 1GHz dual-core A5 processor.
Also present are Android's customisable home screens, but naturally now with much more space on a 10.1-inch screen than your average smartphone, while a list of 'apps' is also available to scroll through.
There's also several tablet-optimised apps, such as a new version of YouTube, a more powerful Webkit browser than Apple supplies with Safari in iOS 4.3.2, other tabletised Google apps including Maps, a tablet-sized version of the Android Market and a video-calling enhanced version of Google Chat that helps to answer Apple's FaceTime challenge.
Naturally, seeing as videochat is available, there's also a camera and video camera app that use the Xoom's 2 megapixel front-facing camera and 5 megapixel camera to take what should be visually better photos and videos than the iPad 2, although a dedicated camera will still deliver better photos.
While Apple still has tens of thousands of iPad specific apps more than all the Android tablets put together, the Android Market is not bereft of applications. '¨'¨While some will only display on part of the screen, others stretch to fill the dimensions of the 10.1-inch screen, although these apps do have some of the pixellation seen when iPhone apps are expanded to almost fill the iPad's screen.
Indeed, it's a shame that the apps which aren't automatically filling the screen don't have a '2x' button to do just that - perhaps Google will make that feature available, although you'd imagine Google would prefer app makers quickly write tablet-optimised apps instead - clearly that's what Honeycomb customers would prefer!