Google Video Chat

The whole point of having a front facing camera on the Xoom is to enable two-way video chat. Given that Android is a Google production, the video conferencing platform of choice is obviously Google Video Chat. Integrated into Gmail, Google Video Chat already works on all PCs and Macs with a webcam. In Honeycomb, video chat is available via the Talk app.

Just like in the browser version of Gmail, any contacts that can send audio and/or video will have the corresponding icon next to their user name. Tap the contact then tap the action item to initiate a video chat, or hit accept on any incoming video chat requests and you’re set.

Video chat takes place full screen although you can still multitask while it’s going on (your video feed will just pause while you’re off doing other stuff, audio will still transmit and you’ll still be able to hear the other party - they just won’t be able to see you).

While you lose the ability to type to the receiving party, anything they send to you will appear over the video window like so:

Incoming messages from other parties appear in the lower right as standard notifications.

You can switch between front and rear facing cameras using a toggle on the screen:

There’s also a slider to enable live image stabilization on the transmission side. In practice it works well at light settings but at full blast it can significantly distort the transmitting video.

Functionally the only problem I had with video conferencing on the Xoom is that the volume slider is non-linear. Speaker volume was a bit too high at 100%, however at the next step below 100% it was far too quiet. Note that this is the only part of Honeycomb where the volume control works like this, it works fine everywhere else.

The chat app does let you set mic and speaker volumes independently, which is a nice addition. In testing I found that setting both to 100% was the best to use in my office.

Video chat works over both WiFi and 3G, however there’s no difference in compression level or quality between the two interfaces from what I can tell. Video quality isn’t that great but it does get the job done. The front facing camera on the Xoom isn’t very impressive and you’ll want to be lit as well as possible. The video is compressed to under 400Kbps (I measured 360Kbps transmitting and 300Kbps receiving).

Transferring Content, Music & Video Playback Old & New Apps on Honeycomb, Plus It's Crashy
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  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Wow, it loads pages three to eight times faster than the iPad? I didn't realize Tegra 2 was THAT much faster. Did you run that same page load test during the Atrix review? I must've glossed over it. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Preview rather. Reply
  • dcollins - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    It's a combination of Tegra 2 and Chrome being much faster than Safari. I would assume Chrome for Android 3.0 was optimized even more heavily than Chrome for Windows, which remains the performance leader on the desktop. Reply
  • samirsshah - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    make that your SD Card reader SDXC rather than SDHC and just like that utility of Zoom increase twofold because you can store more media. Rumor has it that Apple is going SDXC in their new MacBooks. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    SDHC should be good for most people's needs, they go up to at least 64GB no? I mean, even 32GB is a lot of music... Judging by MP3 player sales most people don't care to bring their entire collection of music with them, and if you're at home there's plenty of streaming solutions (or even if you aren't). Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    I like the intro... I also feel that at these prices tablets are a little bit too much of a luxury item for anyone that has or needs a laptop. For those of us, the tablet's still a third or fourth device (behind phone, laptop/netbook, and possibly a desktop); and at $800 I simply can't justify it. I'd rather upgrade one of my other devices. For people with just a desktop or a heavy desktop replacement laptop I imagine that tablets hold a higher appel, particularly if the don't need a portable system for work/study. Reply
  • Impulses - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Honeycomb is certainly an impressive release tho, given how quickly after Gingerbread it arrived (had obviously been in the works way earlier)... I'm excited to see where future wifi only models fall. If they sold it at $500 or under with 16gb or even 8gb and no 3g radio they'd fly off the shelves... But just like when the iPad first arrived, I think Moto is well aware they have a superior product so they can charge whatever they want for now. Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    There's a wifi only 16GB version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 on the way. Pricing for the 16GB 3G version looks to be around €699 so that could come down to €599 without the 3G radio.

    Plus it'll have Samsung's screen tech and it weighs a quarter of a pound less than the iPad.

    Sounds like a winner to me.
    Reply
  • Enormously Hatworthy - Thursday, February 24, 2011 - link

    Oh and if you have the pleasure of owning one of Samsung's newer wifi enabled TVs, you'll be able to stream live tv to your Tablet.

    Unfortunately I don't have the pleasure :(
    Reply
  • mcnabney - Saturday, February 26, 2011 - link

    And by purchasing Samsung, you can forget about getting updated to 3.1 or 3.2. Reply

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