Motorola's Xoom WiFi could challenge the iPad 2 beginning March 27, when it will be available for $599 from Amazon.com and brick-and-mortar retailers such as Best Buy.
Motorola Mobility will begin selling its WiFi-only Motorola Xoom tablet
March 27 for $599 at Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Sam's Club, Staples and
Walmart, and online at Amazon.com.
The 32GB Xoom WiFi, which is price-equivalent
to Apple's new WiFi-only, 32GB iPad 2, will also be available to commercial IT
channels and regional retailers through a distribution agreement with Synnex
Corporation, and regional carriers through Brightpoint, Motorola said
The 10.1-inch Xoom is the first slate based on Google's Android 3.0
"Honeycomb" operating system, a tablet-tailored flavor of the
platform popularized on smartphones. Powered by a 1-GHz dual-core processor,
the Xoom offers dual cameras and user-interface perks on a 1280-by-800 HD
More important, carrying a price of $599, the Xoom WiFi should prove a solid
challenger to the iPad 2 WiFi after people were put off by Motorola's pricing
for its WiFi+3G version of Xoom.
Motorola launched the WiFi+3G Xoom Feb. 24, priced at $599 with a two-year
deal from Verizon Wireless, and $799 off contract.
High-tech analysts fretted over the notion of a tablet with a data plan that
would cost $20 a month for 1GB of data, pushing the cost of ownership for the
tablet to more than $1,000 over two years.
Some analysts and consumers saw
a better bargain in the iPad, which offers the comparable
32GB WiFi+3G version for $729.
The rhetoric ratcheted up when Apple launched its iPad 2 with dual cameras
and other features that make it competitive with the Xoom, yet at the same
price points as its first iPad line-up. The device has sold
between 500,000 and 1 million units since March 11.
The Xoom is also haunted by reports from financial analysts that some buyers
found the Xoom to be poor.
Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry said
Honeycomb is buggy, "extremely complicated and
confusing," concluding the tablet will not gain mass adoption.
The finding was interesting, if not curious. eWEEK tested
the WiFi+3G Xoom and found it speedy and high-performing,
possessing dazzling graphics and user-interface perks, such as widgets,
multitasking and notifications that surpassed the first Apple iPad.
The Xoom should get better in the multimedia consumption department March 18,
when Adobe's Flash Player 10.2 becomes available
for download on the device.
Still, for many consumers, the choice of iPad or Xoom will come down to
whether one prefers Apple products to the Android experience. People will argue
which device is superior, but in the end a lot of it comes down to religion.