Motorola's Xoom Android 3.0 tablet will reportedly cost $799 and force users to buy a data plan if they want to access WiFi. The move has potential buyers up in arms.
Consumers are protesting the $799 sticker price Verizon
Wireless and Best Buy and have allegedly affixed
to the Motorola's Xoom tablet, and industry analysts don't
Android Central said
last month the Xoom, the first computer to be based on Google's Android
3.0 operating system tailored for tablets, would cost $799 from Verizon
Wireless, sans contract.
Engadget rekindled the fire Feb. 6 when it received this
Best Buy ad, which also hawked
the tablet for $799.
Moreover, it is now known that consumers will have to buy
a 3G data plan to enable WiFi on the Xoom, another move that could push
consumers to Apple's iPad, which offers WiFi-only and WiFi+3G models. The entry
level WiFi model costs $499, while the most expensive iPad costs $829 for
A Verizon Wireless spokesperson declined to comment on
pricing for the carrier's Xoom
when asked by eWEEK Feb. 7. Even so, the gadget blog rumors have consumers
One reader commented to eWEEK Feb. 7: "Ridiculous
that you have to buy a data plan to enable WiFi though. Read the fine
Another wrote: "The Xoom looks promising, but I
don't need/want 3G/4G. I'm not about to pay a premium when I can get the iPad
for less. Make it the same as the WiFi-only iPad and I'll buy it."
Yet another reader wrote: At $800, its DOA. Why would the
masses want to pay significantly more for this device over the iPad1 (and the
iPad2 will likely have similar features, and ed cheaper). Can one even write
(as oppose to type) with this device?"
The sentiments appear clear: Consumers anxiously awaiting
the Xoom have been treated to a great wake up call, not unlike when Verizon
Wireless and AT&T launched their Samsung Galaxy Tab tablets for $599 and
$649, respectively, last year.
Analysts aren't surprised by the outrage from prospective
"This is very aggressive pricing in the face of
consumers' clear willingness to treat Apple products as the "gold
standard" and worthy of a premium, with competing products representing some
kind of compromise, which is typically reflected in pricing," Forrester
Research analyst Charles Golvin told eWEEK.
Golvin's colleague, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps,
said cost and contract flexibility remain high on the list of factors for consumers
mulling purchasing a tablet.
Epps said she polled 4,000 consumers in January 2011 and
learned people who wanted a tablet were willing to pay $260, down from the $500
on average a consumer was willing to pay in June 2010, two months after Apple
set the standard with its low-end iPad.