Xoom Has to Compete with Other Android Devices

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-02-07 Print this article Print

5. Consumers don't know if Android 3.0 is worth using

Another issue with the Motorola Xoom is that it's running an operating system that's vastly different from previous versions of Android. The device will be running Android 3.0, which will include an improved user interface, 3D effects and a better browsing experience in Chrome. But customers won't know how well that operating system will actually work until they get their hands on it. Will it be bug-free? At this point, there's no telling. And spending $800 to find out might not appeal to many people.

6. The sweet spot is $600

If Motorola really wants to see its tablet perform well in the next few months, it needs to price the Xoom at $600. At that level, Motorola could beat Apple on pricing. More importantly, it could place the Xoom comfortably between the many Android options expected to hit store shelves this year. Plus, at $600 consumers and even enterprise customers would likely be more willing to take a chance with the Xoom than they would be at $800. The financial impact might not work in Motorola's favor in the beginning at $600, but the tablet market is in its infancy and the mobile company must be thinking about its long-term strategy. A $600 Xoom would fit quite well into that strategy.

7. It gives Apple the opening with the iPad 2

By pricing the Xoom at $800, Motorola is effectively giving Apple the upper-hand that it needs to do what it wants when it wants with the iPad 2. After all, Apple can deliver many of the improvements that the Xoom offers, like dual cameras and an improved operating system, and deliver it at a reduced price than what it's currently selling its original iPad for. If the Xoom were priced more affordably, Apple wouldn't have that luxury, and the pressure it would face would be much greater.

8. Its advantages can be overcome

If Motorola decides to officially announce that it's pricing the Xoom at $800, the company will almost certainly justify the price tag by pointing to the improved operating system, the device's 10.1-inch display, the awards it received at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and much more. It will also draw comparisons to the iPad. But as noted, Apple is in the driver's seat. All it needs to do is deliver an iPad 2 with dual cameras and other improvements, and Motorola has nothing to cling to. The Xoom might be more appealing than the iPad on paper, but will it be able to overcome the improvements Apple will deliver in the iPad 2?

9. Android competitors will be more affordably priced

At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, several companies unveiled Android tablets, including Samsung, LG and Acer. In 2011, the market is expected to be flooded with tablets running Google's Android 3.0 operating system. Because of that, Motorola will find itself competing against those companies as well as Apple. The chances are some of those firms will price their devices lower than Motorola is with its $800 Xoom. If customers realize that they can run the same operating system on a competing tablet that's on sale for $600 or $700, Motorola might have trouble getting customers to choose its tablet.

10. It's a first-run

Motorola has yet to prove itself in the tablet space. The company is a powerhouse in the smartphone market, thanks to the Droid X and Droid 2, but when it comes to competing against the iPad, no one knows if Motorola can compete. That alone should be enough for Motorola to price its Xoom under $800. The company hasn't proved itself yet, and the Xoom is a first-run product. If Motorola cements itself in the tablet space as it did in the smartphone market, then it can worry about getting more for its products. But until then, it needs to do what consumers expect and sell its device at a reasonable price. 

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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