Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha satisfied three weeks of speculation when he confirmed the Motorola Xoom tablet will cost $799 unsubsidized from Verizon Wireless, with WiFi-only models costing $600 price.
Jha also suggested the price, which struck analysts and consumers as high, was influenced by Apple’s market-leading iPad.
“Competing with Apple, you have to deliver premium products,” Jha told Reuters and other reporters at Mobile World Congress Feb. 16.
The 10.1-inch Motorola Xoom will be the first tablet computer based on Google’s Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” operating system when it launches from Verizon Wireless and Best Buy later this month.
Honeycomb has been equipped with several new graphical and user-interface capabilities, including 3D rendering, to improve performance of applications such as Google Maps and games.
The hardware itself includes two cameras for video chats and a dual-core Tegra 2 1GHz processor, and the device will be upgradable to support Verizon’s 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network later.
January rumors that the tablet could cost $799 put off consumers, who perhaps delayed buying an iPad, which costs $500 for the entry-level WiFi version and as much as $829 for the WiFi+3G model.
The chatter darkened once it was revealed that consumers would have to buy a 3G data plan to enable WiFi on the Xoom.
Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin told eWEEK Verizon’s pricing was very aggressive in the face of the iPad.
IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian said there isn’t a good reason for consumers to pay $800 for a Motorola tablet, when they could pay only $29 more for a 64GB iPad with 3G, or less for other iPad models.
Jha meanwhile also confirmed that nearly all Motorola products will use Android this year, ensuring more competition for not only the original iPad and iPad 2 coming this spring, but the current iPhone 4 and iPhone 5.