Sprint said it will begin selling the WiFi version of the Motorola Xoom May 8 for $599, becoming the second U.S. carrier after Verizon Wireless to offer the beleaguered Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” tablet.
Verizon began selling the WiFi + 3G version of the Xoom Feb. 24 for $599 with a two-year contract, or $799 without a contract. Motorola Mobility launched the WiFi-only version of the 10.1-inch tablet March 27 for $599.
Originally prophesied as a legitimate challenger to Apple’s iPad, the Xoom shipped only 250,000 units in the last two months, compared with Apple’s sales of almost 4.7 million iPads in the first quarter alone.
Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha pointed to the Xoom and Atrix 4G as highlights for the company’s first quarter, but as far as the iPad goes, few will argue the Xoom or any other tablet have proven to be a true contender.
While Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry criticized the tablet and Honeycomb OS as buggy and estimated customers only bought 25,000 to 125,000 units, Verizon told eWEEK it was “very pleased” with its Xoom sales.
Now Sprint will test the market in less than two weeks with its own Xoom WiFi offering.
As eWEEK noted, the Xoom is great for switching from one application to the next. The 1GHz dual-core processor rendered applications rapidly over 3G and WiFi. Honeycomb’s widgets, Web browsing, notifications and customization are enjoyable.
The device also sports a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera with flash that can capture high-definition video and a front-facing 2MP camera for Google Talk with video chat.
Sprint will market the Xoom WiFi in Sprint Stores, online and over the phone. Interestingly, Sprint is also selling another major Android product, the Samsung Nexus S 4G Android 2.3 “Gingerbread” smartphone on May 8 as well.