Since the news comes from a Best Buy sales flyer, it’s more believable than any previous rumor. It’s also disappointing, since the $800 price tag makes the Xoom horribly uncompetitive with the iPad or Android tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The Xoom was one of our favorite gadgets at the Consumer Electronics Show last month, but there’s little chance it will be able to take off now given the ludicrously high pricing. Additionally, Verizon is apparently forcing customers to buy data contracts when they pick up the tablet, which makes it even more expensive for those willing to pay the $800.
Part of the Xoom’s pricing problem stems from the fact that Motorola is only offering it with 32 gigabytes of storage and 3G capabilities (upgradable to 4G eventually). In comparison, Apple’s 32GB iPad with 3G costs $729 (without any contract required). The Xoom is technically more capable than the iPad — it sports cameras for taking photos and video conferencing, as well as a higher resolution screen — but most consumers will only see it as more expensive.
The Xoom will run Android 3.0, which means it will offer a spiffy new tablet interface and can also play some powerful 3D games.
Motorola would have been better off offering a WiFi-only unit with less storage, in addition to the flagship 32GB model, to achieve a lower price tag.
Earlier today during the Super Bowl, Motorola also unveiled its first major Xoom commercial, which takes some obvious swipes at Apple: