UPDATE: It seems that the Best Buy pre-order page for the Motorola Xoom is gone now. Whether this is because the $1,199 price tag was incorrect or the retailer accidentally pulled the trigger a little early — or both — remains to be seen.
The Motorola Xoom tablet, introduced at Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, competes with Apple’s iPad and then some. Front- and rear-facing cameras (with 720p HD recording), 1GB of memory, USB and HDMI ports, Flash support a 1280×800 display and a fancy, new NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU. All wrapped up in an Android operating system, the first of the tablet-centered version 3.0. Powerful stuff, and a definite upgrade over the iPad. Prepare to pay for it too. Best Buy’s pre-order page is now live, and the Xoom price is listed at $1,199.
The most expensive of the iPads tops out at $829. It isn’t quite as powerful, though the 64GB of storage space beats out the Xoom’s 32GB. There are no cameras, one-quarter of the Motorola tablet’s RAM and a slightly smaller, lower resolution screen. Plus, you’re locked into Apple’s restrictive iOS unless you’re willing to brave a jailbreak.
The question isn’t just whether the hardware fits the price. It’s also time to start thinking about the possibility that this is a sign of things to come on future tablet releases, including the iPad. Many of the features packed into the Xoom are “dream” features for the next generation of Apple’s tablets. Those bits and pieces will surely come at a cost. There’s always the possibility that the number listed on the Best Buy page is a coding error. Previous reports, coincidentally enough from a purported Best Buy employee, pegged the price at $699-$799. We’ll know for sure soon enough, as the Xoom is in stores on February 24.
Update 1/13/2011 – Best Buy has removed the pre-order page for the Xoom.
Update 1/13/2011 – Thanks to Maxwell Evans for sending us another link to the Xoom pre-order page which is still active.