updated 09:15 am EST, Thu February 17, 2011
Motorola CEO says Xoom worth 800
Motorola along with confirming its Xoom launch plans has defended the $800 price and said which carriers and companies would pick it up. CEO Sanjay Jha noted that the Xoom's 4G was built into hardware and that the software upgrade was 'free.' Having the LTE access, which could reach up to 50Mbps on the Xoom, meant it was "at least competitive and in a number of ways better" than Apple's iPad, he said.
The tablet will initially launch with 3G on Verizon, potentially by the end of this month, and is expected to get its 4G upgrade in spring. A Wi-Fi version will be much less expensive and is being targeted at the 32GB iPad's $600 price target.
Jha didn't address that the iPad currently has 16GB versions that cost about $100 less than their 32GB equivalents. If the price carried over, it could lead to a 3G-aware iPad costing as much as $170 less to start and the Wi-Fi edition at $100 lower.
He did raise a number of reasons for pause. Samsung's possible real-world sales rate for the Galaxy Tab was "concerning," he said, with pricing being a factor. Samsung denied any problems and said the return rate was less than two percent in the US, the iPad's home territory.
Jha surprised with comments that he wasn't completely loyal to Android. While the Nokia Windows Phone 7 deal was going to help Android by steering fence-sitting companies to Android, he regretted that Motorola was linked so closely to Android that its success rode on Google's strategy. He wanted Motorola to have full control over an OS, but he didn't have the scale of Apple or RIM to do so.
The European launch is now known to have a limited scale release in Europe. Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse will have the 3G, HSPA-based version in the UK, and will be joined by Currys and PC World in having the Wi-Fi only edition. T-Mobile should carry the 3G Xoom in "selected markets" that will likely include at least Germany.
Motorola will have the Xoom available worldwide in the spring and is counting on the Android 3.0 tablet as an ambassador to Europe and other regions where the US-centric company has usually gone unrecognized.