updated 11:00 am EST, Fri December 9, 2011
Droid Xyboard cleared to sell early
Verizon followed up on the end of its LTE outage by starting sales of the Motorola Droid Xyboard. The 8.2- and 10.1-inch Android tablets are available to buy online as of Friday and should be in physical stores on Monday. Prices start at $430 for the Xyboard 8.2 with 16GB and 4G on a contract, and $530 for the similarly-equipped Xyboard 10.1.
The two tablets are major upgrades over the original Xoom, being both thinner and lighter while also having a much higher quality display. The two run on a faster 1.2GHz TI OMAP processor and ship with Android 3.2 stock, taking on some light customization from Motorola in the process. They keep the 1280x800 resolution, although the Xyboard 8.2 has upgraded speakers for its emphasis on watching video.
Both face a stiff challenge. Verizon is making the contract mandatory and risks losing buyers who don't want to pay a minimum of $30 per month for the next two years for a tablet, which in many cases is secondary. Apple has usually dominated cellular-equipped tablet sales because of its insistence that users have the option of buying the device contract-free and without having to go to the carrier to buy or set up the hardware first.