In case you missed it, last weekend Best Buy briefly had Motorola's upcoming Xoom tablet priced at $1,199.99 on its Web site, announcing it would be available for preorder on February 17. Well, as rumors suggested, that price tag was only "placeholder" pricing, and Motorola Mobility's CEO Sanjay Jha today confirmed that the 10.1-inch tablet would sell for an unsubsidized $799 at Verizon Wireless, with a Wi-Fi-only version priced at around $600.
Reuters reported that Jha, who's in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress trade show, remarked to reporters, "Competing with Apple you have to deliver premium products."
Jha also said that nearly all Motorola products will use Google's Android software this year and that he was as focused on Android as he'd ever been. Still, he hoped alternatives to Android, such as Microsoft's Windows Phone7 , would remain on the market. Additionally, Jha said the company was "looking at possibly having its own application store."
While Best Buy has removed links to the Xoom on its site, we expect them to reappear tomorrow, with a possible launch date of February 24. The initial $1,199.99 placeholder pricing seems like a major gaff, but perhaps psychologically people will think they're now getting a bargain at the new, lower price.
Even so, at $799, the Xoom, which will be the first tablet to run Google's Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system and offers impressive specs, remains a serious underdog against Apple's upcoming iPad 2, due to be announced next month. Ideally, the unsubsidized price for the Xoom would $699 or less. But at $799, it at least has a fighting chance, and perhaps a subsidized version (with a contract for data service) could be priced below $600, if not less.
As it stands, to activate the Xoom's Wi-Fi, you'll have to sign up for a month's worth of Verizon data service. However, you may be able to cancel that service shortly after activation and receive a credit back. Like with Apple's 3G iPad, you'll have the option to activate data service on a month-to-month basis.What do you think? Does the Xoom sound appealing at $799 (and perhaps closer to $600 for a future Wi-Fi-only version)?