Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

Summary: The tablet wars are in full swing - with Xoom's release today, the iPad 2 details coming next week and even the arrival of Playbook and TouchPad now in the mix. How big of a role will 4G make in the decision making process.


The geek grenades are flying as the Big Battle of the Tablet PC wars kicks into high gear. And smart shoppers will lay low until the dust has settled - definitely after March 2 and probably even longer.

The Motorola Xoom, the highly anticipated Google Android 3 tablet that's considered to be the first real contender to the iPad, is being released today. But don't expect any long lines outside Verizon stores for it. Now that Apple has issued invitations for a news event next week, the buzz is that details of the iPad 2 will be out sooner, rather than later.

The early reviews of the Xoom have been pretty upbeat, meaning that Google and Motorola may have come up with a true technological winner, even if the iPad 2 steals the spotlight and critics focus on the price tag - $600 with a two-year Verizon contract and $800 without contract. Reviewers, as expected, have been comparing every nook and cranny of the Xoom to the current version of the iPad. And it seems to be holding up well, even beating the current version of the iPad in some areas. It's biggest downfall: price.

In a post earlier this month, I wondered if Google's Android 3 - aka Honeycomb - had what it takes to beat Apple by being "just as good" as the iPad and decided that, if it could beat on price, then good enough was all it would take. Unfortunately, Motorola, Google and Verizon choked on pricing. And now iPad2 rumors are stealing the buzz around the actual release.

There's one last trump card for the Xoom - and that's the upgrade to 4G LTE later this year. If the device itself is "just as good" as the iPad - and even the iPad2 - but it will handle 4G speeds, then that just could be enough for some buyers to tilt toward the Xoom instead of the iPad2.

You can't underestimate the significance of 4G for some buyers - and truth be told, Apple is falling short in that race. There were major moans and groans when Apple finally announced an iPhone for Verizon and then said it would only be available on a 3G network. Apple's reasoning: users said they wanted a Verizon phone now, not tomorrow.

Bottom line: Apple's iPhone isn't ready for 4G yet - and there's been no hint that the iPad 2 will be equipped to handle 4G mobile broadband either."  The pricing issue for the Xoom is a big deal - don't get me wrong - but the 4G issue is also a big deal for Apple.

Apple still has the upper-hand here: First, because it's the incumbent with an already established track record, and second, because Apple's price tags are better looking than Xoom's.

Those in the market for a tablet PC right away are about to come across some good, old-fashioned competitive pricing options, a market where even the leader is working to hold on to its momentum while competitors try to steal it. Those who are in the market for a tablet PC later this year may find even better pricing, as well as a greater number of options, by waiting a few more months.

The grenades are still flying in this tablet war - and will be for some time.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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  • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

    Considering that the Xoom has Flash, the iPad never will, the Xoom has better hardware - the Tegra 2 is a very capable and versatile hardware platform, the Xoom already has the support of a huge Android dev network, these things give it a huge leg up over anything Apple can offer. Add in Honeycomb, 4G, and the Xoom's price point actually makes sense. Considering that the Xoom handily beats the iPads current specs, and will probably be comparable or better than the iPad 2's, I would much rather give my money to Motorola and Verizon than line Steve's pockets anymore
    • Lets see....

      @OSbender <br><br>The Xoom is actually missing Flash and can't even view its own website. Maybe a few weeks is 20 days or so. Perhaps Spring is June 19th. It is not like Adobe has been able to deliver a compelling mobile Flash experience yet. Yes, I know, if you disable Flash with on demand loading, it works great.<br><br>The Tegra 2 is OK but you are comparing it to a 10 month old platform. But given that iOS is simply faster, in general, than Android, much of the Tegra 2 advantage is negated even when compared to a 10 month old device.<br><br>The iOS developer network is actually larger than the Android network. iOS has substantially better tools. iOS actually makes money for its developers. The App Store is only 4 months older than the market place and it has 2X the number of apps. The iPad alone has nearly 1/2 the Apps of Android's Market Place. <b>So how is Android's weak developer network a "benefit"?</b> The SDK was released 1 day before the device? Seriously? Why was the full Honeycomb SDK not released 3-4 months ago?

      The 4G? Come on, that is a planned recall. And it will take a week. Sometime in the future.

      The better question is, why not actually wait until its key technologies like Flash, 4G and Applications are ready?
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

        @Bruizer - how is it faster? benchmarks, please.

        Also, while the OS may or may not need much RAM, the iPad having 256MB (source: is going to crimp both developers and multitasking. Heck, the iPhone can't even download app updates the moment I click on any other app to launch (iOS 4.2). (I own a 3GS with iOS4.2 and Motorola Atrix. I've used both OSes and iOS is _inferior_, particularly when it comes to multitasking. Reading up on the iPad having 256MB of RAM, it's easy to see why Apple locked down on the ability in the first place. Skimp skimp skimp.)

        As for "actually makes money", you might want to read this article:
      • iFad 2 So Magical and Revolutionary it's TWICE as ABSORBENT!

        @Bruizer Dual Core Protection against those monthly cycles that affect all you iCrAppleholics. Where you all end up BLEEDING 6 COLORS for CrApple's Magical and Revolutionary Greed and iNazi control scheme!

        Xoom on Android 3.0 has already kicked iFad 2 to the toilet to be flushed, not having near the features and for sure you'll be able to for the first time actually upload to iReport and FLASH.... baby, like you'll never see except on your (shipped cracked screen non bootable) i7 iMacs and other assorted over priced CrAppleware. lol.... EAT YOUR HEARTS all you bleeding iCrAppleholics with your iFads and iFad 2's! haha.....

        btw.... FLASH use Dominates New Website Creation Tools in conjunction with HTML5. Where does that leave all you CrAppleholic losers? the back alley waiting for your Quicktime (not so quick) to load videos and apps you can't see using it!!! lol.... iTunes? .....right.... lol... worst SECURITY DISASTER in History Waiting to Happen.... and when it does it'll burst like a bleeding 6 colors stuffed pig BALLOON!!! haha... I guess it's good you have enough iPads and iPad 2's to go around to soak it all in the second time around!!! :D
      • @HypnoToad72

        The iPad is 10 months old. Do you think the next one, to be announced in a week, will still have 256 MB? Come on dude.

        The iPhone 3G S (one of my test beds), for example, has no issue updating apps while another app is running even in its 256 MB of RAM. It does depend on the app though. You should try it, it works. Yes, I have used Android quiet a bit and it is a far cry from the usability iOS offers. It is slow, jerky and has a buggy WiFi stack. Point of reference is Droid X and Droid Incredible. I still remember being asked to shut down apps to answer the phone. That was on 1.5 and has long been fixed.

        If developing for iOS is a fools errand (I know about WM Power and find it mostly laughable) what is developing for Android? Down right stupid? Suicidal? Crazy? Android Apps represent 5% of the monetization of iOS apps.

        The average iOS app makes over $5000/year. The average Android app? Less than $500/year.
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

        @Bruizer You can actually download Flash from the market right now. It blows for video since its not optimized for the hardware (Adobe certification is a fricken nightmare that is plaguing many a Android tablet), but it works perfectly fine for flash websites and what-not. Even my underpowered Archos 101 can run some video and all flash websites with the one in the market.
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?


        Whether or not you believe that Android 3.0 has or will have Flash support when it is released, the fact is that it will have it and very soon. Regardless what anyone at Apple tries to say, the lack of Flash support is a gaping hole in any platform that is serious about providing a full browser experience.

        You are in complete denial if you believe that 4G on a tablet, or any mobile device, is a minor advantage. 4G as is it delivered by Verizon is a revolutionary advance forward that will allow the delivery of apps and services to mobile devices that have been previously unavailable.

        But, the biggest advantage for Xoom, and all Android devices, is that Android is an open source OS, whereas iOS is controlled with monomaniacal zealotry. Android will continue to take more and more market share from Apple because it has become the standard OS for most smartphone manufacturers. Eventually, Android will have a similar marketshare in smartphones as Windows has in desktop PCs and Apple will have squandered their lead in the pursuit of total and absolute control.
      • Epic Flash FAIL pic of the day

        Classic. The Xoom trying to display it's own marketing page bragging about it's Flash code.

        And no, Flash 10.1 does not work on Honeycomb. Not even poorly. Perfect example of another mobile Flash failure is BBC Mobile. iOS:100% support. Android:a bit more complicated. All because Google thought Flash is a competitive advantage. Only Android fanboys think Flash is "essential" to the browsing experience.

        Flash is on it's death bed and would be dead if Google had decided to support non-proprietary video standards.
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

        @Bruizer "The better question is, why not actually wait until its key technologies like Flash, 4G and Applications are ready? "
        And when will apple have these Key technologies (your words) ready?
      • @mart5.1

        What advertised key technologies were not present at the iPads launch?<br><br>The iPad's software was stable and did not crash.<br><br>At CES the Xoom was 4G. Now it is 3G with a future recall.<br><br>Flash was demoed at CES doing videos and crashed ever 5-10 minutes. Now we hear Flash is not ready.<br><br>

        And the micro-SD card slot that does not work?

        The product is 6 months from shipping as advertised.
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

        @Bruizer 4G is taking off, if the Xoom was on Sprint (like it should be) then it would be on 4G from day one. Not on a invisible LTE network or a fake 4G (HSPA+) network.
        Android also has a very strong developer network. iOS is not really faster than Android, and Android does alot more than iOS does. Considering it is very bare bones and does nothing other than show some boring tiles. Android has widgets and notification panels, background applications, and all kinds of cool stuff that iOS doesn't have.
        Also flash works fine on mobile. I have 0 Issues with it on my EVO 4G, and its set to enable all the time. When you are on 4G or Wifi loading flash isnt an issue.
      • What an iCrAppletarded Fool! lol...

        @Bruizer <br>Xoom will have FLASH 10.2 yah douche... in about 2 weeks! But laugh while you can fool.... you only make yourself look even more ignorant!!! ahaha..... as if that was possible! lol...

        All you iCrAppleholics should gargle some Listerine before coming in here and opening your FAT TRAPS... lol... Oh... and as far as FLASH on the Web? Go shop around for having a web site built today. FLASH for you fools ignorant minds is being developed hand in hand with HTML5.... and that's on all the Major Sites and Network Sites Time Warner, NYC Times, MSN, Fox News, and every other network on the web! ....then they just feed you guys the leftover pig slop on your iCrApple Trash Devices!!!

        Android Smartphones btw... lol.... since the 4th quarter 2010 are now #1 while CrApple's iPwned4 did just that... got OWNED losing more than 2% of the smartphone market! haha..... :D .......expect the same for CrApple's iFad iCrAppleware! ;) zzzXoooommmm right pass all you iCrAppleholics!
    • There are **no** tablet apps for this pricy plasticky thing

      @OSbender: so even iPad (1) is better for users. But iPad 2 will be at least not slower than Xoom and iOS is faster itself.
      • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

        @denisrs When the iPad came out there were 0 iPad apps. But now that its Android's turn the fanboys wanna talk shit huh?
      • Yeah like the Plasticky like the iCrApple iPhone 3GS haha..

        @denisrs Well at least it doesn't have twice the glass to break like iPhone 4 or a soda pop case that doesn't have as much recycle value as a six pack of beer! know like the iCrApple iFad!!! btw.... I bet you fools still believe iPod Nano Touch is running iOS..... lol.... meanwhile Android isn't even looking back at poor CrApple iPhone losing market share like all the rest and like iFad will be doing soon enough!!! :D
    • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

      @OSbender Agreed.

      In addition, I don't think the objective with the Xoom was to provide a low priced consumer device to make people forget about the ipad, it was to provide a fairly powerful and useful tablet device.
      Schoolboy Bob
    • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

      @OSbender The problem with wearing your ridiculous prejudices on your sleeve this way is that we can't then take anything you say seriously - as if we were going to anyway, especially considering how badly you research a subject before posting.

      First poster? Faux anarchic? zealot?

      No-one cares who you give your money to.
      Graham Ellison
  • Already less than stellar reviews

    Ron Burgundy
    • Excellent Comment!

      @Ron Burgundy

      How do you keep it so fresh?
  • RE: Can Xoom's lure of 4G get past price tag, iPad2?

    Wow, I can hardly wait for iPad two, this is gonna be good I think.