The tablet wars are heating up. Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) spilled some of the pricing beans on its anxiously anticipated Xoom. The first tablet running Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system will hit Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) stores at an unsubsidized price of $799 -- or around $600 for the Wi-Fi model.
The pricing info was divulged to Reuters by Moto executive Sanjay Jha during Barcelona's Mobile World Conference. The news confirms the snapshot that tech blog Engadget published earlier this month, pricing the 3G Xoom at $799 in a Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) circular.
It's a fair price for the tablet that is comparable in storage capacity to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL ) mid-tier iPad. Flash support, dual cameras, and HDMI connectivity are just some of the features that Motorola hopes will set its tablet apart from the similarly priced -- and well-entrenched -- iPad.
It has the spec sheet to make a big splash, but will it have enough time?
Forget the inevitability of Apple's next iPad. Samsung and LG have recently announced that they too have Honeycomb tablets on the way. All three pack pretty similar specifications, so Motorola better hope that it makes a killing early. It will be all too easy to get lost in the blur in a few months.
That, of course, is Android's folly. A smartphone, tablet, or netbook maker can flock to Android as a free open-source platform, but something similar or better is always just around the corner. This helps speed up the evolution of Android, though it also helps investors appreciate the merits of the controlled ecosystems at Apple and Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) .
Motorola Mobility will likely spend plenty on marketing over the next few weeks to build buzz for its Xoom. It better work, because rival bees are also buzzing around Google's Honeycomb.
What tablet do you think has the best chance to catch Apple's iPad? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.