Speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Jha confirmed an earlier report on the Xoom's cost. Those looking to purchase a Wi-Fi only Xoom will be able to find it for "around" $600. Adding a 3G modem from Verizon Wireless boosts the price to $799.
Jha even went so far as to admit that the pricing was at least partially based on the cost of Apple's iPad. "Competing with Apple you have to deliver premium products," Jha said.
Apple's entry-level iPad, which only packs Wi-Fi, costs $499. It has only 16GB of storage, though. You have to spend $599 to get 32GB (with Wi-Fi only). The Motorola Xoom has expandable memory, so the "around" $600 price point feels like it is in line with the price points on the iPad.
Throw 3G into the mix, and it's also about the same. The Xoom will cost $799 with a 3G modem baked inside. The iPad at 32GB with a 3G modem sells for $729 and the 64GB one sells for $829. The Xoom effectively splits those price points and lands in the middle.
Jha said nothing of subsidies from Verizon Wireless for the 3G version, which might help drop the cost a little bit. That could spell the difference Motorola needs to move this product.
Verizon Wireless could cover $100 or $200 -- bringing the sale price to consumers down to $600 or $700. That would help a lot in making the Xoom more apt to sell. (Verizon routinely subsidizes smartphones and netbooks by that much.) If the $799 price is full retail price with 3G on board and Verizon doesn't offer subsidization, the Xoom might have a tougher time selling. (Apple doesn't share statistics on which models of the iPad have sold the most.)
The Motorola Xoom is an appealing product, no doubt. It has a 10.1-inch display, which is larger than the iPad's by a smidge. It has a widescreen touch display with 1200 x 800 pixels, and is powered by dual-core 1GHz processors. It will ship with a 3G radio for wireless broadband, but can be upgraded to 4G Long Term Evolution through a hardware modem swap later this year. (Motorola said this requires a technician.)
Other hardware specs include support for 1080p HD video playback and Adobe's Flash Player. For gaming, it has a gyroscope, accelerometer, e-compass, and a barometer. The main camera shoots at 5 megapixels and can capture 720p HD video. The Xoom has a user-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats.
Motorola has high expectations for its Xoom tablet. The company is preparing to flood the market with as many as 1 million units in the first quarter of the year.
Jha did not announce when the Xoom will go on sale.