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2/7/2011
10:39 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Motorola Xoom $800 Price May Spell Failure

If the Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet debuts $300 above the iPad base price, it may not be able to compete with Apple or the Samsung Galaxy tab.

Then there's the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system. Based on what Google has revealed about this new, tablet-optimized version of Android, it is leaps and bounds better than Android 2.2 (which is what the Galaxy Tab runs). The new user interface looks much improved compared to older versions of Android.

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.

There are a number of factors that need to be weighed, however. Research In Motion is also preparing to debut its PlayBook before the end of the quarter. RIM, too, is looking to push about one million of its tablets before the quarter is out. Pricing and availability haven't been confirmed for the PlayBook yet. Then there's the iPad 2. Apple hasn't announced (or said when it will announce) the iPad 2, but it's coming soon. It will likely hit the market by the end of March or early April -- a year or so after its initial launch.

If Apple is smart, it will announce the iPad 2 and its pricing/availability details before the Xoom and PlayBook go on sale. With three heavy-weight tablets launching at the same time, pricing will play a key role in the success or failure of these devices. If the pricing for the devices is the same, will the PlayBook's and Xoom's new operating systems provide enough to draw away would-be iPad buyers?

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