The Android tablet will reportedly launch without support for Adobe Flash despite marketing that has touted it as a differentiator from Apple's iPad.
Best Buy has started taking pre-orders for the Motorola Xoom Android tablet. Interested buyers need to go to their local Best Buy store, where they can snag the Xoom with a 3G modem and Wi-Fi for $799.
The Wi-Fi-only model doesn't look like it will be available on February 24. In fact, according to Best Buy, users will have to subscribe to a minimum one-month 3G data plan with Verizon Wireless. Best Buy doesn't say what that data plan will cost, though it will probably fall between $15 and $30.
By making the 3G model available first, Verizon Wireless appears to be guaranteeing itself at least one month of data income from the first wave of interested buyers. There's no mention of the Wi-Fi-only model from either Verizon Wireless or Best Buy. It may go on sale days, weeks, or months after the 3G version.
You may be too late, however, if you want to get the Motorola Xoom from Best Buy on the 24th. According to the Best Buy Web site, the Xoom is already backordered. I spoke with my local Best Buy store this morning, and it confirmed that it has sold through the initial stock expected to be available for sale on the 24th. It wouldn't speculate if it would have any Xoom's in stock past that initial shipment.
Verizon Wireless' Web site does not provide any information on how much stock of the Xoom will be available on launch day.
Verizon Wireless' Web site does, however, mention a disappointing bit information regarding the Xoom's support for Adobe Flash. According to the Xoom information page, the Xoom will not include Adobe's Flash at launch. The Web site cryptically mentions that Flash will be available in "Spring 2011."
There could be a few reasons for this. First, Flash Player Mobile 10.1 may not be 100% compatible with Android 3.0 Honeycomb, and Adobe or Motorola needs more time to polish it up. The second, and more likely, reason is that Motorola is waiting for Flash Player Mobile 10.2, instead. Flash 10.2 was announced in mid-February, and Adobe pointed out that 10.2 will include support for Android 3.0 Honeycomb devices as well as RIM's forthcoming PlayBook tablet.
The problem is that Adobe was notoriously slow to deliver Flash Player Mobile 10.1 in 2010. By stating that Flash will come to the Xoom during "Spring 2011" gives Adobe and Motorola until late June -- four months after launch -- to add Flash support to the Xoom.
For what it's worth, both companies have marketed the Xoom's ability to play Flash content as one of its advantages over the Apple iPad. Making early adopters wait up to four months to receive that feature doesn't quite sit right with me.
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