news Motorola has announced that the Wi-Fi version of its Xoom tablet is now on on sale in Australia for a recommended retail price of $399, translating to a saving of 39 percent in the build up to the Christmas season.
The current offer means that Motorola has raised the stakes in the Android-based tablet price war in the market led by Apple’s iPad. This follows Telstra’s promotions of the Xoom in June and July this year and substantial price cuts by both Telstra and JB Hi-Fi last month.
When the Xoom launched in Australia in May as likely the most hyped alternative to Apple’s dominant iPad tablet, Telstra was charging $840 outright for the device, with its version shipping with a 3G connection. The device could also be picked up on $29, $49 or $79 monthly capped plans, with an additional tablet repayment cost of $25 for the lower plans or $15 for the $79 plan. JB Hi-Fi launched a Wi-Fi-only version of the Xoom in July for a recommended retail price of $689, a price which placed the device closer to Apple’s iPad and other tablet competitors.
However, just a few months down the track, both Telstra and JB Hi-Fi had already substantially discounted the device. Telstra’s website listed the 3G version for $648 outright. Customers who choose the Xoom on a monthly repayment plan have also had the charges slashed.
JB Hi-Fi had also cut its Xoom prices slightly, with its site recently listing a 3G version of the tablet for $644 — cheaper than Telstra — and $568 for a Wi-Fi-only version of the tablet. The cuts had already made the Xoom one of the cheapest tablets on the market. The Wi-Fi version of the tablet will now be on sale for even less — $399 — at JB Hi-Fi, Costco and Harvey Norman.
The Xoom Wi-Fi features front-facing and rear-facing cameras, a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, multi-tasking functionality on a 10.1 inch widescreen HD display. The XOOM was one of the initial devices to run the Android 3.0 software and can be upgraded to Android 3.2 through a free download. A wide range of ‘smart docks’ on the XOOM support many more functions such as connecting via HDMI to an HD television to browse the internet or watch movies.
As Android tablet stock continues to fail to sell, expect further cuts along these lines as we head to Christmas and the new year. All of the Android tablet makers are no doubt learning to their chagrin right now how futile it is to put half-baked products out into the market against a new category-defining device polished for several years by Apple, and now in its second generation. HTC’s recent comments that it wants to do something different in the tablet space are looking increasingly prescient.
Image credit: Motorola. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay