A Best Buy ad that Engadget has found just confirmed what people were worried about regarding the Motorola Xoom: it’s expensive. Very expensive. The add lists the Xoom for $800 for the device itself, which is a hefty $300 more than the iPad that it’s supposedly competing against. On top of that comes a data contract, and for those of you who think you’ll be fine with Wifi: that won’t be activated unless you get at least one month of 3G. That suggests that Verizon has subsidized the Xoom to some extent and that their minimum price would actually be higher by itself, which could mean an even higher price difference in other parts of the world where first of all you don’t have CDMA and second you can’t get away with requiring a data plan.
Supporters of the Xoom claim that the price difference Xoom/iPad is due to the difference in hardware specs, but to be fair the iPad’s hardware is a year old by now and it was $500 even back then when the hardware was new. There’s also no telling what the Xoom might be competing with from Apple in a month when the iPad 2 will probably be known to the world. The Xoom hardware is also very similar (read: identical in most respects) to other Android tablets such as the Asus tablets which are supposed to be priced as low as $400-500 and even offer more functionality with their keyboard solutions. I have a very hard time seeing how this can compete with anything at that price point, not to mention with the WiFi hassles on top. I don’t doubt that it will sell to enthusiasts, but I don’t see the mainstream consumer picking one of these up at that price. Not when you can grab an iPad (2) and an Archos 101 (10″ Android tablet) for the price of the Xoom + Wifi-unlocking data plan.