The iPad 2 is About to Eat the Xoom’s Lunch

The Motorola Xoom is officially available today, but the iPad 2 launch event news is going to put a serious damper on the Xoom’s early sales. While the Xoom is the first ‘real’ Android competitor we’ve seen go up against the iPad, it has a whole new battle on its hands.

The Motorola Xoom is arguably a better tablet than the iPad. Even some iPad fanboys like Robert Scoble (video above) are loving what the Xoom has to offer. It offers a better multi-tasking experience and Google’s apps built for Android offer a lot more features.

Taking a look at the technical specs, the Xoom spanks the original iPad. There are dual cameras, a faster processor, better graphics performance and you don’t have to sync it with a Mac or PC. But the Xoom isn’t a device that has to compete with the original iPad, it has to compete with the iPad 2. The iPad 2 will most likely get faster components and a pair of cameras.

Those who do go out and buy a Xoom today will run into one big issue that iPad 2 buyers won’t. As of today there’s simply no third party apps for the Xoom. Instead, they’ll have to utilizes apps built for Android smartphones. When the iPad 2 is announced next week, Apple will most certainly show several hot new apps on the new hardware.

The Motorola Xoom is priced at $599 with a two-year contract or $799 contract free. The two year contract adds up to $1,200. Add in tax and surcharges and you’ll have a total cost of ownership of about $2,000.

The Apple iPad starts at $499, though you currently have to pony up $629 for an entry-level 3G version. We would not be surprised if Apple played a trump card by introducing a WiFi-only version of the iPad 2 for $399 or less.

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The 3G version of the iPad isn’t subsidized, which means there’s no contract. AT&T subscribers can opt in and out of the $15 or $25 per month 3G charges on a month-by-month basis. That’s obviously much less intimidating than a tablet with a two-year contract and  we don’t expect that to change with the iPad 2.

Scoble summarizes his review by saying that the Xoom is the way to go if you’re a Google freak, otherwise the iPads the way to go if you’re a normal person that wants apps. There are several times more normal people out there that are going wait for the iPad 2 than rush off and buy the Xoom on day one.

Even if the iPad 2 doesn’t live up to all the hype, the news of next week’s Apple event and the flood of coverage it will generate is going to overshadow the Xoom to a point where only geeks are going to give it the time of day. That’s a truly unfortunate way for Google, Verizon and Motorola to launch the world’s first tablet running a version of Android designed for tablets.

I’m in the geeks camp and will probably pick up a Motorola Xoom today, just to give it a shot. I’m almost certainly going to pick up an iPad 2 or two whenever they go on sale as well.

  

Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    pretty clear from intitial reviews that Honeycomb is still really in beta phase. Google is notorious for releasing unfinished products. so right now the Xoom is definitely just for geeks, fanboys, and early adopters with money to burn (like Xavier). no doubt it will get polished and work better, with a good number of new Honeycomb apps, later this year.

    but of course the very polished iPad 2 with its filled-out feature set will run away with the consumer market in the meantime.

    for the long term, the real issue will be how much regular consumers like the more PC-like UI of Android tablets. i suspect those who are replacing a heavily-used laptop with a tablet might like it, whereas those looking for something much simpler than that will prefer iOS. that second group is definitely larger in number.

    interesting to see today, btw, how Apple is trying to make its dekstop OS X Lion UI work much more like iOS does. i think they are on to something …

    • Linerich says

      Xoom is geek’s toy. I want one if I have extra money. You pointed out one big failure of Xoom made is “more PC-like UI”. This will kill Honeycomb future in Tablet war. Decade ago, when Apple introduced the first MP3 player, iPod (wheel menu select with gray LCD), every competitor laughed on it… but now… iPod dominate the MP3 player market. Key: Think out of Box!!

  2. Booshnig123 says

    I think that the xoom is worth the extra $70 because unlike the iPad, the xoom has 2 cameras, dual core processor, looks better, android, flash later, and 4G

  3. Snackberry says

    iPad 2 will more than likely be a bigger hit with the consumer market, because that’s been Apple’s MO for right around a decade. People will continue to ignore Apple’s strategy to deliberately underwhelm on features that are competitive in the market and gradually improve on them with annual hardware and software updates. Nobody has figured out how to counter Apple’s brilliant marketing and insanely fluid UI. Everything about Apple products screams clean, neat and expensive and that in and of itself will always give them the upper hand against Google.

  4. Snackberry says

    iPad 2 will more than likely be a bigger hit with the consumer market, because that’s been Apple’s MO for right around a decade. People will continue to ignore Apple’s strategy to deliberately underwhelm on features that are competitive in the market and gradually improve on them with annual hardware and software updates. Nobody has figured out how to counter Apple’s brilliant marketing and insanely fluid UI. Everything about Apple products screams clean, neat and expensive and that in and of itself will always give them the upper hand against Google.

  5. Bjornv says

    ipad 2 and 3 will sell in the millions but there are signs that the tablet market is going to mimic the smartphone market, except it might take even less time for Honeycomb tablets to take the lead. There are several reasons why, one is that Honeycomb is a tablet OS while iOS is a smartphone OS that does not really fit well on tablets, is ugly as hell on a larger screen. The Enterprise market is going to focus on Honeycomb, more flexibility, software/developers can actually develop custom apps and sell directly to companies which is not possible with iOS. Yes companies can developer their own iOS apps but cannot sell them except by using the app store which makes no sense in the enterprise space. I hope Jobs stays greedy and stubborn so that the open framework.

  6. Brucewilsonpa says

    All this emphasis on apps seems to be overstated — afterall the original ipad came to market in the midst of much criticism over the “lack of ipad apps”. But more importantly in my mind — how many apps do most of us really need? I am using a brand new XOOM right now and have downloaded about 50 apps so far — most of them more out of curiosity — for the regular daily use the apps that came with it and are readily available seem fine to me. I realize that with time there will be more refined apps, more tablet-focused HD software, and of course Flash. But, it’s not the apps IMHO, it’s the image — Apple (Steve Jobs) has succeeded in creating the image of a “must have” device — I have a dozen or more friends and relatives that purchased an ipad because “everyone is buying them”, even though I doubt most of them will get that much use. Every commercial company dreams of that kind of a market — I doubt anyone at Apple expected to sell the many millions that were sold last year. So here we are a year later and there is finally some realistic competition in terms of the hardware and software, but in the long run it will be the users’ experience that determines who “wins” (if that’s even an appropriate expectation) — just like the smartphone market, the flexibility and power of the Android OS will likely grab a significant share of the tablet market….. but as someone above stated, will any product ever really catch up to the ipad?

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