Motorola Xoom Hard to Find at My Local Best Buy. Literally.

They say the single most important thing in retail is location. I found some truth to that with the tablets at my local Best Buy last week, highlighted by the abysmal placement of the Motorola Xoom, but contradicted by the in-store tablet usage I saw.

Dealing with one of several hassles last week, I hit my local Best Buy to buy (and later return) a cable modem. Greeting me as I walked in was their tablet display, part of their mobile phone area. The offerings consisted of lesser-known devices and brands, except for the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

I flipped through the Tab for a bit before wandering the phone area looking for the Motorola Xoom. However, the only other tablet I came across was a non-functioning display for the Dell Streak. I wondered if the Xoom was sold out or never in stock at this location. Regardless, I was disappointed that it wasn’t at least on display.

Past this area, at the forefront of the computer section, was the Apple subsection with two iPads on display, black and white. I didn’t bother with a hands-on, but I could tell from the two people using them that they were both functioning. I walked through to the networking area, picked up my modem and left.

Unfortunately, that modem did not fix my problem, so I returned it two days later (after getting my connection restored with a leased modem). Took only a few minutes to get a full refund, no questions asked. With time to spare, I decided to tour the notebook section, hoping to find a tablet. To my surprise, not only did I find one, but it was the one I was looking for on the previous visit – the Motorola Xoom.

Yes, for whatever reason, Best Buy determined that the Xoom belonged with their notebooks in the back, and not with the tablets on display at the front of the store. And when I say “back”, I mean at the far end of the notebook display. On top of that, it was displayed along side netbooks cheaper than the Wi-Fi only model by as much as $200. Short of putting it with the washing machines, Best Buy could not have positioned the Xoom any more poorly.

That said, I can’t entirely disagree with their decision to hide the Xoom away. Compared to the iPad and Galaxy Tab, the Xoom’s interface felt practically indecipherable. Maybe the ability to figure out its unintuitive location in the store is a test to see if you have the mindset to figure out how to use it.

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Whatever the case, the Xoom sure wasn’t getting much love at Best Buy in the back with the netbooks. On the other hand, both days I was there, the prominently placed tablet display was deserted, while the iPads were consistently in use. Location is an important factor in retail, but when it comes to tablets, it’s clearly not the most important one.

Comments

  1. Matt says

    If you have a hard time using the Xoom interface you probably shouldn’t be using sharp objects (like scissors or even butter knives) either.

      • Sumocat says

        You mean those three nearly identical rectangles? Yeah, I predict people will find the learning curve on Android 3.0 to be less steep on the 10.1″ Samsung Galaxy Tab due to its brighter, clearer icons. You’ll understand what I mean by “undecipherable” then.

  2. Empathy101 says

    That is absolutely rrediculous but it is much better tthan tthe treatment the Zoom has recieced from my local best buy in the Pentagon City mall here in Alexandria VA. The best buy has it locked away in the storage bin beneath the displayed laptops and when asked for the xoom the attitude is abundantly clear. If I did not know better I would think that the sales associates wwere comissioned based and selling the xoom would actually take comissions away from them. Once the rep reluctantly handed me the Fingerprint infested Xoom, I was not surprized to discover tthat it was not even charged and ready to be demonstrated…In my past I have experienced this before and I am beginning to see a pattern which some causes me to think there may be some level of intent involved with the behavior of retailers as far as the Motorola Xoom is concerned. Primarily because I see almost identical behavior at every other bestbuu in the Washington Area. I think Motorola may want to look closer at this

    • Empathy101 says

      I would like to invite all Motorola xoom owners and fans to make a visit to their local best buy then tell us about their experience with regards to an in query about the Xoom…possibly even taking a picture of the placement of the Xoom for posting here so we can share the experience on a visual level…

  3. Christopher says

    This is a complete failure on Motorola’s part. First they release an exceedingly expensive 4g(though not 4g ready out of the box!) And then they completely drop the ball with advertising(part if which is making arrangments with retail on in-store presentation).

    With that said.. I’m ordering one tomorrow.

  4. Bill says

    At my local Best Buy, the Zoom was out on display near the netbooks, but someone had stolen Motorola’s proprietary power adapter. The Zoom was not charged because of this.

    At another Best Buy, I the product placement was much better and the display unit was functioning. When I picked it up, a Motorola sales person emerged and gave me a very detailed briefing of the product. Not needing this introduction, I listened patiently to observe how well the rep. knew the product. He was pretty good and friendly.

  5. Jepalau says

    typical of best buy in alaska. they are always three months late on getting product in the store. get the xoom but not accessories and they hide in closet because they want to sell apple products. about 80% of the time i buy online from another company because i can get it earlier. I have found some nice sites that ship free when the order is over a certain amount. so best buy looses the sell most of the time. example—my laptop, my xoom, my camera, printer, and my all in one HP computer.

  6. uwhawkman says

    I guess you didn’t have the mindset to figure out how to use it, like you said. Ipad for you. Apple caters to high school graduated computer retards.

    • Sumocat says

      Well, you guessed wrong. Read my statement on the mindset again then compare it to the key element of the story. Hint: if I didn’t have the mindset to figure it out, this story would have a different title.

    • Sumocat says

      Well, you guessed wrong. Read my statement on the mindset again then compare it to the key element of the story. Hint: if I didn’t have the mindset to figure it out, this story would have a different title.

  7. Henry Maier says

    Having read some posts here, I think people are starting to “split hairs” about product placements and such. I loved my android phone, but being on the cheapest end of the scale, I fully appreciate what I get when paying a premium price. My Xoom is amazing. Bought it at bestbuy, had no problems and the employee behaved perfectly normal. My only real quibble is lack of video support – it seems buying a Tron digital copy is incompatible. Bummer.

    Granted, Apple has a polished product, but they’re also really good as selling stuff – which is expected for a decades old company. At my bestbuy, they have their own little section with its own “interior decorating,” something all other bb’s have, I’m sure. Google, on the other hand, is very young but is a huge player and is making everyone else sweat. I think this will play out like David vs. Goliath in the long run.

    Not sure what problems people are having with the honeycomb gui. On mine I have a gmail widget to scroll through my emails on my homescreen. A winamp widget player with album artwork. A calendar, internet bookmarks, live and scrollable twitter widget, a scrollable app store and youtube widget. It all works, all on the homescreen before opening up any app. Have you guys checked out Google Body? It’s like Google Earth, but a 3d human body. Touch a part and it’s name pops up while everything else fades in the background. It has layers for organs, skeleton, etc. Looks amazing on the xoom, would make a great tool for med students and even doctors. And it’s free.

    Anyways, at the end of the day android 2.x was built for phones, not even for 7″ screens like galaxy tab. android 3 was built for larger screens. Ask someone with a xoom, albeit hard to find, and let them try the galaxy tab. They’ll get a nice chuckle like I did. Put an iphone and ipad side-by-side, they’ll look exactly the same, because the gui is exactly the same. Both platforms are built on linux, but one’s free and the other isn’t.

    Check out some youtube vids showing the honeycomb. I’d suggest apple’s or ms’s youtube-equivalent, but just don’t know what they are…

  8. Nuzumu says

    I agree about the Xoom being entirely unintuitive. Motorola just sent me a unit to review for my website (in Japan, since they just launched here), and it was just a mess of an interface. I was just trolling around to see what other reviewers thought of it, and you hit the nail on the head.

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