Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wi-Fi-only Motorola Xoom hits stores on March 27 for $599

Wi-Fi-only Motorola Xoom hits stores on March 27 for $599: "

Motorola Xoom TabletAfter all the hoopla surrounding Apple’s iPad 2 launch has settled, Motorola announced that a Wi-Fi-only version its Android-based Xoom tablet will be available in stores on March 27.

While the lack of a 3G wireless connection may limit its appeal, the device may appeal to cost-sensitive device buyers who will primarily use the tablet at home or work and don’t want to pay an additional monthly fee for connectivity on the go

The device will be available at seven distributors: Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Staples, Walmart and select Sam’s Club locations. The device can be bought for $599 in a physical store or online.

The specs are the same as in the 3G version which launched weeks ago — dual cameras, 10.1-inch screen, Android 3.0 Honeycomb OS, 32GB of storage and so on — besides the obviously missing 3G connectivity.

Personally, the idea of Wi-Fi-only devices isn’t appealing to me. Sure, Wi-Fi is certainly available in plenty of places these days, especially in big cities, but with what is essentially a mobile device, I hate to be out of service just because there’s no Wi-Fi.

That’s not to say the demand isn’t there by any means. So far some of the major manufacturers have been offering the more expensive 3G models, and it’s a no-brainer for Motorola to bring its slick tablet to those who are willing to negotiate connectivity for affordability. Combine that with the big-time retailers that are going to carry the Wi-Fi Xoom, and Motorola is sure to shift some units.

The timing of the announcement is clever: it was certain that the iPad 2 was going to steal all the attention of tablet-minded folks around the world when it was released. After a pause, Motorola is reminding everyone about Android tablets again, even if some people are not too impressed with the OS as an iPad killer. And with recently announced Flash support and a more competitive price, the Wi-Fi-only Xoom is a serious alternative for potential tablet buyers.

This is definitely in my "to buy" list.