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Motorola Xoom: to buy or not to buy?

JR Raphael | Feb. 23, 2011
To buy or not to buy? That's the question right now as the Motorola Xoom, Google's first Android Honeycomb tablet, gets ready to make its grand debut.

FRAMINGHAM, 23 FEBRUARY 2011 - To buy or not to buy? That's the question right now as the Motorola Xoom, Google's (GOOG) first Android Honeycomb tablet, gets ready to make its grand debut.

The Xoom will launch this Thursday, February 24, Verizon (VZ) and Motorola (MOT) have officially confirmed. The 3G/4G tablet will be available for $800 at Best Buy (BBY) and Verizon Wireless stores. You can also get the gadget for $600 through Verizon, if you're willing to sign a two-year contract for mobile data service (plans start at $20 a month).

The one thing missing from the equation: the Wi-Fi-only edition of the Xoom, which Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha has said will cost about $600 off-contract. What Jha hasn't said is when the Wi-Fi-only Xoom will launch in the U.S.; at the moment, we really just don't know.

All put together, then -- and considering the wave of Android tablets expected to launch later this year -- is it wise to buy the Xoom now? Or would you be better off taking a wait-and-see approach?

Here are some things to consider if you're still on the fence.

Motorola Xoom: If you're champing at the bit for a Honeycomb tablet...

...get the Xoom. As Google's inaugural Honeycomb tablet -- and the device the Android team actually used to develop the Honeycomb software -- the Xoom has a huge advantage in the timing department. Other Honeycomb tablets are still undergoing testing and development, with release dates limited to fairly vague terms; LG's T-Mobile G-Slate, for example, is "expected to be available this spring" (some rumors have pointed to late March, but that date has not been confirmed). The recently announced Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 also has no firm release date so far.

If you're excited about Honeycomb and want to get your hands on a high-quality Android tablet ASAP, the Xoom is the way to go.

Motorola Xoom: If pricing is a big concern...

...hold off. The Wi-Fi-only Xoom will be here sooner or later, and you'll be able to get it for $200 less than the current contract-free model. Verizon is also adding an annoying data-activation requirement onto the 3G/4G Xoom -- if you want to buy one, you'll have to activate data for at least one month, after which point you can cancel it -- so you'll end up saving $20 for that month plus $35 for the carrier's data activation fee if you sit tight till the Wi-Fi-only edition arrives.

 

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