Commentary

First Impressions Mean Everything, Someone Tell Motorola.

As stated in previous posts, it seems that Motorola is doing everything to make sure their new Xoom tablet is off to a rocky start.

With the Xoom's release a mere two days away let's take a step back and reflect upon the tablet's developments up to this point.

The new Motorola Xoom (contracts
and all)

High price point

The Xoom is set to release at a whopping $799 for the 3g model. A large price to ask for any tablet and one that Motorola believes is justified due to its specifications and it's ability to upgrade (eventually) from 3g to a 4g LTE service. As mentioned before, when compared to the high end iPad its a heck of a deal, but I still strongly believe that the majority of iPads sold were the entry model which were priced at a reasonable $499. It's just not practical to spend $800 on a tablet. That price range hinges on high end laptops and even desktops.

Discounted Xoom (with a two year contract.)

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If you plan on getting your Xoom with a data plan, then you will be pleased to know that the Xoom will sell for a modest $599 when purchased with a two year contract. While the pricing is attractive, the contract isn't, and purchasing a Xoom without one will get you back into that unattractive price point of $799. The contract is set at a monthly fee of $20 for 1GB data plan. So even at the discounted price, you will end up paying over a thousand big ones for your Xoom by the end of your contract.

Mandatory Month of Service

So say you buy your Xoom without the contract. You pay the hefty sum of $799 and are ready to begin enjoying all the Xoom's glorious features over your homes wireless connections, only to discover you can't. For some unfathomable reason the suits have deemed it necessary for you to purchase a data plan for one whole month before you can activate your tablet's wifi abilities. While the small monthly fee isn't a back breaker for those who really want a Xoom, it is a unwanted nuisance for every one else.

Ships Without Flash

The Xoom will release without flash on Thursday. Flash has been a large selling point for any tablet device, as it is a well know fact that Apple mobile devices will not support flash any time soon. This development though is not exactly Motorola's fault. The tablet as promised will support flash and allow consumers the internet in its entirety. Adobe who has yet to release flash 10.2 for mobile devices is the culprit and the reason why the Xoom may not enjoy flash until several weeks after its release.

First impressions

While many of these problems will be fixed over time and with the release of the wifi-only model ($599), Motorola hasn't done anything to help itself and its soon-to-be-released tablet. Because like the title states, first impressions mean everything and right now the Xoom is not making a very good one. The tablet may be a fantastic piece of hardware, but you have to be able to get them into the consumers hands, and with the high price point and nagging contracts that's a tough sell for a market that is already knee deep in iPads.

To make matters worse, there seems to be a wave of android tablets with similar specifications and Honeycomb (android 3.0) edging their way closer to market, and it's very likely that many of these tablets will sell with a more attractive price point then their Xoom counterpart. Either way, Thursday marks a big day for tablet computers, as it will be the first time consumers will be able to get their hands on Honeycomb which looks like it can be a fantastic mobile OS for years to come.

1 comment about "First Impressions Mean Everything, Someone Tell Motorola.".
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  1. Mark Hornung from Bernard Hodes Group, February 28, 2011 at 12:31 p.m.

    Moto's problem is that, unlike Apple, they have very little control over pricing. Because Moto sources the components of the Xoom from other vendors, and to date is dealing in relatively low volumes, those components cost Moto much more, resulting in a higher retail price. Apple is a notorious negotiator, often demanding exclusivity and grinding vendors on pricing. The vendors go along because Apple buys in such huge volumes. Plus, there is some synergy between the chips and displays AAPL buys for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad, resulting in higher volumes and lower component prices. Moto probably wanted to come inat a lower price, but their dicey finances wouldn't permit it. The data plan rigmarole is stupid, though. Don't know if it was Moto's idea or the carrier's.

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