This article is disappointing and exciting in equal measures.
As the iPad 2 looms ever larger in the public consciousness, Motorola and RIM rush manically to get their competing products to market. Both manufacturers are huge players in the smartphone industry, both appear to be set to pre-empt the iPad by about a month.
Our most recent rumors put the Xoom launching by February 18th, at the end of MWC 2011. We first heard that the Xoom would launch for $799 and that it may end up with MotoBlur via a software update. Then a leaked Best Buy screen showed the price as just $700 through that outlet.
Today Droid Life ran a price verification (through a Best Buy contact) which showed the Xoom's launch price at $799. So it looks like earlier rumors of a close-to-reasonable price were incorrect. On the other hand, this quick flip-flop could be evidence that neither price is close to what the Xoom will actually launch for.
$700-$800 is high for an unsubsidized tablet (using the iPad as a standard) and outlandishly high for a subsidized device.
We haven't heard a likely price for the PlayBook yet. At CES, I was able to get one press agent to state that it would be priced "competitively" with the iPad. Which probably means $500ish for the baseline model.
One site claims that the PlayBook will launch before the end of March. Which would have RIM's tablet out (potentially) a month before the new iPad hits stores. That would give Motorola between two weeks and a month as the reigning king of the tablet category.
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So how much damage can the Xoom do to the iPad in just a month? And will the PlayBook siphon sales from the Xoom, take wind out of Apple's sails, or just flounder while sexier options rake in the big bucks? MWC will give us a better idea of what to expect here- especially once Palm makes their tablet plan known.