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The First Good Android Tablet Has Locked Down Wi-Fi and Costs $800, Ughhhh

Illustration for article titled The First Good Android Tablet Has Locked Down Wi-Fi and Costs $800, iUghhhh/i

The Motorola Xoom sure has a lot of whizbang stuff inside: Crazy dual-core processors! Nvidia graphics! HD camcorder! 1GB RAM! Front camera! 3G that's somehow magically upgradeable to 4G! But, uh, it's eight hundred dollars. And it gets worse.

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The worse being fine print in the leaked Best Buy ad that says:

To activate WiFi functionality on this device, a minimum of one month data subscription is required.

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Like Engadget, we can't figure out any other way to translate that besides the Xoom's Wi-Fi is locked down until you activate a data subscription with Verizon. They're requiring you to buy at least one month of data service to a basic feature of the hardware? What. The. Balls.

The pricing is horribly wrong for a couple of reasons on top of that. One, there isn't a cheaper option. While the most expensive iPad with 3G and 64GB of storage was $830, people still had the option to purchase a bunch of cheaper models, down to $500. In other words, the iPad cost as much as a netbook; the Xoom costs as much as a laptop.

And while the Xoom's guts are steelier than the iPad's right now—justifying the price difference—that probably won't be the case in a just a couple of months, when a new iPad's likely to show up. Historically, Apple's next-generation gear tends to have sparkly new specs while maintaining the same pricepoints. Meaning the Xoom's $800 price tag isn't going to look any better, so hopefully Moto's promised Wi-Fi model is coming sooner, not later.

Don't get me wrong, the reason the pricing seems so gross is that we've been waiting for nearly a year for some real iPad competiton. And at $800, with required data service, I think Moto will mostly be selling them to diehard nerds.

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If Motorola really wanted to kill the iPad, they'd undercut it. Here's to misprints. [Engadget]

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DISCUSSION

This is called 'riding the demand curve.' They start with a high price and sell to as many as will buy. When demand at that price drops, either due to competition or just running out of buyers at that high price, then they drop the price and pick up buyers who waited for the price to come down. As competition changes demand, and as buyers at each price point are exhausted, Motorola will ride the price down. Riding the demand curve also lets Motorola determine what the real demand will be rather than flooding the market with something nobody wants because they did not anticipate the next gadget to hit the market.

I know people who paid $10,000 for the Apple Lisa computer, which preceded the Macintosh. I believe Motorola was involved in that project, too.