Motorola confirms Xoom's premium pricing

MWC 2011: Motorola has finally addressed the growing confusion over its Xoom tablet, ending speculation of sky-high pricing - but confirming leaked information that suggests the company is aiming for the premium tablet market.

Dismissing rumours that the device would cost up to $1,200, Motorola's chief executive Sanjay Jha told press at the Mobile World Congress event that the Xoom would start at $600 for a Wi-Fi only version.

That price will rise to $799 for the model that adds in 3G connectivity, matching the leaked point-of-sale pricing information from US retail chain Best Buy and placing the Xoom at the top end of the growing tablet market.

With an equivalent iPad costing around $70 less, Motorola could find itself struggling to convince consumers that the Xoom is worth the premium over Apple's well-marketed marvel.

The Xoom's higher specifications, offering a dual-core ARM processor, high-resolution 10-inch display, and dual cameras with 720p video recording along with Google's latest Android 3.0 'Honeycomb' will help - but Motorola enters the tablet market as a newcomer at a time when Apple is already well established as the brand to beat.

Although Jha didn't confirm precise launch dates for the Xoom, he did claim that it is on track for a Q2 launch - with April or May being the most likely.

The company will have to hurry if it wants to sell many Xooms at that price, however: with Nvidia confirming that 'super-tablet' devices based on its new ultra-powerful quad-core Tegra 3 'Kal-El' platform will be launching later this year, the Xoom's currently-impressive credentials will rapidly age.