Motorola ‘Xoom’ Tablet Tipped For February 17 Release At $700

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On the endless list of tablets birthed at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier in the month, the Motorola Xoom stands out as one of the more impressive. It’s the first Android tablet to run Google’s tablet-specific “Honeycomb” operating system, according to Motorola, and packs a whole lot of power into its 10-inch form factor.

Internal Best Buy documents apparently leaked to Engadget seem to indicate that the Xoom will be available on February 17th with a price tag of $700. The tablet will feature a 3G connection compatible with Verizon, which will be upgradeable to take advantage of Verizon’s new 4G network as well.

Android fan site Droid Life has put together a handy chart comparing the Xoom to Apple’s 3G-equipped iPad.

xoom-vs-ipad1

You’ll notice that the Xoom beats out the 32 gigabyte 3G-equipped iPad in just about every hardware category while undercutting its price tag by $30. I’ll add that the two tablets weigh the exact same at 1.6 pounds, according to Motorola’s own specs. The Xoom will feature 32 gigabytes of on-board memory that can be expanded via memory cards as well.

Several intangibles still remain. The software experience will differ, the app stores will differ, and there’s still the elephant in the room; when will the next iPad be available, what will it cost, and what’ll it have for specs? I’d also love to see Wi-Fi only versions for any of the new tablets coming out this year to stifle the nagging psychological difference between $500 and $700.¬†Apple sells a 16 gigabyte 3G iPad for $629, too, which handily beats the Xoom’s price if you don’t need more than 16 gigabytes of storage and, of course, there’s the iPad’s $500 starting price if you don’t need cellular connectivity.

January 27th marks the anniversary of the iPad’s original announcement, so if Motorola’s able to get the Xoom to market before a new iPad is even announced, it might be able to get a nice leg up on early sales.

And iPad or not, the Xoom is shaping up to be a good looking tablet thanks to its Tegra 2 processor, HD-resolution screen and the use of an Android operating system that’s actually been designed specifically for use with a tablet form factor. It’d look even better in a Wi-Fi version, too, though.

UPDATE: A reportedly-leaked Best Buy ad seems to indicate that the Xoom will be priced at $800 and available on February 24th. If true, that’s a week later and $100 more expensive than previously thought.

More on TIME.com:

Google Exec Shows Off Next Generation Android Tablet

Consumer Electronics Show: 11 Tech Trends for 2011

Will We See the iPad 2 in April?

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