Electronics retailer B&H has jumped the gun and started taking pre-orders on a Wi-Fi-only Motorola Xoom tablet for $599, even though Motorola hasn’t confirmed the pricing itself.
B&H’s Xoom product page doesn’t say when the Wi-Fi version will ship, but says it’s “a new item being released in limited quantity, We are accepting orders and they will be filled in the order they are received.” This could just be a placeholder page, but given other rumors and what we’ve previously heard from Motorola, the $599 price seems accurate.
Last month, Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Sanjay Jha said the company would eventually launch a Wi-Fi Xoom for around $600, but not before releasing a $799 model that runs on Verizon’s 3G (and eventually 4G) network. A leaked flyer from Staples also pegs the Wi-Fi Xoom at $599, with a March 27 launch date. Wholesale retailer Sam’s Club may even sell the Xoom for $539.
The $599 price tag will be a lot more palatable for people who want an iPad alternative but don’t need mobile broadband connectivity. With 32 GB of on-board storage, the Xoom Wi-Fi is on par with the iPad 2 in terms of tech specs. Of course, the tablet wars are about more than just specs, and the Xoom isn’t quite ready to take on the iPad’s huge app catalog and polished software. But at least the sticker shock problem seems to be solved. Now, if only Motorola would make it official.