December 07, 2011, 8:11 AM — Some days I wonder how these gadget companies manage to stay in business.
Yesterday Verizon Wireless announced that it would be bringing two new Xoom tablets to retail later this month. Of course Verizon now calls these things the Droid Xyboard, a name which is completely baffling until you say it out loud, at which point it becomes only mostly baffling (it sounds sort of like Droid Cyborg...get it?).
These new tablets are essentially the Motorola Xoom 2 (Droid Xyboard 10.1) and the Xoom Media Edition (Droid Xyboard 8.2) enhanced with LTE radios. Verizon won't be offering WiFi-only models.
So new Android tablets. They've got to be quad core devices running that shiny new Android 4, right? Ahhh, nope. They're both running dual-core 1.2 Ghz TI OMAP4 CPUs and will come with Android 3.2, though an OS update is promised for down the line. (As a rough comparison, the $200 Kindle Fire has a dual-core 1 Ghz TI OMAP4 CPU inside.)
OK so the hardware isn't cutting edge. That means we're getting a great price, right? No again. In fact quite the contrary. The Droid Xyboard 10.1 with 16 GB of storage will be $529.99. For $629.99 you get 32 GB and for a wallet-slaying $729.99 you get 64 GB of storage. But you're not through spending yet. These prices are only valid when you sign a contract for a 2 year data plan for the tablet; that's going to cost you another $30/month. So over two years you'll be paying $1249.99 for the 16 GB model.
These prices are insane, and not in a Crazy Eddy kind of way.
The smaller Droid Xyboard 8.2 isn't much better: $429.99 for 16 GB and $529.99 for 32 GB, and once again you have to sign up for the data plan to get those prices.
It amazes me that Verizon thinks this is competitive pricing and my heart goes out to any misinformed consumers who pays this much for a dual-core tablet. Consider the Asus Transform Prime, with its quad core CPU, is $500 with 32 GBs of storage. Consider also that Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told Engadget that he expects quad-core tablets to hit a $299 price point 'in a couple quarters.' Verizon Wireless needs to update its expectations of what people should pay for these things.
In the same press release Verizon announced that the Droid Razr will be available in white later this month. If you buy a Xyboard and a Razr at the same time, you'll save $100; I still don't recommend it.
What Verizon didn't mention in that press release is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Rumors are now pointing to this Friday as a release date at Verizon stores, and possibly the following Sunday at Best Buy, but I'm not holding my breath.
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