Motorola today announced the Australian availability of a Wi-Fi only version of its Xoom Android tablet, simply called the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi.
Read our comprehensive Motorola Xoom review, and see how the Motorola Xoom stacks up against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v and the Acer Iconia A500 in our Android tablet showdown. Computerworld: Which tablet should I buy? Motorola Xoom vs Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1v
Available from today through JB Hi-Fi stores and "other retailers" the Wi-Fi only, 32GB version of the Motorola Xoom will sell for $689, the same price as the 32GB, Wi-Fi only version of the Apple iPad 2.
"The Motorola XOOM continues to be a great success for Motorola and we wanted to add to our portfolio the Wi-Fi variant to give consumers a choice," said Timo Brouwer, managing director, Motorola mobility. "The introduction of Android 3.1 provides new and existing users with an extensive range of innovative features that deliver even more unique ways to have fun, connect with friends and stay productive while on the go."
Motorola has already launched the Wi-Fi + 3G version of the Xoom in Australia, first through Telstra in May and then through Optus last month. The Wi-Fi only version of the Motorola Xoom announced today is virtually identical to the version sold through Telstra and Optus, except it lacks a SIM card slot to provide 3G mobile Internet access when away from a wireless network.
Curiously, the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi will be released with the latest Android 3.1, Honeycomb software, which enables the microSD card slot to be used out of the box. The 3G version of the Xoom through Telstra and Optus currently ships with the older 3.0 version and has a disabled microSD card slot, though Telstra has confirmed that a software update in July will activate the missing functionality. Motorola has also confirmed that all Xoom customers with a 3G model will receive the update in July as an over the air (OTA) download or via the Motorola website.
In addition to activating the currently inactive microSD card slot, the Android ‘Honeycomb’ 3.1 software offers full support for the latest version of Adobe Flash Player (10.3), re-sizeable widgets, support for USB-connected peripherals and accessories, and expanded Bluetooth features to support Bluetooth headsets in the Google Chat application.
Motorola says the pricing of the Xoom Wi-Fi is "highly competitive" in the ever-populating tablet market. As a basis of comparison, the newly launched Toshiba Tablet (AT100) sells for $579 but only comes with 16GB of memory, while the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer (16GB model) costs $599 without its keyboard dock accessory. RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook is priced at an identical $689 for the 32GB model, while the Acer Iconia A500 is slightly cheaper $678 for the 32GB Wi-Fi model.