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Xoom Pricing Not Necessarily As Dumb As It Sounds

Here’s what I know about the Motorola Xoom: It’s the first Android tablet with Honeycomb on its way to the market, hitting Verizon in a week, people are talking about it a lot and the one thing they’re mainly discussing is that it’s going to cost a zillion freaking dollars. Here’s what I think about the Xoom: It’s going to cost a zillion dollars and that it’s going to cost a zillion dollars will put an iPad within Google’s reach sooner than it otherwise would be were it cheaper to provide Google something tablet-like with which to mop the floor of pee-soaked iPhones Google crushed some time ago.

If Verizon, who’s built a reputation for their Android escapades and reliable network (AT&T made that really easy), is going to ask for six, eight or twelve hundred bucks for what to many will be received as Google’s answer to the iPad, that makes me think Woah this effing thing is going to kick ass, starting with the Galaxy thing’s ass (I don’t know the specs on that either but I know it’s cheaper), and while it’s kicking that tablet’s ass it’s going to open a drum of whoop ass on the iPad – not on the iPad’s sales, just on its outlook as the go-to tablet for your tablet needs. I still don’t know what the hell those needs are but whatever, not the point.

If I didn’t know what a millimeter, a gram, a second processor core or a pixel was (or cared) and you gave me a check good only for one tablet, no question, the Xoom. GIve me the Xoom because Verizon (along with Motorola and Google on the sidelines) would have to be extraordinarily, stunningly and embarrassingly stupid to try to sell a competitor to the gold standard bar-setter pioneer de facto sole option of tablets this late in the game for that much more than the iPad costs. These certainly are not getting-acquainted prices. What, there’s another iPad coming out eventually? Before the 24th? No? Not interested, give me the Xoom and one of those black Amex cards.

I don’t have the money nor do I have the interest in tablets or a sub-genius technological acumen but if I did and even if I didn’t care about Android, I’d want the Xoom and I would want it less if it were priced less because if it weren’t better by any possible standard of measurement of digital sweetness not only would I return it and get an iPad I would write an extremely angry and horribly terse article about the people of Verizon and Motorola. Screw it, and Google too even though they’re my darling and even though in this case they’re just the software guys. But that wouldn’t happen because they’d give me my zillion dollars’ worth. No, don’t need no CNET, ZDNet or PCMag link, my mind’s made up.

Pop quiz, what would an economist call what I just illustrated? If you said luxury good, not quite what I was looking for; if you said Giffen good, nope but to make you feel better I’d mention that I started off by writing this article completely centered around the Giffen good theory until I realized it was incorrect. However if you hit me with Veblen good then I’d be visiting you instead of Wikipedia. Then again, I’m neither an economist nor a professor, let alone was I a good student. But I am a dumb consumer so that arguably makes me an expert on such things.

This is the type of thought process I think will be present in enough minds when this Xoom hits to kickstart the spreading of second guessing Apple the only company having a presence on the top shelf of tablets. It will put a Google foot in the door of future Android tablets. Also it is my understanding Verizon is not selling the iPad, but it’s only been what, a week or two, and they’ve already got according to Chikita Research 5% of the iPhone market, 12% if you look at our own logs over the past 38 hours. Did you process what I just said? That’s a pretty serious and sudden dent in AT&T who has stopped, it seems, advertising the iPhone 4 altogether in favor if iPhone 3GS promotion. Give Android tablets some of that Verizon sales juice and Android will coast north with tablets as it has been doing with phones.

Those who think that Apple at least has the majority of the tablet market to themselves and won’t lose that are in for a surprise – a pleasant one, I imagine, if you bought one of these puppies instead of an iPad. Having said that, not unlike every other Apple product, the iPad is pretty damn sweet.

Doug Simmons

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