When the iPad 2 was announced and Steve Jobs told the world that it would be priced just like the first model, it made the Motorola Xoom seem that much more expensive. After all, at the low end, the iPad only costs $499 without a contract or commitment to anyone. For the Xoom, the non-commitment price is $799, which had really struck a nerve with Android fans. But is the iPad really cheaper to own than the Motorola Xoom? Well, that all depends on your needs.
The Motorola Xoom comes in two pricing flavors: $599 with a two-year contract at Verizon, and $799 off contract. Both are rather pricey, but when you consider the comparable offer from Apple, things seem to even out a bit.
The Motorola Xoom offers 32GB of storage and 3G EV-DO connectivity. For a 32GB iPad 2 with 3G connectivity, you’d be paying $729. Suddenly, things don’t look so rosy for the iPad in terms of pricing alone. If you opt to pay month to month for data on the iPad, you’re forking over $25 for 2GB of data. Contract users with the Xoom pay just $599 for their devices, but they also pay $20 a month for 1GB of data on Verizon’s network. Over time, the total cost of ownership for a comparable iPad 2 will cost more.
But are you buying a tablet for the long term, and will you be using data every single month for two years? Consider the trade-offs if you decide to go for the price factor alone. A tablet is far less necessary than owning a phone, so I still consider it a luxury item. Are you going to buy the arguably lesser experience just to save a little bit of dough?
The iPad 2 has 65,000 apps made just for its screen and resolution, and hundreds of thousands more iOS apps will work on it, too. The Xoom, which is powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb, has somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100. When you consider apps made by entertainment companies, publishers, businesses and other services you might use often, they usually develop for iOS or the iPad first. My point is this: don’t just consider pricing when you’re talking about a luxury item, or an item that you are buying because you want it, not because you need it. You’ll also need to think about whether the device is relatively future-proof, not just in terms of hardware, but also software and support.