The first "real" competitor to the iPad is released tomorrow (2/24) and offers up what is looking to be a very compelling product. One of the big question marks has been its pricing--something that really hampered competitors to the iPod early in its dominance. It is now official.
The low-end WiFi-only model is priced at $600 (right at the similar 32gb version of the WiFi-only iPad) and the 32gb 3g+WiFi model will start at $799 ($80 more than the 32 gb 3G iPad).
At first glance, these numbers seem to be pretty reasonable as the Xoom offers a lot of things the current iPad does not. It looks like the major price concerns are going to be for those really set on getting the 3G model and using it a lot. Verizon's data rates for the Xoom look very expensive--even compared to similar plans offered by AT&T for the iPad. $20 for 1gb would make me want to seek free WiFi in a bad way. At least the upgrade to 4G LTE will be free when Verizon supports it.
I will be eagerly awaiting full reviews of the product to see how the finished product performs. As with many of the iPods competitors from years past, they beat it on paper handily but never beat the full "experience" Apple put together for the iPod, and they rarely cost significantly less.
My recommendation is to wait a few days. Apple happens to be holding a little press conference next Tuesday (March 2)--one that promises to unveil the iPad 2. Expect all of us here to be paying close attention.
Dr. Riley Alexander is a pathology resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, blog "addict" and avid follower of technology. His primary interests revolve around how technology, especially mobile, will create increased efficiency, enhanced physician education and better delivery of care in the medical field. Dr. Alexander is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine with a combined MD/MBA, in partnership with IU's Kelley School of Business. Due to this, he is also very interested in management, healthcare policy and non-clinical aspects of the medical field and enjoys exploring non-clinical opportunities for medical students, residents and physicians. He completed his undergraduate education at IU-Bloomington.