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Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi matches iPad 2 on price

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(Read caption) Motorola Xoom, shown here, will soon be available in a Wi-Fi only edition. But did Motorola wait too long to introduce a cheaper Xoom?

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Xoom – the new tablet computer manufactured by Motorola – will soon be available in a Wi-Fi only iteration, Motorola announced today. Previously, Motorola was offering a 3G capable Xoom for $800, or $600 with a Verizon data plan. The new Wi-Fi Xoom will sell for $600, exactly in line with the 32GB Wi-Fi only Apple iPad 2. The device will ship with the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, 32GB of memory, and a 1GHz processor.

Powerful stuff. But many analysts have worried that Motorola waited too long to introduce a cheaper Xoom, and that the company may have scared away prospective consumer by initially rolling out only a 3G edition of the tablet computer.

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Motorola "could have done a better job" rolling out the Xoom, Ittai Kidron, analyst at Oppenheimer & Co., told The Wall Street Journal today. "We believe Motorola missed an opportunity to drive volume by introducing its priciest Xoom first instead of a full range of tablets at the same time, as Apple does," Kidron added. "We believe Motorola has missed an opportunity to make its mark in the market by initially targeting value versus volume."

The iPad 2, which was unveiled earlier this month, is priced similarly to the original iPad – a Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 will set you back $499, while 3G models start at $629. Meanwhile, the hardware is a major improvement: processing speed is up, size and weight are down, and the device has a cool new cover. And reviews of the device have been widely positive. "Like last year’s iPhone 4, it seems like technology from the near future," one critic wrote recently.

For more on the tablet computer front, check out our previous report on tablet sales. And if you haven't done so already, sign up for the free Innovation newsletter, which is emailed out every Wednesday morning.

ALSO SEE: Motorola Xoom review roundup

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