Droid Life reports that the Wi-Fi version of Motorola's Honeycomb-powered XOOM tablet is heading to Sam's Club for a tasty price of $539. Although the discounted cost is unconfirmed at this point, that would make the device $60 less than the original $599 pricetag Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha spouted during Mobile World Congress 2011 last month.
According to the report, the $539 pricetag was supposedly revealed in a Sam's Club "Year Beginning" meeting, and even exposed on a banner hanging from a ceiling. But given that it reads "Android 2.0 Honeycomb" rather than "Android 3.0 Honeycomb," there's a good chance the pricetag could be wrong. Then again, Sam's Club is the members-only arm of Walmart that offers discounts with a paid membership. That said, the $539 pricetag is definitely a possibility.
The 3G version of Motorola's XOOM tablet has already landed on Verizon Wireless, costing a hefty $799 for the unsubsidized version, and $599 with the typical 2-year ball-and-chain contract. The tablet itself offers a free upgrade to 4G LTE, but customers are required to send the tablet back to Motorola for a hardware upgrade, taking around six days to complete starting from the moment its picked up by FedEx.
Just days ago, Steve Jobs surprised the masses by appearing on stage at an Apple press event, revealing the latest features in iOS 4.3 and the much-rumored second generation iPad tablet. It's thinner. It's lighter. It's faster, and it's retaining the original pricepoints, offering more bang for the buck. Jobs said that 2011 is the "year of the iPad 2," noting that this will also be the year of the tablet copycats, pointing to the Motorola XOOM and others slated to arrive this year.
It will be interesting to see how the tablet war will pan out this year: Android 3.0 Honeycomb vs iOS 4.3. The Sam's Club pricetag for the XOOM Wi-Fi model certainly helps the "Green Team" in the battle for your buck, but when comparing the 3G iPad 2 to the 3G XOOM tablet, the latter's $800 unsubsidized pricepoint could be a huge turnoff.
Apple's new iPad 2 is expected to ship on March 11. Currently the release date of the XOOM Wi-Fi here in the States is unknown. However, for those who can't wait and are willing to shell out the big bucks for the XOOM 3G model, the device is reportedly selling for a slightly cheaper $589/$639/$789 pricepoint at CostCo (depending on the Verizon contract). Hey, that's extra $10 in your pocket, and could buy you a big cup of gourmet coffee from Starbucks while surfing the Internet on your new Android tablet.