Friday, April 8, 2011

Xoom Versus Iconia Versus iPad 2 Versus Stuff Not Even On the Market Yet

You might know by now that Acer will be selling its new Iconia tablet, 10" running Android 3, Honeycomb, exclusively through Best Buy.  It's basically the same specs as the Xoom except for the looks.  What would you get?  Sticking with iPad 2 or waiting on the Playbook or Touchpad?

Let's focus on the WiFi versions of the tablets here since the Iconia is WiFi only.  The WiFi-only Xoom comes in at $600 on sale now at Staples while the Iconia won't be available until later in the month.  And Acer has priced it at a low low $450 with 16GB of storage.  That is $50 lower than the base iPad 2.  But the iPad 2 is the iPad 2, the standard bearer of the tablet market.  

Of the three, which should you get?  Or wait?

Well, as I mobile fan, I'm gonna be getting a Honeycomb device for sure but when the Xoom came out at $800 with the 3G version, it was priced out of the amount I was willing to spend.  And the $600 WiFi only certainly had me thinking, my hands-on with the Xoom make me wait a bit longer.  Honeycomb felt rushed and beta-ish and running Android apps on it was kind of icky.  There are hardly any apps but what I did see showed promise.  Just hoping Google will hurry it up and release an update already.

Back to the pricing issue a bit. Iconia will cost $450.  See, I would have jumped all over the Xoom at $500.  So, here's what I'm thinking at the moment.

Acer gears tend to reliable to a point.  You really have to take your chances with their laptops. You love it or you hate it.  My experience with their gears is that they can make decent laptops but they feel cheap.  Very plasticky.  But at a good price  Motorola's Xoom feels sturdier and, without testing the Iconia, I'm very worried about how cheap it'll feel.  Let's face it, it comes in at $450 so expect it to feel plasticky.  And it does weigh more than Xoom and a lot more than the iPad 2.  

If it's value, I will just on a $500 Xoom in a heart beat. Come late April and the Iconia does somehow live up to my expectation, that's what I'm getting. And that's the Android part. 

Now, Apple's iPad 2. You certainly cannot go wrong with the iPad 2.  You're get a premium device for a very good price.  I see people going with Android only because they cannot stand Apple and its way of doing business.  Me?  I'm okay with that.  But that's me.  And as a mobile fan, I love what Google and Android represents.  Android, is and never was, "open".  But it's an alternative to the iOS dominion so that's good enough for me.

And with the iPad 2, you know you'll always get Apple's best.  Nothing like the perpetual beta feel you get from Google at times.  

As for Playbook and Touchpad, well, we'll figure out more about them as they come along but with Iconia coming in below everyone else, I think we are looking at a pricing pressure in the Android tablet market even before everyone else is out with theirs (HTC, Samsung, LG).  It won't impact the iPad at all.  But it might hurt HP and RIM big time if they don't adjust to the market quickly.

For us mobile warriors, the Iconia, whether you like Android or not, represents competition.  And you gotta love that.  

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