You really have to wonder how closely Motorola has been watching the extravaganza that the development community has been having with the Nook Color.  Dollars will undoubtedly flow towards the soon-to-be-released Xoom, but will they flow just a little bit less now that Honeycomb can be installed on a $250 "e-reader?"

Do you think the recipients of the latest Google flagship device deal are squirming just a little bit?

A commercial for the Xoom ran during the Super Bowl, hailing it as "the fastest tablet running Android 3.0 'Honeycomb.'"  But wasn't it just recently being described as "the first tablet to run Android 3.0 Honeycomb?"  You have to wonder . . .

While the Nook Color is running Honeycomb much sooner than expected, I haven't lost track of the facts that:

  • the Xoom's specs eat the Nook's specs for breakfast
  • this is a port of an SDK preview of Honeycomb we're running, not yet the real thing
  • it takes some serious tweaking in order to get the Nook into a Honeycomb-running state.

So obviously, we're talking about two completely different classes of devices--and maybe different target buyers as well.  I get that.

However, while obviously inferior, the Nook Color's hardware really isn't bad at all.  I've heard some say "Honeycomb's designed for a dual-core processor, it'll run like crap on the Nook."  But my Nook Color is running Honeycomb from its internal memory, and it's overclocked to 1.1GHz.  It's silky-smooth and plenty fast, and I only expect it to improve.

If deeper-blue (the latest rock star of the dev community) can get a surprisingly full-featured version of Android 3.0 cranking in the first few days after the SDK preview was released, imagine what he (and others) can do when the full source is available?

Then there's that small matter of the price.  I wasn't the only person who was a little surprised at the hefty $800 price tag Motorola has slapped onto the Xoom.  I'm sure it's a phenomenal tablet that will make those who buy it very, very happy . . . but for the average user, is it worth paying an extra $550 over the Nook Color, which runs an early build of Honeycomb very well?

. . . and if Motorola is targeting the tech-head demographic by giving them mind-blowing specs, isn't it possible that a lot of those same gadgeteers' attention will be drawn to the promise of hacking their way into a $250 Honeycomb tablet?

What do you think - has Honeycomb on the Nook changed your thoughts on the Xoom?  Let us know in the comments, and in our Xoom and Nook Color forums!

 
There are 56 comments

yankees368 says:

I think that until they lower the price, several hundred dollars, I will be looking at the still un-priced G-Slate, or maybe the Nook Color. Motorola really screwed up here. I bet the ipad2 will even cost less!

crichton007 says:

It actually does, in a way. For a 3G enable iPad with 32 GB of data the price is $70 less. If you factor in the cost of unlocking the WiFi (if you weren't planning on using the 3G) then it's $90 total. Also, Best Buy has their 3G iPads $30 off this week.

I understand that the Xoom has a lot more going for it than just the 32GB of memory and a 3G radio but the likelihood of Apple raising their prices in the tablet market right now would be just as foolish of a business move as Motorola pricing their product so high as to make Apple look like a comparative bargain. Also, the rumor is (a la the WSJ) that the iPad 2 will get double the memory for the same price points.

I think if this was a year ago then the Moto pricing here might have worked but in order for the Xoom to make a dent in the mass market (the way the iPad clearly has) they need to understand that most people are not going to look past the price and the memory in a comparison. People like us who frequent tech sites will compare it on more than those two but Apple has a reputation they have cultivated over the years of being high quality.

I'm not saying that the reputation and reality are the same (please don't flame me) but for people who are not tech enthusiasts its likely.

I'm happy with my nook color it gets the job done

superbike81 says:

Honestly, I don't think it will have an impact on sales of the Xoom. The majority of people in this world aren't willing or capable to do something like hack a different OS onto their Nook. Those who can do it and actually want to, probably weren't cross-shopping the Nook and Xoom to begin with. The people who have the $800 to spend and want a Honeycomb tablet aren't going to "settle" for the Nook.

I'm not saying the Nook is bad, but if you've got the $800 to spend on a high end tablet you are probably looking for high end, and a hacked $250 Nook that runs Honeycomb probably isn't even going to be a consideration. But for those on a budget who want 80% of the experience of the Xoom for 20% of the price, the Nook is a great option.

jamdmyers says:

Absolutely, Picked up a NC yesterday and did initial Root of NC rom, since it's my first Android experience (BB person here). Will gradually move through updates to HC on NC internal. What it did will allow me to dump 250 to try things out for a few months, then when the dust settles on the tablet market I can make a full fledged purchase of a tablet at what I suspect will be more comfortable pricing. The NC will still be around and I'll be able to pass it on to others (Wife/ daughter etc) Thanks to all the Dev guys and AndForums making this happen.

bjordan says:

Same here. I picked a NC up yesterday as well. I'd been thinking about getting one for a week or so now.

For me the price is what killed the Xoom for me. I'm not saying it's not worth $800. $800 is just well above what I'm personally ready to spend on a tablet.

eallan says:

The Nook Color might not impact sales, but the several hundred dollar premium over the iPad sure will.

superbike81 says:

It's NOT a "several hundred dollar premium" over the iPad, it's less than $100 difference. If you are going to compare the iPad to the Xoom, you cant use the entry level iPad, you need to use the iPad with similar specs and that would be the 32GB 3G model.

Eazy123 says:

For what the Xoom offers over the iPad, it might as well be a several hundred dollar premium. 32GB 3G model or not.

?!

Gameboy70 says:

But it's $200 more than the 32GB wifi iPad, for which the Xoom has no counterpart. 88% of iPads sold are wifi-only, but 100% of the Xooms hitting the market are 3/4G, which most people don't want, anymore than they want to buy a laptop with 3/4G.

If Moto releases a $599 wifi-only Xoom in the summer, which I expect, I'll pick one up. Otherwise, no sale.

Yes you can compare the entry level ipad. It was Motorolas decision not to release a wide range of XOOMS. Instead, they just went to the top. And to be total douchebags, they aren't releasing a wifi only version yet. And I hope this is hardwired internal memory specs that we are talking about and not just micro sd card. That would be even worse at $800.

jonapga says:

I am so tired of ppl saying to copmare it to the 3g bla bla ipad... NO
why? because I dont need 3g thats why, if I was going to get an ipad I would buy the wifi only, and thats what I am going to compare it to, not to mention that it sounds like I will be REQUIRED to purchase it with a data plan.

Eloquence says:

I'm waiting for the official price from Moto and Verizon. If it's $800 + $20 data/month -- Nook Color + (Honeycomb) here I come!

htowngator says:

That's the "official" price for now, at least. They haven't even announced how much LTE upgrade might cost nor when it will actually occur. Given that they claimed it would be "not long after" the Xoom was released to get LTE, I'm still skeptical because that doesn't really mean anything. There's not much of a reason to buy a Xoom anyway at this point if they're preparing a wifi only version eventually.

I just ordered a NK should be here in a couple days and can't wait to see what this little guy can do.

htowngator says:

As you mentioned its a port, not the actual Honeycomb OS. I'm not advocating for the Xoom, but this isn't a real comparison yet.

If the Nook gets the full 3.0 on there then I think that's a real argument at that point.

Disaster says:

The person who buys a Xoom isn't likely to be the same person who would root a Nook. Also, consider the Viewsonic G-tablet which runs the same processor as the Xoom. It is several hundred dollars less than a Xoom and only $100 or so, more than a Nook, but with much more processing power.

htowngator says:

It also has a disaster for a screen and extremely horrible build quality.

I thought the G-Tab was $399?

The build quality isn't as atrocious as it was hyped up to be. A coworker has one and it looks and feels just fine; a little on the light-and-flimsy side, but it was designed to be lightweight, so flimsiness comes with the territory. The screen is just fine for a tablet if a little low-res. Between the CPU and GPU, though, this thing should rock with Honeycomb.

redeye#AC says:

Was all set to buy the Xoom until the price came out. Atleast now there is some chance I will get a tablet. Still waiting for HTC, hopefully they will be more realistic with their prices.

Warpoet says:

I think Motorola shot themselves in the foot with their pricing of the Xoom. Sure, the specs on it are immense but if they are to compete they need to release a Wifi only version ASAP. It also needs to be competitively priced.

Nook color on the other hand is a very exciting prospect simply due to the developer base it already has. I personally don't own one and probably never will be able to (Live in UK), but if I had a choice of running a hacked version of Honeycomb over normal, I wouldn't hesitate one bit. You have to remember that some android phones have custom roms and they run a lot better than the roms the carriers release.

You also have to think of the layman who won't have a clue what a Rom or what Xda is. These people will ultimately have the final say in all of this. Nook color is a ebook reader and that's how it is marketed. Xoom and other tablets are ready out of the box.

Motorola's price tag for Wifi only Xoom will decide whether the tablet will be a hit or not. If they can be competitive they may do well in a increasingly tight market.

El Cantante says:

I'm going to assume the Xoom is going to affect the Xoom sales. It's a novelty item that will go into the hands of a few considering the price.

davros says:

im only mad i didnt buy two Nook Colors when i bought the wife's for christmas, still would been cheaper than the Xoom .... oh well ;)

hoosiercub says:

I still don't know what the fuss over the price of the zoom is. Yes its more expensive than a basic wifi only iPad, it also offers a lot more flexibility than the wifi iPad. With the $500 16GB iPad you don't get GPS, no mobile data, and obviously half the storage of the zoom without the ability to expand or upgrade. The $800 Xoom really is on par with the $800 iPad. Then of course you can take into account all the loss you're going to take with IOS. No more free angry birds lol.

I don't see the Nook budging in on Xoom sales because its not something a lot of people want to do, root their device and such. I'm willing to bet that the Xoom is going to be like the original moto Droid, simple clean vanilla honeycomb which will to me be the first real Android tablet. I own an iPad and would be trading off to get one if it came in wifi only.

Gameboy70 says:

The problem is that people don't want to purchase a second contract just to own a tablet. There were fewer than .5M activations on AT&T for the iPad in the last quarter of the year, when 4M iPads were sold.

The converse of your original statement is more significant: yes, the Xoom offers a lot more flexibility than the wifi iPad, but it's a lot more expensive--not just the upfront cost, but the cost of a 2-year contract.

yutsoku says:

I'm pretty sure the 800 dollar price is without a contract. Most likely full retail, odds are the xoom is going to be like 650 on a 1 year and like 450 on a two year.

adomanico says:

I disagree... look at the Galaxy Tab. At most, the on-contract price was $200-250 LESS than the off-contract price... that would put it at $550-$600 on-contract.

3 NCs cost< 1 zoom.

Stang68 says:

The price of the XOOM is what will affect XOOM sales lol

I am going to wait for an official announcement from Verizon and hopefully we'll see a lower price. I plan on buying a XOOM, still. I just would really love a 16GB wifi version.

hmmm says:

The price and the fact wifi is locked down without purchasing a data plan is going to hurt sales. They are acting like they are releasing an Apple product.

dvogonen says:

The NOKs of this world will not be the competition to beat for the XOOM. If anything low price alternatives will boost sales by providing a stronger install base. A a comparisone one could note that sales of Mercedeses is not really affected by the avialability of low price compact cars.

The iPad and especially the iPad2 will be the real competition during 2011. I see no way on earth for Motorola to charge anywhere near 800 in the face of that competition.

adomanico says:

If I had to take a guess what the GSlate would cost off-contract, it'd be between $600-$700. Tablets should be priced at or just above the price of netbooks. That is the only device they come close to replacing.

zanestone says:

I bought a nook for the price. It was a way to get in the tablet market cheap until something better came along, and the rooting process is pretty easy even for beginners.

I have a MyTouch 4g which I use as a hotspot and am pretty happy with the combo.

The Moto priced the XOOM out of the range I was willing to spend.

With the wonderful Nook rooting community I suspect I will be happy with what I have for quite some time.

deercreek says:

I'm not interested in any tablet as this point. My Droid X has a 4.3" screen, I do almost everything on it that I used to use a desktop PC for. For a tablet to interest me, it has to bridge that gap. It would have to support USB host mode in a way that I could use memory card readers, printers, DVD-RW drives, and external drives.

miniZ says:

Speaking of the XOOM, what about the Wyse contest thing?

Once they saw the price, Wyse said "F THAT!"

icu says:

I could see this as a great coffee table tablet/Boxee remote + I'd actually use it to read books.

I just hope that it doesn't actually get locked down and development continues - if so I may just get one soon.

The other side to this is even if I had $800 to toss away on a tablet I'd be so worried about keeping it safe all the time I'd probably not use it all that much while I'm out and about. The Nook I'd have no problem whipping out on the subway or w/e or walking down the street with it in front of me like those ridiculous Galaxy Tab commercials.

baca008 says:

saw the price and bought a nook. way to go moto..hopefully wifi only xoom version is coming soon with a much lower price

junglejunkie says:

I picked up a NC last week and I am happy I did. Currently running HC build 4 off my SD card and i'm happy with it...it will only get better. I will probably get a dual core tablet in the future, but for now my NC is satisfying my HC needs.

Dark_Blu says:

As someone else pointed out, the Nook Color and the Xoom are for two different markets. Tinkerers who want value for the dollar will get the Nook color. Power users who don't mind the extra data charge and don't mind the price (EXECUTIVES, LAWYERS, BANKERS, ETC.) will opt for the Xoom. I'm not getting either. I've got an EVO and can do everything I need to do on it.

Gameboy70 says:

The Xoom might sell to engineers, who are affluent tech enthusiasts that want more than the iPad offers, but executives, lawyers and bankers will get a laptop. They're typically not early adopters.

I would do the nook color deal. Plus the Xoom will launch first with only the 3G verizon flavor which is of no use to me. Would rather have a wifi only tablet if any.

RAPTOR0065 says:

I haven't forgotten Moto's attitude towards the custom software community... I wrote off the Xoom when they told us to shop elsewhere. The comical price is a moot point.

So I have to wonder. The Nook was (arguably) the first device to get Honeycomb into the wild. The XOOM blows it away spec-wise even though the Nook really isn't a slouch.

But what about the grossly un-loved Viewsonic G? It HAS the Tegra-2 dual-core CPU and a decent GPU that Honeycomb was made for. Has nobody tried putting Honeycomb on the Viewsonic yet? If this were to happen, it could probably make the Viewsonic G worth buying. If it already has, why hasn't THIS made the front page here?

hmmm says:

I'm hoping to win a Nook Color by enter the Carl Buddig lunch meat contest. Maybe I won't have to pay anything for one!

MikeDroid says:

who isnt money/tech savvy enough to buy the 250 nook color now, put hoenycomb on it and let that hold you over till summer/fall when prices are gonna be down for tabs like the xoom/g-slate?

I played with a Honeycomb NC and it got me VERY excited for the Xoom...up until Super Bowl Sunday when they announced the price. I don't care if it contained 10TB of space & 8 cores running at 3Ghz, $800 is hard to swallow for what I consider a high tech toy.

$600 would be the sweet spot for me, with $700 pushing it a bit.

got my NC recently and I'm sticking with it. because of both reasons: I like to mess with it so flashing roms and stuff isn't a problem for me and it's much much more affordable.

frettfreak says:

MOTOROLA IS AN F-ING IDIOT!!!!!!!! As much as i LOVE android, and really HATE EVERYTHING that is apple.. you cannot deny the HUGE success that is the iPad. and honestly, there is a LOT more "stuff" / accessories / manufacturers building for iPad..

SO WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY PRICE THE XOOM SO HIGH??? Unless that is the unsubsidized price and you can get it for 299 on contact (haha), i see the xoom going 1 or 2 ways. Its either gonna flop HARD (especially with the wave of tablets coming) or they are going to drop the price very soon.

F-YOU MOTO!!! :)

Chopper Joe says:

I was skeptical about tablets in general and Android in particular (at this point in time) until I was given a NC for Christmas. I am not trying to sell anyone anything but I thought I'd give an "accidental owner's" impressions for anyone considering getting a NC for now:

1. It's an excellent eReader. (If you're a science nut and have a lot of Scientific American etc., the color makes an amazing difference.) It will be an excellent eReader long after it is obsolete as a tablet. And, once rooted, Kindle owners can keep their library by installing the Kindle app.

2. Unrooted, the NC still has some tablet functions. The stock applications are bare-bones but functional: web browser, email program, media player, Pandora, a few games. Not great, but they work.

3. I have never rooted anything else, but it took me about an hour to root the NC and most of that time was spent going over the instructions.

4. Most programs/apps run fine on rooted NC but not all. This seems to be more a function of running at tablet size or some issues with NC button configurations but not so much a hardware issue. Angry Birds, for example, runs great. Just installed SwiftKey and now can edit documents in full page view. Also, all apps you've paid for previously will be available for download.

5. Size matters, but it's a question of what works for you (plese, let it go....). I like the portability. With a hard cover (that opens like a book but the screen is protected when thrown in a bag etc.), my NC is less than 6"x9"x1" and I take it with me almost everywhere.

In short, the NC is always going to be an excellent eReader and is a hell of a lot of fun to fiddle with....

neova333 says:

I rooted my NC the day I got it and have been playing around with HC for the last few days. As it stands now, if you're looking for a good e-reader with a nice screen and lots of extras on the side the NC is an excellent buy. But there are lots of rough edges and not everything works 100%, which is to be expected at this point in its development.

Once devs get HC fully functioning on the NC though it will be an incredible entry level tablet. It's up to the individual if they want something that just works out of the box, or if they're willing to do a little reading and tinker a bit.

As for the Xoom, I'll wait to see how much a wifi only version costs, then decide if it's worth the price. The Nook oc'd to 1.1Ghz is pretty smooth for the most part and I'm sure it'll get even better once some optimized HC rom's become available.

djrollerx#AC says:

Motorola will have to try a lot harder to entice a customer like me to spend 800 bucks on a tablet. For one, I haven't bought a tablet already because they're too big. I own a desktop, a laptop, and a netbook. You know what I use for my daily computing? My HTC Evo. This is why I may never buy into a product like the Xoom. Put the Xoom specs in a 4-5" device? Now THAT I would shell out some cash for.

Just picked up a NC yesterday, and so far am quite impressed with it. I am running Froyo off SD, as I want to make sure it doesn't have any issues before I root it. B&N truly shot themselves in the foot with this by making it an e reader instead of a full blown tablet, which XDA has shown it can be. (Lack of camera, mike, GPS and not yet functional bluetooth notwithstanding.) At $250 they literally would own the tablet market, and there would not be an iPad. Looked at an iPad yesterday at BB, and couldn't find the slot for where you swap out the SD card for a bigger one ;-)

bikercr says:

Nook Color here I come--for $199 at the B&N eBay store. Just bought with PayPal this morning and can't wait to root it and then Honeycomb it.

I have both a Xoom and a Nookdroid. Though the Xoom is very expensive it gives me the ability to access the internet with 3G, something my cheap nook will never have. It is also missing the front-face and rear cameras which prevent using it for video chat, making videos, taking pictures, playing with certain apps, and your girlfriend using it as a mirror. (Which she does with her Ipad2) The screen on the Xoom is much prettier and larger, the touch screen is much better with more possible touch points. You can only touch two points on the screen with a nook making some apps unusable and things like piano hard to use. I don't have this problem with my Xoom. It's also missing some of the internal components that make a Xoom like obviously the dual-processor but it doesn't have some general android components like the microphone or magnet that helps out apps that use compasses or GPS. This also makes the always fun, metal detector apps useless and any voice changing or recording apps, no prank calling either...or Skype calls. The only positive thing about the nook I found that the Xoom didn't have was that it was automatically rooted when hacked with android, but this is countered with the fact that it won't update like a normal Xoom would and the Xoom can be rooted, it's just an extra step. If you want get your kid a toy android, I'd recommend a hacked Nook. It's light, you can give it a bracelet so they don't drop it, and it's much smaller and cheaper for them. As for a legitimate consumer who wants to experience all of android, Xoom is the way to go.