Motorola's Xoom tablet will go on sale tomorrow in the US through Verizon Wireless, the cellular carrier said this week. The tablet first appeared at last month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and generated significant buzz.
PC makers have been working on a response to the iPad since it debuted in April 2010. Initial offerings have failed to dent Apple's lead, but with Xoom the real competition begins.
It's the first tablet to run Honeycomb, the first version of Google's Android operating system specifically developed for tablets.
Compared to previous versions that were originally developed for cell phones, Honeycomb brings several new features including full web browsing, and interfaces for Gmail, YouTube and Google's bookstore designed for the larger tablet screens.
Motorola's confidence in the Xoom and its ability to take on the iPad and other competitors can be seen in this teaser video, produced at the end of last year.
Apple sold 3 million iPads within 80 days of launch last year. For the Xoom or any other competitor to match that might be difficult, but the positive initial reaction to Xoom does indicate some consumers are looking for choice.
For all the similarities between the two devices, there's one that sticks out: a lack of support for Flash. It's missing in both tablets, but for different reasons.
Apple says it drains battery life and there are better alternatives.
Motorola doesn't use it because it's not available. The Flash player software for Honeycomb hasn't been completed by Adobe, but the company said Monday that it should be available in a few weeks.
The Xoom will cost $600 with a two-year contract, or $800 contract-free. UK pricing is not yet known.