25
Feb

If you began drooling from the very first murmurs of a "Pure Google" tablet running Android 3.0 'Honeycomb', to the buzz at CES, through the anticipation building up to launch: your day has arrived and you likely now have a Motorola XOOM in your hands. Congratulations. Of course that would be the $800 Verizon Motorola XOOM that's in your hands. But what about that $600 Wi-Fi-only XOOM? Not only is it not in anyone's hands, but there has yet to be a confirmed release date either.

With nearly every Android phone capable of generating a wireless hotspot to share its data plan with a tablet, taking on the burden of yet another monthly data bill can seem like an unwelcomed guest to many users. Simply toggling a widget or opening an app to start tethering is a small price to pay in exchange for a $200 cheaper piece of hardware. So it stands to reason that a Wi-Fi-only model of the XOOM would likely sell like hotcakes next to its pricier Verizon sibling.

To those of you looking to save some money and buy the Wi-Fi model: do you feel that itching, that longing, that frustration that you can't yet have it? Are you just a little jealous while your friends snatch up the Verizon version? It almost makes you want to go out, say "to hell with it," and spend the extra $200 just so you can have it now. In fact, it's almost as if somebody wants you to do that.

Hold on a second . . .

Yes, there are those with a vested business interest in selling carrier-tied models. Those same people are likely well aware of the appeal of tethering. Could they be intentionally prolonging a period where we don't even have an option for a cheaper Wi-Fi only tab? Would mobile carriers and device manufacturers have something other than their customers' best interests at heart?

verizonkidnap

This isn't the first time we've seen this either. Remember that Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab that was coming "after the holidays?" Let me check my calendar . . . yep, it's "after the holidays." Yet I can't march off to Best Buy, Costco, or anywhere else to get a Wi-Fi-only Tab. It has been announced that it will arrive sometime in the first quarter of 2011, but at this point, the first generation of Samsung's debut slate is growing a beard longer than ZZ Top's and is hardly the cutting edge product that it was in November. Is this a pattern that will repeat with every Android tablet we see?

While we love having 3G and LTE capabilities on tablets, we also like having options. Perhaps all it will take to buck the trend will be one manufacturer (LG? HTC?) that releases a Wi-Fi model at launch. If dollars flow to that device, others will surely follow suit.

Do you think the carriers are running the game here, or is it just a coincidence? Are you splurging for the Verizon XOOM or holding out for the Wi-Fi model? Let us know in the comments below!

Will Shanklin
Will's typical, run-of-the-mill story is that of 'classically-trained actor turned Android smartphone and tablet writer.' If you catch him quoting Shakespeare, it's not because he misses it, but because he desperately wants his Masters in drama to count towards something.

Sir William dwelleth in the fair haven
Chicago; with his fair maid'n Jess and his
trusty cur, Ziggy.
  • Immortal Geek

    I for one am definetly holding out for the WiFi only model, no matter how long it takes... I have no plan of shelling extra $200 /extra $45 per month on my tablet.

  • mdthomas

    I'm sure they knew that a "wifi only" model would have "flown off the shelves!" It may go back to "the sum of the parts are greater than the whole." Juice the consumer at every floor on your way to the penthouse. Ration...ration...ration. who knows...perhaps Verizon invested in this model and this is a way of recovering that investment. Maybe awaiting ipad2 initial sales results? Either way, it does seem to contradict Google's "anti control freak" position and resembles tactics Microsoft and Apple would execute.
    seem to contradict
    a piece before releasing a model that will definitely

  • joes

    Almost makes you want to get an iPad. Almost.

  • Dominick

    I was waiting for the WiFi only XOOM, but I was lucky enough to use the OCNN 25% off code last night. Basically it's like I paid for the WiFi only except if I do decide to pay for the 3G/4G for a month or two I now have that option. If it wasnt for that code, I would still be waiting for the WiFi only...

    • Xoom

      NICE! Congratulations

  • brad

    well, I have to say, I was going to buy a XOOM. But with the arrogance and insistance of Verizon and its minions at the store, they insist that there is no wifi model available now or ever.
    Then I said, screw it. Im not paying two years of data, and $600.
    Funny, would motorola seriously limit the sales of XOOMs just for the sake of pleasing Verizon.
    I for one have told the minions at Verizon, of which I was switching from tmobile to verizon, and buying two new phones, no way, will I buy the xoom tablet now or ever, if they will insist on forcing me into a data plan for two years.
    So the only person hurting here, is Moto. Im not purchasing a XOOM, and I know alot of others, that refuse to buy a tablet that locks you into a data plan. ARE YOU LISTENING MOTO/VERIZON.
    Its a big screw you from a majority of people that want to buy a xoom.

    And probably pushing potentials sales to Apple or other competitors. Im just about to say screw it and get an IPAD, Im tired of being jerked around by google, htc, verizon and motorola.

  • Jason

    I am also holding out. I am able to teather from my phone and see no point in paying extra money for a plan I don't need.

    honestly they lost my money with the delay, I bought a laptop that I can use my phone to teather to. I will now buy a wifi tablet when they are cheaper. had they released a wifi version of the device right away, I might have bought it instead of the laptop first.

  • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

    Great post, Wil. A few things.

    1. When I spoke with Toshiba at CES about their 10" Tegra 2 tablet, they were adamant about releasing the Wi-Fi version and not caring about carriers at all. My money is currently on that to be the first Wi-Fi-only tablet.

    2. Carriers are clearly in control and are doing this on purpose. It's a shame, but it's their tactics. They want to squeeze every drop out of the subscribing tablet customers and early adopters first before moving on and opening their products up to everyone else. It is clear as day.

    3. I did pick up a XOOM yesterday, but only because of that 25% off deal that brought it down to the price of the Wi-Fi version ($600). I would not have picked up the $800 version.

  • gman

    When there is something to buy, I will buy it. My criteria:
    * $600 or less
    * no contract
    * no forced data plan
    * must be honeycomb (already have a 2.2 10.1" tegra2 tablet)

  • JAY

    Moto (& Android) hear this: I plan on buying which ever wifi only version is out first. The xoom or the iPad 2. Given the March 2nd iPad news I suggest you stop trying to screw your customers and give us what we want. Hell, I may even get rid of all of my Android products and go with Apple.

  • Ken

    I am typing this on a nook color with cyanogenmod over wifi tethering. :)

    But really OF COURSE the delay is at carriers' behest. The engineering thing to do would be to release the less featured model first.

    • Will Shanklin

      I agree that the Nook Color had been one if the best things to happen to tablet users: not only is it a solid alternative, but its $250 price gives us an option to make it easier to hold or ground in asking for cheaper options. It'll be interesting to watch this all play out.

  • jason

    apparently, the coupon code wasn't meant to be allowed for the xoom itself. lucky.

    http://www.droid-life.com/2011/02/24/tip-save-25-off-a-799-motorola-xoom-without-a-contract/

    i'll be waiting for a wifi only, pure google tablet and i don't really care much which company makes it as long as it's good quality hardware and around 10".

    this is one area where apple seems to do well, not bowing to the carriers.

  • Jim

    Maybe the current model of requiring a full 2 year agreement might pass for enterprise situations.

    But, until the carriers come up with a reasonably priced data model that allows multiple devices to dip into the same plan (like phones on family plans share minutes) I don't see tablets taking off in the consumer space. EVER.

  • Zeke

    I also want to wait for a wifi model. I keep searching for a release date but alas, no dice. I hate that Verizon and Motorola only released this one ridiculously priced model. It's greedy and it's one of the reasons I despise capitalism. I am also tempted to spend the money. Ack! I wish I was aware of that 25% off deal that everyone utilized last night. That would have been sweet.....

  • Rich

    I'm in the UK but I too will be waiting for the WiFi model and have it tethered to my Galaxy S2...heck, the amount that phone will cost I will have to save money somewhere! Whilst you can't blame the carriers from trying to make as money as possible, I do think their model of trying to get people to have a phone contract AND a contract for their tablet is unsustainable...

  • several

    Not really all that difficult a question to answer. A Wifi only model would be easier, cheaper and less time consuming to design, test and build. They're releasing the verizon version first so they can get the early adopters who'll pay more to pay more. You can also pretty much assume their contract with verizon requires that they hold back the wifi only version for x weeks so verizon can make some more money off of the early adopters.

    No way will i be paying full price for the verizon version. Aside from the price, I'm a T-Mobile customer. I don't want to switch and I don't want two cell providers, 1 is plenty. And I have a Nexus One running Gingerbread. If I need 3G access I'll just tether thankyouverymuch.

    If the LG G-Slate (wifi only or not) hits the market before the WiFi-only Xoom that's what I'll be buying (assuming it costs less than $800, which if LG and T-Mobile have any clue, it will.) I don't give a rat's ass about 3D, but the rest of the G-Slate looks awesome. I think I even prefer the smaller form. (Since the LG G-Slate is also shipping with stock honeycomb, and since previous LG android devices have been rootable and have an accessible fastboot for loading custom ROMs, I'm assuming that the G-Slate will too. I'm excited to see what the Cyanogenmod team does with honeycomb!)

  • D.G.

    This kind of toying around makes the $250 Nook Color all the more appealing. Ya the Xoom is way more attractive as far as specs go, but I ask myself do I really need all that power when I can just get on my computer at home?

    Nook Color rooted with honeycomb +hotspot with Nexus One = I control everything...Screw the Xoom and verizon!

  • Ben

    All I know is that I want a Wi-fi XOOM now, but I won't get it for ages since I live in the UK (although I might ship it from the US anyway to save money more than time).

  • Ken

    I will wait for the wi-fi only model or get frustrated enough to get an IPad. I have actually been looking at the Ipad with serious interest. I think people are going to start loosing there Android Fever if manufactures and carriers keep holding technology ransom.

  • Adrian

    "The Motorola Xoom tablet is undoubtedly an impressive addition to the ever growing tablet market and upon its release you will be able to get the fully connected Wi-Fi model exclusively with PC World"
    If anyone cares about it in the UK
    It doesn't say when though :(
    Personally I'll hold out for LG's WiFi only model

  • Dale

    Since MOTO is being so stubborn about the wifi only version, I will take a serious look at the iPad2. I'm so fed up with these people holding something back.

  • Lucian Armasu

    Carriers are definitely forcing the delay of wifi only tablets. And yes, I'm waiting for a wifi only version, too. Most people won't need a 3G chip inside their tablets, either.

  • John

    If they were smart, Motorola would have sold lots of a reasonably priced Xoom model before they lost their sales to the upcoming ipad2. People won't buy two tablets so the first reasonably priced good tablet will get those consumer dollars.

  • Will Shanklin

    Our readers are extremely intelligent - thanks for all the thoughtful comments :)

    I think it's interesting that--as obvious as we seem to agree that this is--I've rarely heard this issue directly addressed.

  • Canadian Droid Fan

    Add me to this list... There is just no need for a data plan to be able to enjoy a tablet... like all larger cities, the Toronto area is full of hot spots, and with Wi-Fi at home, I'll wait for whoever (Samsung, LG, HTC, Toshiba) to release a Wi-Fi version with any screen around 9 to 10 inches and decent specs...

  • Bdub54554

    Like a lot of you, I am waiting on the wi-fi only model. As long as I can tether, that works for me. If they never come with a wireless model, I will spend that 600 bucks on a new laptop.

  • micky

    here is problem though if manufactures do release a wifi only version where are they gonna sell their devices other then best buy or their own websites best buy sure dosent have 94 million customers like verizon or customers in millions like phone carries have. unless they open up their own retail stores like apple or microsoft have and can generate enough hype about their own product like apple does and have customers walk in and be able to purchase what they want until then these manufactures are will need cellphone carriers support and phone carriers dont like to support products unless it benefits them so forget about motorola xoom in wifi version cause the only place they can build some hype is by having a strong carrier on their side (verizon) and moto does come out with a wifi version only kudos to them but i personally think that the 3g/4g version will outsell the wifi only version

    • brad

      Your comment is not very well thought out. Verizons millions of customers are not running to the stores to buy the current tablet. Actually talking to Verizon in NY and one in WV, niether had people lining up at the door just waiting to get the xoom. Why, because the number one question from anyone interested, where is the wifi version, and why do I have to buy a two year contract to get the $600 model. And your comment about where will Motorola sell the wireless version. Apple sells a version that can be wireless of 3G. And you can still buy it for $600. Best buy is not the only electronics store in the country or world. BestBuy, Amazon, CircuitCity, ( yes they do exist ), Sears, Buy.com, Walmart, Target, etc etc etc. So motorola can sell millions more if the consumer has the choice. They shouldnt be handcuffed just because verizon wants us to be. And your comment about the 3g/4g is incorrect in thinking. If you do your research, you can see that almost all the IPADS sold, 1/3 of them actually had 3G activated. So, your assumption, is wrong. There will be more wifi versions sold, simply because the consumer wont want to buy a tablet that is locked in to two years of data plan. Screw that. I dont see thousands of people running into verizon to buy the xoom. ITs just not happening cause you are locked into a data plan for a $600 model. Ridiculous.

  • brad
  • Hmmmm

    I just saw an article with a picture of a wifi only xoom. It seems that Motorola released the wifi only model in Japan the same day they released the carrier based model here. This tells me one thing for certain, and that is Motorola has plenty of wifi only xooms sitting in their warehouses. Here is what I think. Motorola is waiting for Apple to release the iPad 2, and to try and counter that, they will then release the wifi only model to try and suck the wind from Apples sails or sales for that matter. At least that is what I am hoping. But I tell you what, If Toshiba or someone else releases a quality, wifi only tablet running honeycomb before Motorola does, then they just lost all of my money. Too bad Too sad because their greed will once again kick them in the mouth. You know what? I will even go one step further. I would even buy the Toshiba tablet if they released it right now with froyo on it with a free OTA upgrade to honeycomb when it is available.

  • Aaron

    Yes Will- this is the typical highway robery of the service providers behmoths, all of them, and Verizon is no exception .

    I am waiting for Wd's announcement of iPad2. If Motorola doesn't react and provide a reasonable (Verizonless) WiFi Only- my tablet is gonna be Apple's.

    Now that finally Apple yanked itself from the schackles of AT&T (iPhone), I hope that Motoroal will free us all from the other bad guys.

  • Ann

    I'll probably buy an iPad 2. I really want the wifi Xoom, and think they are making a huge tactical error by not releasing it. Motorola needs to get in the game and show a viable alternative to the iPad; instead, they're playing games by only offering an overpriced product. I prefer the Xoom technology, but don't want to gamble on something that may not fly.

    iPad 2 will come out and everyone will forget the Xoom. Apple will continue to pull ahead. I can't stand Apple, but the competition needs to step it up to compete with them, and Motorola is letting Verizon shoot them in the foot.

    • brad

      I agree, I Hate apple products with a passion. But I have to admit, they have all there ducks in a row. They are providing technology for the consumer at responsible prices and many choices, as where Motorola at this point, is stuck up verizons back door.

      Yes, we can say that apple was stuck up ATT back door with the iphone, but at least it was one IPHONE, that sold with different storage sizes and one OS.

      They have a focus and a plan as where motorola and verizon are only looking at stroking each others back. Consumer is not there first and foremost reason to releasing products.

  • joraanma

    Im waiting for the Wifi, but I'll take a look at the iPad 2 next week and who knows.

  • wowlfie

    Just the hell with the Android Tablets if all released via phone companies. Buy the Ipad2 wifi only and you don't have to pay high prices or deal with phones company hassles!