06
Apr

 

No doubt you've seen at least one mention of the 100,000-XOOM sales figure somewhere on the web today - and for me, it has reached the point of mild annoyance. From this number, all sorts of wild extrapolations and theories are being tossed around about Motorola's future, Android's future, and the viability of tablets in an Apple-dominated market.

Boy Genius Report took a step back, and presented a level-headed but clearly pro-XOOM take on the news:

So, according to Deutsche Bank, Motorola has sold 100,000 XOOM tablets in less than a month and a half, which is an average of over 75,000 units per month. That’s a flop?

The XOOM starts at $600, which means that is is responsible for $60 million in hardware sales at a bare minimum. That’s a flop?  (emphasis ours)

What's being said there is something that probably rings true in the heads of most of you, our Android-loving (or at least Android-neutral) readers, and myself as well. Motorola launched a device in a market dominated by a single manufacturer, running an unfinished operating system, and at a pretty high price point. When you look at it that way, it kind of sounds like a product suicide mission, right?

Business Insider took the more predictable approach, calling the XOOM a "flop," comparing its sales and traffic to that of the iPad:

During March, Android 3.0 Honeycomb -- the OS running on the Xoom -- represented 0.07% of Business Insider's visits.

For comparison, the iPad was 3.1% of our visits, about 50 times bigger.

Fact aside that the iPad and iPad 2 are both included in that figure, it's pretty much the same way Deutschebank got to that 100,000 unit estimate - by analysis of web traffic. It's not the most accurate method in the world, but it's all we've got unless Google or Motorola start tossing numbers around.

But if we do assume it to be true for our purposes here, that still pegs XOOM sales at a rate of about 75,000 units per month, as BGR said. It's certainly not being beaten by any other Android tablet out there, and frankly its hardware and features will still be highly competitive when facing off against upcoming devices like the LG G-Slate and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

With the addition of a Verizon LTE model to the Motorola arsenal this summer, it'll have a new killer-feature as well. The XOOM is floating around in uncharted waters, and so far has done the best job navigating the iSea that is the tablet market.

It's not perfect, though, and it pretty clearly remains an enthusiast device. Our own staff have complained of the XOOM's finicky software and tendency to crash - no doubt the result of apparently significant gremlins Google has yet to purge from Honeycomb. There's also the decided lack of good tablet applications outside the ones Google offers, and iOS's vastly superior (for now) tablet game selection (including titles from Epic Games).

When you're up against a competitor that rules a market in such an outright fashion (~75% market share), that's a regime you're not going to topple overnight. Apple already has the app infrastructure, the advertising, repeat customers, and a reputation behind its tablet. Motorola, HTC, and Samsung have an uphill battle ahead of them, and they know it.

The XOOM is the first Android device to provide a dedicated tablet experience - I think Motorola was quite prepared for less than stellar sales, but they're also getting valuable feedback to perfect the XOOM's successor. They'll probably be the first to the fight on the next generation of Android tablets because of it, as well.

The market balked at the Nexus One for its abysmal sales figures. Who bought the Nexus One? Developers, generally - it's still probably the most-used developer phone, perhaps next to the original DROID. Who's buying the XOOM? The same group of people - the ones that want to be on the bleeding edge. And compared to the Nexus One, the XOOM is actually selling quite well. The Android tablet community is young, and only now is there a competitive device available with Google backing, and that's kind of important in getting the confidence of developers.

That community will build momentum, manufacturers will compete, people will buy more Android tablets every month. And I think we'll see the same snowballing effect that launched Android phones into relevance - we just need to give it some time.

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • TriadX1

    I am very satisfied with my Xoom. I wouldn't ever trade it for an iPad... The fact is there will be millions of Honeycomb tablets in use in the next months (Motorola or not), so I have no fear of having an orphan...

    • Tyler

      so am i! got it 2 days ago and cant put it down..rooted and running at 1.5hertz! speed demon !

      Great article David.

  • Donatom3

    They need a 16gb wifi model priced at $499 to really start selling in higher quantities.

    • http://zalzalaweb.com/jens anakin78z

      I doubt it would make much of a difference, but you should e-mail Motorola.

      I think the Galaxy Tab 8.9 16gb will indeed look mighty tempting at $469 though.

  • Eric

    Before the xoom came out, the ipad had about 73% of the market, with the tab at about 15%. This is according to IDC. Numbers like 95% need sourcing.

    http://www.loopinsight.com/2011/03/10/idc-ipad-market-share-to-stay-70-80-percent-in-2011/

    How did the ipad gain 20% market post xoom launch?

  • Razor

    Asus will release a wifi model at a way lower pricepoint than that, with the xoom's specs.

  • Larry

    I have no idea who made the decision to price the XOOM at it's various price points, but that person needs to be fired. If you don't beat Apple's price you won't sell. Specs don't matter. The wifi 16gb version should cost $399. End of story. Let's hope asus realizes this with the transformer.

    • Asphyx

      You forget that Apple is underpricing the iPads because they also own the app market.

      Motorola does not have it's own locked in Only source market so have to make money on what the hardware costs to produce.

      They can't nickel and dime you on apps and services the way Apple does!

      • http://androidized.com Lucian Armasu

        Apple doesn't make that much money from apps, definitely not from iPad apps which are much fewer.

        • Asphyx

          And how much does Moto make off app sales?

          Apple makes more than enough not just on Apps but on music as well.

          Your a captive audience once you buy an iPad! regardless of how many apps there are available any money you spend on the unit will be going through Apple's systems.

        • chris_in_HD

          Haha, yeah I'm sure Apple don't make that much on the apps....must be peanuts.

  • wirbly

    I finally got to play with a Xoom yesterday, and I gotta tell you, it ran like crap. Slow touch response, frame-skippy action all over the GUI. Was the unit I was playing with having issues, or is this currently the state of Android 3.0? Cuz man, no wonder Google hasn't released the source yet. :) (I'm not trolling - I'm actually a Nexus One toting developer who loves Android)

  • JesterOC

    I played with one at a best buy over the weekend, the one I used worked OK. For the most part is was quite smooth. However the UI was not as intuitive as the iPad. I played with an ipad 2 also and while the UI was more intuitive it felt much more restrictive. It really felt like it was designed to run only one app at a time and no more.

    I am waiting for the Tab 8.9 I am hoping it will be the holy grail of what I want. Lightweight, fast, Honeycomb and a good price.

  • whosaidwhat

    This shouldn't shock anyone at all. I would be shocked if they sold a lot more than 100k. A lot of people don't want to spend $800 on a first gen tablet.

    Motorola messed up big time on the pricing and the availability of the WIFI only version. Perhaps, Verizon paid them enough (for the 3G/4G exclusivity) to make up for the poor sales.

  • Neil Phillips

    I tried the Xoom in Best Buy. Wasn't impressed with it at all. Went back the next morning and bought the WiFi model. Love it. It was much different once we got it home and played with it for a little while. This is a NICE tablet!

    There is one thing about it that I hate. And it's not even the Xoom, it's the Portfolio Case. When the Xoom sits in the case with the cover underneath.... the top slips down and the case presses the lower volume button and lowers the volume. This is VERY irritating! I wish they would have made some kind of indents in the Xoom and protrusions in the Case to keep it in place. I don't know how to fix this, other than some duct tape! Terrible design of a case for the unit. Only other fix is to turn the tablet upside down in the case. This does work.

  • http://blog.iangclifton.com Ian G. Clifton

    Maybe Business Insider should serve a real webpage to Xoom users instead of a gimped phone version.

  • ocdtrekkie

    Honestly, everyone I've showed my Xoom to has been amazed by it. And I've shown people who were considering an iPad, and they instantly saw the added features and capabilities of an OS like Android. And I'm not talking computer geeks here.

    It's a slow start, and not everyone knows what it is, like everyone knows what an iPad is. But I've also seen market surveys and such, that ask if I have an iPad, Xoom, or Other. It's already got more brand power than the Galaxy Tab ever did in the general consumer place.

    Nobody heard of the G1 when it came out, and it's the progenitor to the number one phone platform.

  • Raptor007

    I have the XOOM, so far I am very happy with the purchase. I definitely see things that need to be updated etc, most importantly they need the 4G radio & microSD Support. Without those Apple has the edge. On thing Motorola should do is include a 32GB microSD card which would make it the true price leader.

    So when are we getting 4G and the microSD card.

  • shane

    Writing this on a xoom.. Ive not turned on the house ipad since getting it (xoom) a few weeks ago. Not having crashes here, and honeycomb makes iOS/iPad interface look like a tablet put out by fisherprice for 2 year olds.. it will only get better, and the only thing holding back honeycomb dominance is price, which will solve itself when the rest of the honeycomb tablets hit the market..

  • Stuart

    These numbers for the Xoom only represent what had been sold in the US as its the only place you can buy one at the moment where as the iPad in comparison is worldwide. I wish they would get their act together and quit the idiotic idea of exclusivity and launch things worldwide.

  • http://andyhall.org Andy

    Compared to the iPad 2, of course it's a flop. In it's own right, it's been fairly successful, besides we're only a month and a half into it's life on the market. Let's give it another month and a half to see how it pans out then. Let's hope Moto learns from the competition to make a very compelling Xoom 2 also.

    • SiliconAddict

      The Xoom is a perfectly fine device. The sole problem is price. $800 for a cellular equipped always on tablet is asinine. (Add tax and a case and all of a sudden you are damn close to a grand.) Add to the fact that there are obviously bugs in Honeycomb that Google is still sorting out and you have a recipe for failure. Moto was trying to milk pent up demand for an Android 3.0 tablet with a slick advertising campaign and hoping that people would ignore the $800 price point. Guess what? They didn't. God knows I didn't and I was DAMN close to buying a Verizon Xoom.

  • http://www.techloaded.com Dave

    for those who have used slow Xooms, the one at my local best buy is really slow but that is mainly because they've got it all loaded up with all kinds of crapware, stuff meant for phones, etc. Livewallpapers seem to slow it down a lot too, so while they are cool, I turn them off in order to be able to get the best experience. Again, it's all about choice. If you want the little walled garden that Apple gives you, by all means get an iPad. The Xoom is just far more customizable and the number of available apps is rising rather quickly. And for reading email/ebooks/the web or watching videos the iPad can't hold a candle to it.

  • http://xoomtabletblog.com/ Bobby Mikels

    If the figures are right that Motorola Xoom sold only a total of 100,000 units compared to the 350,000 to 400,000 range of Apple iPad 2, then it is really a no contest. I did not expect it to be like this. I thought that Xoom will be a very close second since they are highly regarded as a better choice than iPad 2. It seems that all the so-called experts who predicted that Xoom will be the next big thing are thinking how it failed. But on the other hand, they are right that Xoom is far more superior, specs wise. It is just too early to count out Xoom since they are just released in the market for few weeks.

  • Mark

    Business Insider? LOL. Their consumer reach isn't big enough to be considered "the ultimate word" on Xoom sales. What a bunch of crock...

  • http://None Neil

    "and frankly its hardware and features will still be highly competitive when facing off against upcoming devices like the LG G-Slate and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1"

    Really?

    Samsung Tab 10.1 is going to be way thinner than the XOOM. The XOOM is a bulky piece of hardware. What makes you say XOOM can compete against the portability of to-be-launched Samsung Tab 10.1?????

    • SiliconAddict

      Were people complaining that the first gen iPad was bulky? Because the Zoom is the same damn size.

      At a certain point people don't give a rats *** about how thin a device is as long as its not overly thick. And I'm sorry the Xoom IS thin. The only people who are overly concerned about thickness are i Tards who NEED to have the trendiest thing on the block.
      And frankly anyone in the know won't touch Samsung's support lacking crap. Thanks but I'm not buying a device that may have a 40% chance of seeing the next version of Android ported to it. Samsung's past behavior makes this a distinct possibility. See the previous Tab and lacking Honeycomb as a perfect example of this.

  • SiliconAddict

    At the end of the day how much a company makes means NOTHING. Look at Apple. For how long have they made a killing on overpriced hardware. But it wasn't until they switched platforms, and started ramping up sales did the industry and developers take them seriously. The Xoom IS a flop at the current price point and the devices coming onto the market in the next few months will prove this. I considered dropping $800 for a tablet for a while...but in the end, $800 is too damn much for a secondary device that will be obsolete within 8 months. $600 MAYBE. But no way in hell after tax, and after a case am I dropping close to a grand on a tablet.

  • Apc

    I'm hoping the Xoom will succeed but their ads on tv make no sense at all. What the hell are they selling? They should show how it helps you do more things in your life rather going overboard with the " The Minority Report" wiz bang futuristic crap the ad is all about.

  • Randy

    I'm not as much concerned about the xoom (which by the way I have and love) competing with the ipad and taking off and being the number 1 tablet in the market as much as I am that the development scene taking off.

    I care more that Android get more tablet supported apps and developers working on making this device better.

  • http://www.howtodownloadipadmovies.com/ How To Download iPad Movies

    Motorola XOOM is a great gadget for me, it has a 10.1-inch HD Tablet Offers Dual-Core Processing, Google’s Honeycomb Platform, and 1080p HD Video Content Support that is very clear. Motorola XOOM redefines the tablet device category by providing more ways to have fun, connect with friends and stay productive on the go.

  • http://downloadfreeipadmovies.blogspot.com/ Download Free iPad Movies

    I have a ZOOM, I like this device because it has a powerful features and its specs is very fast like a computer. I have also different application that was installed on my ZOOM.