US telecom titan Verizon on Thursday will begin selling Motorola Mobility’s hotly awaited “Xoom” tablet computer at a price close to that of a top-of-the-line iPad. Xoom will be the first tablet on the market powered by “Honeycomb” software crafted specifically for such devices by Internet powerhouse Google and has been heralded as a viable challenger for Apple’s market-ruling iPad.
Xoom will be sold for $800, but the price will be trimmed to $600 for those who opt for two-year service contracts with Verizon. Wireless 3G plans will begin at $20 monthly for a gigabyte of data. The six iPad models range in price from $500 to $830 with the three higher-priced models having 3G mobile telecom connection capabilities while the three less costly tablets only link to the Internet using Wi-Fi at hot spots.
With a 10.1-inch (25.6-centimeter) screen, the Xoom is about the same size as Apple’s iPad, which hit stores in April and has other leading technology companies around the world scrambling to catch up.