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Motorola announces cheaper Xoom

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Motorola has announced a cheaper version of its Xoom tablet that takes on the iPad where it is strongest ‚ its price. However, the Xoom Family Edition has only 16GB of storage, and connects only via WiFi, reports SEAN BACHER

Motorola has announced that it is selling a new, entry-level Xoom tablet – the Xoom Family Edition for $400 (R3 200 if converted directly).

Motorola is not the first company to drop the price of its tablets. Companies like Research In Motion, HTC, Acer and Toshiba have all recently dropped their tablet prices. The reason is quite clear – iPad alternatives are not selling as well as anticipated. Estimates have revealed that only 3.4 million tablets using Android’s Honeycomb operating system have been sold to date, compared to Apple’s 25 million iPads up to the beginning of June 2011.

The original Motorola Xoom, launched locally in August, was one of the first tablets to come pre-installed with the Android 3.0 operating system ‚ an OS specifically designed for large format tablets or tablets using a 10.1‚ display. That Xoom featured 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, WiFi and 3G connectivity and retailed for R6 600 at the time of launch.

The new Xoom Family Edition runs Android Honeycomb version 3.1, features only 16GB of storage space and will only be able to connect to the Internet via WiFi. The tablet features applications especially designed for children, such as the Kid Zone app developed by Zoodles. However, it does not just cater for children, as the tablet will also feature standard Android applications like QuickOffice.

Users will also be able to download additional applications from the Android Market. Other specifications include a 10.1‚ capacitive touchscreen with a 1280X800 resolution and a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra processor ‚ exactly the same as the original 32GB version.

Is this price drop enough?

Although dropping the price is a step in the right direction, it may be too little too late for this generation of tablet. For just R1 000 more you can get the entry-level iPad. And if you really want to get a cheap Android tablet, there’s the Kindle Fire, which will retail for $200 (about R1 600) if you buy it direct from Amazon.

See our review of the original Motorola Xoom 32GB, which we’ve put through the Gadget Ten Question Tablet test.

* Follow Sean on Twitter on @seanbacher

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