Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi gets a US release date

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Motorola has announced a March 27 release date for the Wi-Fi version of its new Xoom tablet, with a price tag of US$599

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As promised at this year's CES, Motorola has announced that the Wi-Fi version of its Xoom Android tablet will be available this month. The 10.1-inch device is the first tablet to benefit from all the widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization capabilities of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), and is powered by a 1GHz dual-core processor supported by a gigabyte of RAM. It's not as thin as the new iPad 2 but is by no means chunky at 0.5-inch (12.9mm) and does sport a 1280 x 800 resolution (150ppi), high definition touchscreen display with HDMI-out for onward connection to a big screen TV.

As is expected these days, the flavor of Wi-Fi is 802.11a/b/g/n. There's a two megapixel front-facing webcam and a five megapixel snapper at the rear with dual LED flash. Over 150,000 applications are available from the Android Market, including the beta version of Adobe's Flash Player 10.2.

The tablet also features an eCompass, barometer, gyroscope and assisted GPS functionality, with Google Maps and Google Latitude. Users are able to customize up to five home screens, the display's brightness will automatically adjust according to ambient lighting and there's a microUSB 2.0 port for physical connectivity, with microSD media support to follow after a future software upgrade. The 24.5W/hr battery is claimed to offer up to ten hours of video playback and about two weeks on stand-by.

The Xoom will be offered at Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, RadioShack, Staples, Walmart and selected Sam's club stores from March 27. As if rising to the Apple challenge, the 32GB Xoom carries a suggested retail of US$599 – the same as the 32GB Wi-Fi iPad 2.

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