Would you pay $200 for Motorola XOOM LTE?

Verizon kicked off helluva holday sale for XOOM LTE on Black Friday -- and you can still get it today online: $199.99 with new two-year activation. But hurry, if interested. Surely pricing like this can't last. That's $529.99 less than the closest comparable iPad 2, and you won't get an LTE radio from Apple.

Is that price low enough for you to buy? In February, when XOOM pricing first leaked, I asked: "Would you pay 800 bucks for the Motorola XOOM?" Eh, no, you wouldn't. You didn't like $600, when I asked about it later on. But now the price is way less, so I'm asking again. Would you pay $200 for Motorola XOOM LTE? Please answer in comments.

Based on a BetaNews tablet pricing poll, $199.99 is just about right. Among the 1,200-plus respondents, 30.31 percent said $199 would be low enough for them to buy a media tablet. For $199 and below -- 64.53 percent; $299 and below -- 92.96 percent. So the majority of respondents aren't willing to pay as much as the cheapest iPad 2: $499. The comparable Apple tablet, with 32GB storage, sells for $729.

Of course, that XOOM requires a 2-year data contract, which the non-LTE, 3G/WiFi iPad 2 doesn't. But for anyone planning to regularly use data anyway, does it matter? You pay less up front and get big data-speed boost. Verizon promises 5Mbps-12Mbps downstream over LTE compared to 600Kbps to 1.4Mbps over 3G.

Let's do some real-world price comparison. Upfront cost for XOOM LTE is $199.99 with minimum $30 per month for 2GB data. Upfront cost for comparable iPad 2 is the aforementioned $729. XOOM LTE then has, comparably, a $529.99 credit to apply against data service -- 17 months against the 24-month contractual commitment. Unless the iPad 2 buyer only plans six months of data, XOOM LTE is the better deal -- and that's ignoring faster bandwidth benefits.

Looked at differently, and acknowledging the iPad 2 user isn't committed to any contract, the holiday-priced XOOM LTE costs $919.99 over two years compared to $1,449 for Apple's tablet, when including data. Buyers could reduce iPad 2 data costs by $120 buying an AT&T model, if opting for the 2GB plan, which is $25 a month. AT&T offers 250MB plan for $15 a month, too. I wouldn't take it for a tablet.

By the way, Verizon's no-commitment, month-to-month data option raises price to $669.99, which is still less than the 32GB iPad 2.

Quick specs:

XOOM LTE: 1GHz dual-core nVidia Tegra 2 processor; 10.1-inch display with 1280 x 800 resolution; 1GB of RAM; 32GB internal storage, expandable to 64GB with MicroSD card; 5-megapixel back-facing and 2-megapixel front-facing cameras; 720p video recording; 1080p video playback; HDMI and USB 2.0 ports; WiFi N; Bluetooth; accelerometer; barometer; gyroscope; Android 3.2 (Honeycomb).

iPad 2: 1GHz dual-core Apple A5 processor; 9.7 inch display with 1024 x 768 resolution; 512MB of RAM; 32GB internal storage (non-expandable); front-and-rear cameras; 720p video playback; WiFi N; Bluetooth; accelerometer; barometer; gyroscope; and iOS 5. There is no HDMI port and external USB connector costs $29 extra.

I've been using a XOOM WiFi, and really like it -- more than the iPad 2 I sold several months ago. Both products appeal differently, and I won't debate Android vs iOS. I leave that to commenters. The point of this post is twofold: To see who finds $199.99 low enough for XOOM (or any tablet) and to compare Apple and Motorola tablets on a purely cost basis, which is the criteria that will matter most to many bargain shoppers over the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday shopping period. Geeks argue operating systems and ecosystems.

So, would you or will you buy Moto XOOM LTE for $199.99? Please respond in comments.

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