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Motorola’s much-anticipated Android-powered Xoom tablet will sell for $840 outright when it goes on sale exclusively at Telstra from May 24, the company announced at a well-attended media briefing in Sydney last night.

Motorola’s much-anticipated Android-powered Xoom tablet will sell for $840 outright when it goes on sale exclusively at Telstra from May 24, the company announced at a well-attended media briefing in Sydney yesterday.

That compares with a starting price of $579 for the basic 16GB Wi-Fi-only Apple iPad 2. But when configured with Wi-Fi and 3G and 32GB of memory, matching the Xoom specs, the iPad goes for $839 – just $1 less than the new Xoom.

The Xoom is not at this stage being sold in a Wi-Fi-only version, but Timo Brouwer, MD of Motorola Mobility A/NZ, says that should happen down the track.

While the outright prices of Xoom and iPad 2 are similar, Moto will have an advantage in being able to offer Telstra’s zero-upfront monthly payment plans. Fifty-four bucks a month ($29 for the data plan, $25 for repayment) over 24 months gets you a Xoom with a 1GB data allowance.

For $74 a month you get the device plus 7GB of data. And for $94 you can have a Xoom with 12GB of data.

Similar bundled deals aren’t available on the iPad, since Apple does not offer its tablet through carriers: only via retailers and Apple’s own online and retail stores.

The Xoom has a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra processor, a 10.1-inch widescreen display, 1080 HD playback on TV via an optional dock, front and rear cameras, a micro-USB port and a battery claimed to play for up to 10 hours and recharge in 3.5.

It weighs 740 grams compared with the iPad 2’s 601g, and runs on Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google’s first version of the software designed specifically for tablets.

Motorola also yesterday also unveiled its Atrix smartphone, also powered by a 1GHz Tegra processor – and also selling exclusively through Telstra for $840, or via a series of monthly plans. It goes on sale tomorrow.

Telstra has a three-month exclusive on both devices.

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