Motorola Xoom sales disappoint with only 100,000 units sold thus far; iPad remains the tablet to beat

Launched on February 24, the Xoom entered the marketplace with a lot of hype and advertising muscle behind it. But marketing will only take you so far. A new report from Deutsche Bank claims that Motorola has only sold 100,000 Xoom tablets thus far.

As Apple finally starts to balance supply with exceedingly strong iPad demand, one tablet that isn't quite living up to expectations is the Motorola Xoom.

Launched on February 24, the Xoom entered the marketplace with a lot of hype and advertising muscle behind it, complete with an expensive Super Bowl ad slot. But marketing will only take you so far. The Xoom was not only more expensive than comparable iPad models on launch, but delivered a subpar user experience to boot. While the Xoom is the only device currently running Android 3.0 Honeycomb, a number of Xoom reviews all speculated that Honeycomb was rushed to market in an attempt to get a leg up on theiPad 2, the result being buggy software and an OS that many referred to as a beta-quality. And higher than anticipated return rates for the device only compound matters.

That said, it's not at all surprising that Xoom sales are tanking.

The first inkling that Xoom sales were disappointing came in mid-March when Jefferies analyst Peter Misekwrote that Xoom sales were coming in well below Motorola's internal projections and that company was contemplating scaling back production.

And now comes a new report from Deutsche Bank who claims that Motorola has only sold 100,000 Xoom tablets thus far. Deutch Bank obtained the 100,000 figure by looking at the Android developer website and ascertaining how many people were actually using Honeycomb. The Guardian subsequently vetted the 100,000 estimate and found it to be reasonable.

By way of comparison, Apple sold over 300,000 units of the original iPad on the first day it went on sale. Apple would go on to sell over 1 million units of the original iPad in just 28 days and approximately 15 million iPads during the 9 months it was available in 2010. Meanwhile, the iPad 2 is selling much faster than its predecessor, driving home the point that competitors are going to have a much tougher time competing against the iPad than they did the iPhone.

Not only are manufacturers struggling to match Apple's iPad pricepoint, but the Android Market houses little to nothing of substance with respect to dedicated tablet applications. And sure, competitors can tout hardware specs all they want, but the popularity of mobile app stores underscores the importance of software in the mobile space. And in that regard, Apple is miles ahead of the competition with respect to tablets.

Now let's be clear. 100,000 units in just over a month is nothing to scoff at, but for a device that was supposed to give the iPad some healthy competition, the Xoom has failed to deliver. To be fair, it's still relatively early in the game, and we all saw how quickly Android was able to bridge the gap with Apple's iPhone, but again, the tablet space is markedly different from the smartphone space. While Android lightning might strike twice, we wouldn't bet on it.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.