When I reviewed the Motorola DROID XYBOARD a couple of weeks ago, I was impressed with just about everything – except the ridiculous on-contract price. Verizon seems to have gotten the message (possibly after some less than stellar sales) and have lowered the contract price for both the 10.1-inch and 8.2-inch models by $50 each. Unfortunately, it looks like the name is staying put.

The price drop means that the DROID XYBOARD 10.1 comes in at $479, $579 and $679 for the 16, 32 and 64 GB versions, respectively, and $379 and $479 for the 16 and 32GB versions of the 8.2 inch model. That’s at least comparable to other Android tablets on competing carriers, but the initial price isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. These prices still require a two-year data contract starting at $30 a month, something that the iPad doesn’t require. 4G speeds may help ease the sticker shock, but not enough for yours truly to re-up for yet another recurring payment.

If you’re interested in the XYBOARD hardware without the superfluous monthly contract, you might want to wait a few months. Motorola is likely to release WiFi-only models using the XOOM 2 branding. The non-contract tablets are already being sold in Europe, and the original WiFi XOOM came out a few months after Verizon’s exclusive launch in 2011. Then again, with CES right around the corner you’ll probably want to wait anyway: there’s a lot of exciting developments from Acer, Asus, Lenovo and Samsung in the pipeline.

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[via TechCrunch]

  • Why doesn’t Verizon subsidize tablet prices like they do for phones? Having a tablet with LTE would be great because for $30 you get 2GB of data that you can share via wireless hot spot. Additional data is $10 per GB. Compare this to a MiFi, where the cheapest plan is $50 for 5 GB. If you’re not a huge data user, and the reason you have a MiFi is for a tablet, this will save you money on your monthly bill. That said, these have no external storage, unlike my Acer A500, which has a microSD slot and a full size USB port. These Xyboard tablets are way overpriced, but with subsidies from Verizon, they could be made more attractive.