Breakdown Reveals Xoom Cost To Build: $278

Motorola’s Xoom, the first Android 3.0 tablet to get into consumer hands (if you don’t count hacked Nook Colors), has a total build cost of about $278, according to UBM TechInsights and iSuppli, as reported by the WSJ. That’s $33 more than the iPad’s cost-to-build estimate. On the consumer pricing front, an iPad with 3G and 32GB of storage costs $729, while the Xoom is $799. Motorola is, of course, going to have to defend the insensible comparisons between the Xoom and the iPad’s costs and pricing. As far as I’m concerned, as far as hardware goes, the Xoom has the iPad beat by a pretty large margin, and let’s not forget that the iPad costs the same as it did a year ago.

The difference, say the analysts, is mainly in the cameras and higher-resolution display. Of course, the chipset is superior as well, with the Tegra 2 providing better graphical capabilities and the 4G upgrade included in the Xoom’s price.

That said, it’s hard to provide an apples-to-apples comparison, especially since the iPad actually has a higher-quality screen by some standards, and also the Xoom doesn’t offer a cheaper version, like the $500 base iPad. Android 3.0 itself isn’t exactly proven yet, either, and the iPad has already gotten some value-add in the form of the 4.3 update, which added multitasking and other enhancements.

The take-away here is that it’s a complicated situation and people will want to oversimplify. If I had to summarize, I’d say that by hardware standards, the Xoom is very competitive with the iPad, but without a ~$500 option, they’re going to have trouble mobilizing consumers who are on the fence.

At any rate, things might change in a couple days when the new iPad hits, so let’s all just take a chill pill until then, yeah?