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Motorola Xoom tablet threatens iPad 2 with £450 pre-order price tag

The 32GB, Wi-Fi-only Motorola Xoom Android tablet has been made available for pre-order on PC World's website for a very reasonable £450 -- £60 less than the equivalent iPad.

Motorola has Apple in its crosshairs, as the Xoom 32GB, Wi-Fi-only model has today gone up for preorder for a mere £450 at PC World. That's £60 less than the equivalent 32GB iPad, and only £10 more than the 16GB version. Well played, Moto.

It seems Motorola is hoping to steal a little of Apple's thunder by announcing such a competitive price the day before Apple is set -- we think -- to unveil its second-generation iPad.

The Motorola Xoom was a hot topic at Mobile World Congress with its front and rear cameras, powerful dual-core processors and the latest Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, specifically designed to run on tablets. The Xoom performed well in our hands-on tests and we were very taken with Honeycomb -- especially its excellent browser and Flash integration.

The price of the Xoom was once rumoured to be a whopping £720, but thankfully Motorola has apparently seen some sense and dropped that down to actually compete with Apple, rather than just make it laugh.

There's been a mountain of speculation about the iPad 2 and we're looking forward to see what Apple eventually reveals, but the strong specs and reasonable pricing of the Xoom means the Cupertino company has its work cut out to convince the world it's still the tablet king, especially if the iPad 2 comes with the sort of steep price tag we expect.

If Androidy goodness is your thing, you can place your order at PC World now, but we'd suggest you at least wait and see what Apple has up its sleeve tomorrow.

Update: PC World has updated its page, removing the £450 price tag. "Motorola actually hasn't released a price for the Xoom yet. What went up this morning was a draft holding page that was put up by accident," a spokesperson told us. When we find out the real price you'll be the first to know.