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Motorola Xoom zooming into US shops this month for £500

Best Buy has revealed a price and release date for the hotly anticipated Motorola Xoom tablet, the first to run Google's new Android 3.0 Honeycomb software.

The hotly anticipated Motorola Xoom tablet will go on sale in the US on 24 February for $800 (£500), retailer Best Buy has revealed. The Xoom will be the first tablet to be powered by Android 3.0 Honeycomb, the forthcoming tablet-specific version of Google's mobile operating system.

The Xoom was named Best in Show at annual techfest CES earlier this year. It's a dual-core tablet with an HDMI connection and 32GB of storage, 3G and 802.11n Wi-Fi, two USB ports and an SD card slot. There's a 2-megapixel camera for video calling and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with two LED photo lights for proper snapping and video.

The Best Buy date and price, revealed in a print ad spotted by Engadget, are for the US, where a Xoom ad is currently taking a dig at white earpod-wearing Apple users (original!). The Xoom will be only be on sale across the pond with a Verizon 3G data contract, starting at $20 (£12) for 1GB of data per month -- even if you have no intention of using it over 3G. We'd be surprised if the Xoom was locked to a network and had this extra hidden cost when it arrives in the UK, but stranger things have happened.

The first hint at a Xoom price came from UK site Handtec, which vacillated between £660 and £720. Handtec's listing now reads "Price to be confirmed", suggesting its previous guesses were probably just publicity stunts.

Best Buy's standing means we give its price more credence, but there's still plenty of scope for it to change -- as we saw with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which saw a see-saw of prices whip up a storm of debate among CNET UK readers. We expect the same debate to rage around the trailblazing Xoom, crystallising around the question: should it cost more than the Apple iPad? Tell us your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

Photo credit: Engadget