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Motorola Xoom's high price justified by its fast connectivity says mobile boss

Motorola's decision to slap a whopping $799 price tag on its Xoom tablet in the US may provoke fears of similar extortion here in the UK. Motorola Mobility boss Sanjay Jha thinks it's justified though.

Motorola's Xoom tablet doesn't have a confirmed UK price yet, but in the US the 4G and Wi-Fi version will cost a beefy $799 (£490). Motorola Mobility boss Sanjay Jha has defended the pricing, saying the tablet is worth it, especially when being used on a 4G network.

"We felt that our ability to deliver 50Mbps would justify the $799 price point. It is 32GB with 3G and a free upgrade to 4G. Being competitive with iPad is important," he tells Tech Europe. "We feel that from the hardware and capabilities we deliver we are at least competitive and in a number of ways better."

Jha also confirmed that there will be a Wi-Fi-only version of the Xoom that will be "meaningfully cheaper" than the 4G model. "The price is set by iPad at $599 and we will be right around there." Jha was referring to the cost of a 32GB Wi-Fi iPad in the US, which implies that if and when a Wi-Fi Xoom comes to the UK, it'll come in at around the £510 mark, the UK price of that model of iPad.

Earlier this week, Motorola announced that four UK retailers will be selling its new tablet by summer, with the Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy getting a 3G/Wi-Fi version, while PC World and Currys flog the Wi-Fi-only version.

Jha sounds keen to get us Europeans fired up about the Xoom and other Motorola devices, in contrast to our lukewarm response to Moto devices since the original Razr.

"Our brand today is weakest in Europe, and it requires more work and investment. We are repositioning our brand in a way that is new to the Europeans," he tells Tech Europe. "The last thing Europeans saw from us was the Razr, which was a very voice-centric phone. There is no doubt we have money to spend..."

With the Xoom likely to come at a premium, the question is whether we'll have money to spend on it in return, rather than rivals such as the HTC Flyer, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and LG Optimus Pad.

Motorola's device has a 10.1-inch screen, a dual-core processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera. Like the latter two of those rivals, it runs Google's Android 3.0 Honeycomb software.