Motorola’s Sanjay Jha defends steep price of Xoom

Motorola’s Xoom is slated for a $799 price tag leaving many analysts and tech watchers to scratch their heads. Apple is a company that’s captured enough of the zeitgeist to get away with a price premium so it’s rare for a company to choose a premium over an Apple product as a sensible pricing strategy. This… umm… strategy seems even more insane coming from a company like Motorola who, despite recent successes of the Droid line, is living on little more than a prayer. The Wall Street Journal had a sit down with co-CEO Sanjay Jha and he has an explanation and defense for the price point after the jump.

According to Jha, “We felt that our ability to deliver 50Mb/s would justify the $799 price point. It is 32GB with 3G and a free upgrade to 4G. Being competitive with iPad is important. We feel that from the hardware capabilities we deliver we are at least competitive and in a number of ways better [than the iPad].” So despite the clear and present danger, Motorola is determined to launch a device more expensive than the current market leader.

Jha went on to promise a Wi-Fi-only version but would not be pinned on a specific price. In his words, it would be “meaningfully cheaper. The price is set by iPad at $599 and we will be right around there.”

So there you have it. Motorola feels that offering 4G speeds is good enough reason to launch a device more expensive than the market leader. Perhaps in his only moment of true caution in the interview, he showed a little concern at the sell-through and return rate of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. As Engadget¬†so helpfully noted, the $800 Xoom doesn’t actually come with 4G connectivity from the get-go, though Jha ensures that the LTE upgrade will be free.¬†Engadget also notes that despite the 50 megabit per second speeds claimed by Sanjay Jha, and the 33 megabit per second speed that they managed at CES 2011, they typically only manage less than half that speed on a day-to-day basis.

Via [Wall Street Journal]