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MWC: Motorola Xoom Tablet To Hit UK High Street In Q2

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Carphone Warehouse gets the 3G version of Motorola’s Xoom, PC World gets the Wi-Fi one. So far, no operator deals

Motorola’s flagship Xoom tablet, running Android 3.0 Honeycomb, will arrive in UK stores including Carphone Warehouse and PC World in the second quarter of 2011, the company has said. The announcement of specific stores confirms earlier reports from Mobile World Congress.

The higher-end device, including both 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities, will be sold by the Carphone Warehouse group including Best Buy stores, whereas the Wi-Fi-only version will be available from DSG Group, which includes Currys and PC World. There is no word on the price, and no deals through mobile phone operators have yet been announced.

The Xoom’s high price is a concern, as Motorola’s Sanjay Jha says it will be a “premium” device that does not undercut the cost of an iPad. In the US, where the tablets are announced through operator Verizon as well as in shops, and should ship this month, the 3G version will cost $799 (£493) and the Wi-Fi only version will cost $599 (£370).

The year of the tablet?

“2011 will be the year of the tablet,” said Graham Stapleton, chief commercial officer at The Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy. “Demand for tablets has already been greater than expected and the next 12 months will see them being adopted by more and more people as new products are unveiled. The Motorola Xoom sets the bar incredibly high – its functionality and ground-breaking features mean it offers one of the richest user experiences I’ve ever seen.”

Motorola unveiled the Xoom in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. At that point Android 3.0 was still only half-baked, but the device still wowed the CES crowds with its custom widgets, notifications and 3D Google Maps.

The Xoom runs Android 3.0 Honeycomb, which Google has confirmed is for tablets only. It has a 1GHz dual-core processor, a 10.1-inch widescreen HD display, with 1,280 x 800 resolution. Supporting HD video and packing an HDMI port, it’s an entertainment device. It also has a 5 Megapixel rear camera and a 2 Megapixel camera on the front. It also has a built-in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, accelerometer and adaptive lighting.

Xoom’s accessories include video/music docks and a Bluetooth wireless keyboard with Android shortcut keys.