Analyst claims Motorola only sold 100,000 Xoom tablets

According to an analyst at Deutsche Bank, the Motorola Xoom has only sold approximately 100,000 units since its release on February 24. Nobody knows for sure how many Xooms have been sold since its release; Motorola has not provided any figures as of today. Hopefully, we’ll learn the true numbers during their next conference call.

The Deutsche Bank analyst arrived at the 100,000 figure by using a combination of the U.S. smartphone market share data released by ComScore and the Android Market data released by the Android developer site. So does 100,000 sold units make the Xoom a complete failure?

I personally don’t think that the Xoom is a failure at all. I’ve owned the Xoom since day one, and I love everything about it, even though it has its shortcomings. Ever since getting it, I find myself using my laptop less. I love the fact that I can customize it, have access to fast flash content, and pretty much use it for everyday tasks. When I bought the Xoom, I knew that I would be an early adopter. I also knew that it was going to be lacking some things from the start, and I didn’t mind.

Despite everything that I and other Xoom owners love about the Xoom, could it have sold more units if things were properly executed? Definitely. I think that a combination of things lead to the Xoom’s low sales

Bad Marketing Campaign

The first thing that Motorola and Verizon failed to properly do is market the Motorola Xoom. Have you ever seen a commercial for an iPad/iPod/iPhone? Those commercials don’t beat around the bush. They get to the point and tell you exactly what the device does. During the most watched event in the United States, instead of airing a commercial that would get people talking about the Xoom, Motorola decided to run that their 1984-type love story commercial for the Xoom. Compare that to the iPad commercial and you’ll see exactly what I mean:

Apple knows how to get people excited about their products. Do you know how many times the iPad was shown in that video? Over 22 times, and each time it was showing off the different things that it could do. The Xoom’s commercial on the other hand showed it about 6 times. A better ad would have been something that showed all the great things that the Xoom could do. During the biggest television event of the year Motorola delivered a dud.

Although Verizon did try to create better commercials, they didn’t such a good job either. Their commercials were fancy, but in the end, didn’t really create the buzz that the Xoom needed.

Things didn’t get better when one went to actually purchase a Xoom at local stores. Take Best Buy for example. Enter any Best Buy in America, and I’m 100% confident that you will see a big iPad display somewhere around. It’s really hard to enter one of these stores and not see the iPad prominently displayed. Where will you find the Xoom on the other hand? I don’t know..somewhere in the computer section, next to some netbooks or other products it doesn’t really belong with. I don’t know who’s fault this is, but I’m not entirely sure that Motorola had zero control over this.

Incomplete OS

Let’s face it, Honeycomb was not ready to be released, just not yet. Andy Rubin, the head of Android over at Google, said it himself that shortcuts were taken with the Honeycomb OS in order to have the Xoom shipped. All the Xoom early adopters are just beta testers. I don’t mind being a beta tester. But when consumers hear that something is going to have Adobe Flash, SD card access, 4G, etc, all of those things better be ready at launch. People knew that Honeycomb was being rushed since CES 2011 because they allowed nobody to really play with the OS. The fact that it’s not 100% ready probably changed people’s mind.

Lack of Options and Pricing

Another reason for the low sale figures can be attributed to the high price tag of the Xoom and the lack of options. Yes, compared to the 32GB iPad/iPad2, the Xoom is priced accordingly. But you know what? Consumers don’t care about what’s priced accordingly. All they care about is what they’re willing to pay. Having only one $800 option at launch really hurt Motorola’s sales. The iPad didn’t become the market leader by only selling a 32GB WiFi+3G model. Motorola should have offered the Xoom in both 3G and WiFi models from the beginning. In addition, they should’ve also offered 16GB and 64GB models at launch.

30% of the iPad 2’s sales comes from the 16GB WiFi model. Trailing in at second with 23% of sales is the 64GB WiFi+3G model. The 3G+WiFi 32GB model makes only 9% of iPad 2’s sales. (source)

I really believe that if things had been executed a little bit differently by Motorola and Google, sales figures for the Xoom would be a little higher right now. Even if only 100,000 units were sold, I don’t consider that a failure. This will definitely not be Motorola’s only tablet, and Google was definitely not relying on Motorola alone to single handedly become the new tablet king. As we all know, Google’s approach with Android is to give it out free, and let the manufacturers (as a group), battle Apple and iOS. There are already a number a great alternative Honeycomb tablets set launch this year. It worked with smartphones, and it will work with tablets.

Jonathan converted to the Android platform from Blackberry with the original Motorola Droid. He currently has a Samsung Galaxy Nexus complete with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Verizon Wireless, a Motorola Xoom, and a Kindle Fire. Besides keeping up with Android news, he enjoys spending time with his family, gaming, reading, and computers. Google+

Droid Matters