Wi-Fi-only Xoom heading out, ‘only’ $599

Answering to complaints that the $800 Xoom is too expensive, Motorola has just announced a cheaper version set to debut at all the major big box stores.

The Xoom Wi-Fi ditches the device’s mobile data chip in exchange for a bit of a slash in the price tag. Unlike the mobile-equipped Xoom which sells for as much as $800, the Xoom Wi-Fi will go on sale on March 27 for $599.

The new device will be stocked at Best Buy, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, Staples, and Radio Shack. It will also be offered online at Amazon.

One of the biggest deals with the Xoom was its promise to use Verizon’s 4G network. Taking that out of the equation makes the Xoom less exciting, especially at a $599 price that is more expensive than the cheapest iPad 2.

However, the other big draw for the Xoom is that it’s the first to use Android 3.0, also known as “Honeycomb.” Google has said Honeycomb is the definitive version of Android for tablets, and the Xoom is the only one that has it right now.

Nevertheless, $599 is a lot of money. People buy full-fledged computers for less than that every day, and this device can’t even connect to mobile Internet. It can, of course, still have online connectivity when in range of a Wi-Fi connection.

The Xoom has gotten some mediocre reviews, but also some glowing commendations as well. It’s too early to write the book on the Xoom’s impact, but for now it remains a luxury item.