Since Motorola rolled out its XOOM tablet computer at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the technology press has given it generally favorable reviews. Except for one thing.

At $800, critics expressed strong doubts the device could compete with Apple's iPad, which has more cache and a lower price tag. Now, Verizon Wireless hopes to have dampened that criticism.

As it announced today that it would begin selling the XOOM February 24, the wireless carrier also announced that it would subsidize the price as well. That is, it will for customers who sign a two-year service agreement.

Two-year data agreement

With a two-year service agreement, the XOOM will sell for $600. Without a service agreement, consumers will pay full price, $800.

Wireless 3G data service for the Motorola XOOM will begin at $20 monthly access for 1GB.  The device will be upgradeable to 4G LTE service at no additional charge in the second quarter of 2011, Verizon said.

The XOOM is the first device to run Google's new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system.  

Verizon says the Motorola XOOM incorporates the innovations of the Honeycomb user experience that improves on Android favorites such as widgets, multi-tasking, browsing, notifications and customization, as well as featuring the latest Google Mobile services.

The Motorola XOOM also features full support for tabbed browsing and support for the Adobe Flash Player, available soon as a free download, and setting it apart from its Apple counterpart.

The Motorola XOOM is built around a 1GHz dual-core processor and 10.1-inch widescreen HD display.  The sleek design features a front-facing 2-megapixel camera for video chats, as well as a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD.