Motorola has gone on the defensive over its $800 price tag for the XOOM.

Speaking with the press at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Motorola mobility chief Sanjay Jha went on the defensive in regards to the pricing of the new XOOM tablet.  “We felt that our ability to deliver 50Mb/s would justify the $799 price point,” Mr. Jha said according to The Wall Street Journal. “It is 32GB with 3G and a free upgrade to 4G. Being competitive with iPad is important. We feel that from the hardware and capabilities we deliver we are at least competitive and in a number of ways better [than the iPad].”

A comparable version of the iPad retails currently for $729.

Mr. Jha did confirm that a Wi-Fi only version of the tablet would be coming to stores also, and while he wouldn’t confirm a price, he did hint that it would be around the $599 price of a 32GB Wi-Fi only iPad.  We had reported yesterday that the price looked to be $600, so that does seem to be confirmation of that news.

In what may have been the most intriguing comment of the press briefing was Mr. Jha’s comment that he found the sell-thru and return rate of the Samsung Galaxy Tab “concerning”.  As we reported previously, some reports said that the return rate has been as high as 16 percent, but Samsung said it was in line with the reported two percent rate that Apple sees with its iPad.  While Motorola is sure to not be privy to all of the details of Samsung’s business, why would a two percent rate be “concerning” to the company?  Perhaps the number is much higher than that and Samsung is just not telling the world?  While certainly not a hard fact, it is a curious one, and does make you take pause when thinking about the overall tablet market.

What say you?  Do you think Motorola’s $71 price difference between the XOOM and iPad is a deal breaker?

[via The Wall Street Journal]