Apple’s first head-to-head competitor for its iPad 2, the Motorola Xoom Android Tablet has barely hit the market and it is already one-upping Apple by announcing its tablet can soon be upgraded to 4G. In spite of its fairly hefty pricing there is no doubt the Motorola Xoom is unquestionably the best rooted Android tablet available. But Motorola’s announcement of 4G is a mixed bag of good news and bad news:
- It’s 4G – The addition of 4G LTE will allow Xoom users connect to Verizon’s ultra-fast LTE network. That means download times up to 10X faster than 3G.
- It’s Free – Motorola is offering the Xoom 4G Upgrade free to all current owners.
- The Time Factor – You have to ship your Xoom back to Motorola for the hardware & software upgrade. The company is promising that will take up to six business days; but they are less clear about when that six days begins. Keep in mind that 6 business days will have a weekend in between, which which means you’d be Xoom-less for a week or more.
- You should back up your data before sending your Xoom for the 4G upgrade- and reset/encrypt it if you have privacy concerns. Check out the Verizon upgrade user guide for more details.
No Upgrade if Rooted?
While there have been plenty of reports on the Web that Motorola would deem rooted Xooms unfit for upgrade, Xoom Accessories has found at the Motorola that may not be the case. According to an official statement from a Motorola Forum Manager in their Xoom forum, “For devices that are returned unlocked, Motorola will attempt to complete the upgrade, but may be unable to update the software. In these cases, the device will be returned to the consumer with just the 4G LTE modem installed. More details on the process will be available closer to the upgrade availability”.
If you have already rooted your Xoom, you may want to re-lock the bootloader it by flashing back to the stock ROM in order to ensure your upgrade will be succesfully completed.
There is no doubt Motorola could have waited to ship the Xoom until all of the issues were resolved but marketing realities are what they are. It was important to Motorola to offer something that Apple isn’t and won’t for a while to come. 4G on a tablet is a big deal to some users and the reason they bought a Xoom. All things balanced, it is probably wisest to hold off rooting that tablet until Motorola sends it back with 4G installed. It is also good to keep in mind that rooting your device could also prevent you from utilizing new Xoom accessories that rely on 4G or Motorola/Verizon updates.
The upgrade is expected during the next quarter, and will be available for 6 months. Users may sign up for an e-mail notification to let them know when the upgrade process begins.
What do you think about Motorola’s upgrade policy? Let us know!