Big, black and powerful. That pretty much sums up the Motorola XOOM (henceforth to be referred to as the more eye-friendly Xoom), the opening salvo in what is about to be a deluge of tablets running Android 3.0 Honeycomb. And the Xoom not only ushers in a major change to the Android operating system, it also launches a new era in mobile hardware, faster and more powerful than ever.
But for all that, the usual questions remain. Does the Xoom match up with the competition? And does it justify the price? And is the darn thing just too big and too heavy? All that and another picture or two, after the break.
Late last week we got word of an update for theMotorola Xoom rolling out, and while the main purpose that we saw for the update was the upcoming flash compatibility, the update appears to have done more then just this. Android Central forums member wnrussel3 noticed that after the update to HRI66, from the previous version of HRI39, Quadrant benchmarks on the device improved by 28 percent, jumping from 1775 to 2283. It's not necessarily indicative of an overall experience, but nobody wants lower benchmark scores. [Android Central Forums]
It looks like the Motorola Xoom is joining the HTC Thunderbolt in the "leaked docs from big box stores" department, as Droid Life got some goods from a Staples insider showing the long awaited WiFi-only model coming March 27, at a price point of $599.98. That works out to the same price point as the 32 GB WiFi model of the iPad 2, and should quiet the folks crying for a carrier free, WiFi-only model (like yours truly).
While we've learned that leaked sales ads and internal inventory screens don't guarantee anything, they are a good indicator that we're close. This should certainly help boost sales, and more importantly, developers who were waiting for the WiFi-only model can get to cracking. The inventory screen is after the break. [Droid-Life via Android Central forums] Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
When we first got a look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10-inch at Mobile World Congress, it was your usual trade show free-for all. But the upcoming Honeycomb device (when's this thing gonna drop, anyway?) has shed its Samsung shackles and apparently paraded around the streets of Paris for the AndroidHD blog, which churned out 11 minutes of quality video in return. Nothing too new here, but you get another good look at the hardware, a good look at the software and some sample pics taken from the 8MP rear camera. [AndroidHD]
If you have thought about how awesome it would be to use your Motorola Xoom as an in car media player, or for navigation, you are not alone. Android Central forums member 3800scpowered took to creating a custom car dock for the Xoom for this very reason. With the use of some aluminum, and the standard desk dock for the device, a rather unique, yet professional looking car dock for the Xoom was created. It's wired for power from the car to keep it charged while on the go. Hit the source link for more pics and all the details. [Android Central Forums]
Well, that didn't take long. Just half a day or so since Adobe announced that Flash Player 10.2 would drop for Android on March 18, and the darn thing's already leaked out. This is the version that the Motorola Xoom has been waiting for, of course. So we fired it up on a Xoom, and -- behold, Flash! It's also running decently on our CyanogenMod 7 device (that's Gingerbread for you teetotallers), and our man Alex has it on his Froyo'd HTC Desire. That's not to say there's not some stuttering, still, but who's to say if this is a final build -- or if it's early and busted. If you're the adventurous type, give it a shot. [via My Droid World] Thanks, Sean!
When Motorola announced that the Xoom Honeycomb tablet was getting an update to prepare it for Flash Player 10.2, it also announced that unlocked and rooted Xooms would have to be rolled back to stock and relocked for the update to take. (So much for open and unlocked, eh?) There's been a leaked .sbf file floating around, which you can flash via RSD Lite before relocking the device.
Or, if doing things the official way is more your speed, Motorola has now released the system images for the Xoom's original build, HRI39, so you can flash them yourself and relock your Xoom in preparation for the update. Instructions are after the break. [Android Central Forums]
Making good on their word, Motorola has just let everyone know that the first Motorola XOOM update is going to start rolling out tonight in phases. While Adobe Flash was missing at launch, Motorola did say it was coming later. No, you're not getting Flash tonight but this update will help that process along when it comes time. If you're rooted and what not, you'll likely want to hold off just a little bit so that the file can be looked at but, if that's not a concern for then by all means-- have at it should you see the update pop up tonight for you. [@Motorola]
*Update* Official word comes to us via the Motorola forums: "If you have unlocked/rooted your Motorola XOOM, you must restore it to the standard software load and relock your device to receive the notification."
NVIDIA and Sony have announced that the latter will be bringing its PlayStation Suite software to Tegra-powered Android phones and tablets later this year. PlayStation Suite was announced at Sony's PlayStation Meeting 2011 earlier this year, and will bring classic PlayStation titles to Android devices along with new games created especially for the platform.
Sony also revealed that certain PlayStation 2 titles will also be making their way to the PlayStation Suite, in addition to PS1 titles, as announced back in January.
The arrival of PlayStation Suite on Tegra devices should clear the way for Sony's rumored S1 tablet, which is said to be due in late 2011 with a Tegra 2 chip and PlayStation support.
Sure, the Motorola XOOM has a microSD card slot. But since it's not currently enabled for end user use one has to make due with the 32GB of on board storage that Motorola has included. Although if you're looking to expand upon that 32GB or want to use a USB keyboard, a method of enabling USB host capabilities on the Motorola XOOM is available to anyone who is either wanting to -- or already has rooted their device. You'll need to follow the instructions carefully and need an OTG cable in order for it to work but that's all minor pieces of the puzzle at this point. The hard work has already been laid out for you. So how is it done? Jump on past the break to find out for yourself. [SlateDroid] Thanks, djunio for sending this in!
A few days ago we reported that Google is looking into optimizing Google Voice to run on the Motorola Xoom, and Honeycomb in particular, but that just wasn't good enough for Android Central forums member Elysian893. The fact that it wouldn't work was enough to get them thinking, and look for a way to fix the issue. With the use of their Droid and Titanium backup they installed Google Voice on the Droid, backed up the application and settings and then restored it on the Xoom.
Upon first launch it force closed, once permissions were granted for it to access the Google account, it launched perfectly. While you can't quite use the Xoom to make calls, you can still use it for SMS, or use it to call through another device. If you are interested in getting Google Voice running on your Xoom, be sure to check it out. Takes a couple steps, but it gets the job done. [Android Central Forums]
Since the Motorola Xoom can be rooted and unlocked it was only a matter of time before someone tried loading an OS that shouldn't be on there, onto one. As such, the above video shows us that Ubuntu can indeed be loaded up on the Motorola Xoom and while it's certainly not running at optimal speeds the fact it loads at all gives hope to some. If you fancy jamming Ubuntu onto your Motorola Xoom hit up the source link for the full installation instructions. [TRSohmers via Xoom Forums]
Those who have picked up a Motorola Xoom upon launch have noticed the absence of an extremely popular app from the Android Market: Google Voice. You can sideload it onto your Xoom, but it will crash when launching (see picture above).
The good news is that the app is currently being developed and optimized for Honeycomb; the bad news being that we don't know when we can expect to see it. Here is what Google employee Zeke had to say in the Google Voice forums.
Glad to hear from so many Xoom early adopters! As you've noticed, Google Voice isn't available for Honeycomb yet. We're working on it, and I'll update this thread as more info is available.
Motorola and Google made the Xoom with an unlockable boot loader (thanks for that!), so it's great news when the hacking community has a way to roll things back to stock. You never know when your experiments with Android get you so far off base that you need to return to something stable, or when you might need to prepare for any future OTA updates. That's why we're really happy to see the stock SBF file leaked out -- it allows anyone and everyone to go straight back to the software the Xoom was shipped with, using RSD lite.
We're unsure about Motorola's feelings about this one, they usually don't take kindly to their factory SBF files getting leaked, so this might not last long. You can get the download links, and a bit more information at the source link. [XDA-Developers via Android Central Forums]
Good news for those of you who might have unlocked and/or rooted your Motorola Xoom -- to the surprise of few of us here, you should have no problem with Motorola upgrading it to LTE. That's in contrary to a story that circulated earlier this week. Originating from the "Moto Xpert" DansDroid on the Motorola Support Forums, it was said that "If your Xoom is rooted it will not be upgraded by Motorola."
We'd been waiting on official word from Motorola but now have semi-official word through the same Moto support forum, this time from the infamous forums manager Matt. And he states:
All Motorola XOOM tablets on the Verizon Wireless network are eligible to receive an upgrade to support 4G LTE. This includes those that have been unlocked; however, those units must be submitted for upgrade with the original factory software reinstalled and the device relocked in order to receive the upgrade.
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.
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