Google is once again showering developers with cool swag at this year's Game Developers Conference. Just as some of last year's attendees found themselves with a free Nexus One or Motorola Droid, this year Google has been dishing out shiny new laptops, phones and tablets in an effort to get more studios on-board with Android game development.
According to reports on Engadget, devs at Google's web developer day yesterday found themselves with a free Chrome OS-powered CR-48 laptop. Today, lucky Android technical session attendees were gifted with a free Nexus S or Motorola Xoom.
While I don't think there's anyone reading this who would turn down a free Xoom or Nexus S, it's important to remember that free gadgets are a pretty small part of the GDC experience for attendees, who pay hundreds of dollars for passes. They're meant to be an added bonus for developers rather than a reason for attending, so you might want to think twice before making any plans for next year. [Engadget]
UK retailer PC World opened its Motorola Xoom promotional page today, which for a brief time showed the Wi-Fi version of the tablet priced at a shockingly reasonable £449.99 (~$720). The price has since been removed, but not before Eurodroid managed to grab some photographic evidence (see above).
If accurate, this is a very competitive price for a high-end tablet in the UK market -- though still a good $120 more expensive than Wi-Fi Xooms sold across the pond. The £449.99 price point would place the Xoom within £20 of the cheapest iPad model, and see it more or less matching the current RRP of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The Motorola Xoom is due to launch in the UK sometime in the second quarter of the year, with the Wi-Fi version being sold exclusively by PC World's parent company Dixons Retail, and the 3G version being exclusive to the Carphone Warehouse. [PC World, Eurodroid]
A fun part of any Android experience is rooting and flashing custom kernels and overclocking the device to see exactly what it can do. For those who went out this week and picked themselves up a Motorola Xoom, your turn to join the overclock party is here already. XDA member coolbho3000 has overclocked the dual core Motorola Xoom to 1.5GHz, which judging from the video really speeds the device up, even more. If you have a Xoom, and already rooted, and unlocked the bootloader, be sure to hit the source for more information on how to overclock your device! [via XDA] Thanks, Michael, for the tip!
We've known since its unveiling in January that you're going to have to take the Motorola Xoomsomewhere to be upgraded to LTE date. The question was where, and how. The answer(s)? Back to Motorola, via FedEx.
Verizon's posted up instructions on everything you should do before shipping your new Honeycomb tablet back to the mother ship for some LTE re-education, and it all it takes is three simple steps (one of them is optional) -- in a dozen or so parts.
The first step is backing up your user data and saving it locally onto a computer -- something that's a bit foreign in this day an age, but something we'd still recommend doing. (We're anal like that.)
The second (and optional, but very cool) step is to encrypt and hard-reset your Xoom. You've gotta have a full battery to do it. And if you leave it encrypted, you'll have to enter a password each time you log on. Or you can unencrypt, which also involves a hard-reset, but you'll restore all your date in the process. Time-consuming, but safe and cool.
The third step is to actually ship the device to Motorola via FedEx. You'll be provided a bubble pack -- wonder how long it'll take to get to you -- and then ship it off. And a week or so later, you'll get it back, LTE-enabled.
Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core CPU alongside a low-power GeForce GPU
Toshiba NAND Flash memory
Broadcom 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and FM tuner chip
In their testing, iFixit got 10 hours of WiFi use out of the Xoom's 3250 mAh battery, putting it on par with the iPad. They also noted that the only tools one would need to take apart the Xoom for repairs would be a spudger alongside T5 and T7 Torx screwdrivers. Overall, the Xoom got an 8/10 score for ease of repair, which we are sure is in no small part thanks to the free LTE radio upgrade. Full (warranty-voiding) disassembly instructions past the link. [iFixit]
adb reboot bootloader (skip the next 3 steps if you have already unlocked via fastboot)
fastboot oem unlock
wait for reboot
adb reboot bootloader
fastboot flash boot rootboot.img
wait for reboot
adb shell push su /system/bin
adb shell ln –s /system/bin/su /system/xbin/su
adb shell chmod 4755 /system/bin/su
adb push Superuser.apk /system/app
Due to the SD Card slot being locked out at this time, a custom recovery cannot be used but one does exist for whenever it gets enabled for use. Be it by Google, Motorola or the developer community. Until then, just enjoy your freshly rooted Motorola XOOM and if you should so need some help; hit us up in the Android Central forums. [Koush] Thanks, to everyone who sent this in!
We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when we learned that Motorola provided the Xoom with an unlockable bootloader, giving developers and hackers easy access to the hardware. And since many of you guys aren't familiar with the concept and the way it works, allow me to direct you to Android Central member thefredelement and his Xoom unlocking guide. He has everything laid out nicely for you to get the drivers and set things up so you're ready to go.
Keep in mind that this isn't rooting your Xoom. With an unlocked bootloader and fastboot mode, there's no need to worry about finding exploits to root the OS. Instead, developers will just build a package you can flash from a custom recovery with anything and everything you need to have complete control over your tablet. I expect a custom recovery and those flashable packages in very short order. [Android Central forums] Thanks thefredelement!
The Motorola Xoom is available from Verizon today, at a cost of $599 with a contract and $799 without. At launch, the Xoom will only be compatible with Verizon's 3G network, but will eligible for a free 4G LTE upgrade in the coming months.
If you have a Xoom, are planning to get one, or want to wait for when the 4G upgrade is available, sign up on Verizon's site to receive a notification e-mail, and you'll be among the first to know. [Verizon]
Kinda goes without saying at this point, but you can now officially buy the Motorola Xoom Honeycomb tablet at Verizon. A mere $599 gets you 10.1 inches of Android 3.0 goodness with a dual-core Tegra 2 processor. And that sort of thing makes us happy. But do note that little asterisk next to the "Fully Flash-enabled" line -- it'll be getting Flash in a few weeks, but it's not there yet. [Verizon]
Although the video was posted back when the Motorola XOOM was first announced, we somehow skipped over it. Nevertheless, it's a pretty awesome video so we figured it'd still be worth posting for anyone else who also may have missed it. Now all we need is for them to push it out the door so we can all have one. Until such a time, you can check out our hands-on. Thanks, Wing!
We're not exactly too sure why this took as long as it did to turn up but no matter. It's here now and that's all that really counts. The ritual dumping of the system has taken place for the Motorola XOOM and has been posted up for curious people out there to dig through and explore. If you fancy digging through the code then by all means, have at it. [XDA]
The first Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet hits stores Thursday for $600 -- and missing a couple of popular features
The Motorola Xoom (or XOOM for you brand-conscious folks) is the first of the next generation of Android tablets to hit the market. It runs the new Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" version of the operating system, which was tailor-made for larger screens.
If you're just catching up, here's the deal: The Motorola Xoom goes on sale tomorrow, Feb. 24. It's a 10.1-inch Android tablet with a 1280x800 resolution display, powered by the new Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. And it's a dual-core processor at that, much like what you'd find in many laptops today. That means it can do more things at once -- like rendering graphics or outputting video -- and not have to work as hard to do it. And that means better battery life.
Other hardware specs you need to know are 32GB of storage, 1GB of RAM, a 5MP camera on the back and a 2MP camera on the front for video calling. The rear camera will record in 720p high-definition, and the Xoom can connect to your television and output movies in full 1080p.
But the Xoom also will eventually be able to take advantage of Verizon's new 4G LTE network, with really fast data speeds. It's not launching with 4G (though it does have 802.11 b/g/n Wifi for when you're near a hotspot), but it'll be upgradeable in about three months, according to an unofficial screen shot. The really bad news is that you'll have to physically send your Xoom to Motorola to be upgraded -- it's not just a software thing. That's pretty much unheard of for any smartphone or tablet, and we've got our fingers crossed that it doesn't become a logistical nightmare.
To hear Verizon talk (erm, Tweet) about it, that the Motorola Xoom tablet will have to be taken into the shop (for free!) to be upgraded to LTE is a feature waiting to happen, not a feature missing at launch. Maybe our glass is half empty, but we're not exactly looking forward to handing over new our $600 (or $800 off contract) tablet for a week's worth of work. On the other hand, it is free, and we're very much fans of Verizon's LTE data speeds thus far.
That's not to say the Xoom is a disappointment -- far from it. The LTE upgrade's going to be a hassle, but it's coming. And Flash will be here in short order. Other than that, we've been very impressed with the Xoom.
But at this point, the same old tablet question remains: For $600 (or $800) do you really need that form factor? And does the prospect of having to physically send away your Xoom for an LTE upgrade make you want to hold off? We'll find out this week as they finally go on sale nationwide.
After a highly promoted launch on the iPad earlier this month, News Corp's The Daily digital newpaper is heading to Android tablets in the second quarter of this year according to All Things Digital. During the announcement event (read our sister site TiPB's coverage) it was noted in Q&A that the paper would make the jump to other platforms, but that "this year, next year belong to Apple."
Even so, it is encouraging to see such a prominent app making its way to Android tablets so soon after its initial launch. Head on over into the Android Central Forums and let us know if you intend to check it out. [All Things Digital]
Every year, Hollywood gathers for The Academy Awards to celebrate movies and the talent that comes with them. Actors and actresses walk across the red carpet with big smiles and designer clothing. But this year will be a little different. Hollywood's talent will be given something else to show off at the Academy Awards. Motorola will be giving out gold Motorola Xooms to the hosts and the nominees in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director categories. The snazzy Xoom will also come with a custom leather case, too.
As for the rest of us, we can just pick up the regular all-black Xoom this Thursday. [Engadget]
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