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Motorola Xoom will require hardware upgrade for 4G, software patch for microSD use

During our hands-on time with the Motorola Xoom, we learned a little more about the 3G to 4G conversion process, as well as a bit of news about the microSD card slot.  Starting sometime in the second quarter of 2011, users will be able to bring their Motorola Xoom into Verizon and have the hardware upgrade from 3G to LTE performed.  This makes a lot of sense, as LTE will require different hardware and nobody wants to wait a few more months for the Xoom to release while it all gets hashed out.

We also found out that as shipped, the Xoom will not have access to external storage via microSD cards.  This will require a software upgrade from Motorola to get it all up and running.  It sounds a little odd, but again -- the alternative is to hold back release until things are sorted.  I'm sure Motorola and Verizon will tell us more once things at CES wind down.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • I wonder how they will upgrade the hardware? Add an antenna?
  • I may be a bit misguided, but why not add an LTE radio now rather than later?
  • If I had to guess, I would say they haven't finalized the hardware just yet. As LTE rolls out a bit more and they do more testing, they have a better idea what to put in. Since they are doing it in-house, they can replace the whole motherboard if need be.
  • I'd say it's a good idea. Like mentioned above, they simply may not have finalized the radio. And instead of waiting 2-3 months to release, just make the part swappable and get it out earlier. I also like this because I likely won't get LTE in my area for some time, and I have no need for 4G. In the event I do, I can upgrade it and move on. No big deal.
  • I just wish there was a way to get unlimited data on it....
  • buy it off contract and tether it to an Evo :p
  • This is starting to sound a little bit of a beta release. Refreshing hardware? Software updates to support memory cards? And no wifi only version? BETA! Only being sold at one place? How do they expect this to gain any traction? And one more question mark for good measure?
  • This is a Verizon designed tablet, remember. We're still not at the point (yet) where any major players are going to release a wifi only device without carrier support to push it. I would LOVE to get this wifi only, but at the moment it doesn't seem like motorola will take that route. I don't think I'd call it a beta release though, more likely they had a bug turn up last minute, and rather than delay announcement, they are showing it as is and what they're doing.
  • Wow. I am so looking forward to this tablet, but this is such a FAIL .. Not to mention, does anyone here trust a VZW rep ripping open their tablet replacing hardware?
  • I would be more interested in this if I was sure that it wouldn't have a locked bootloader, in the meantime, I'm more interested in the Asus Transformer.
  • I've collected several blogs on these new products from Android and Motorola and shared links to them in a bledit found here: This is one of the blogs I've included because of its quality content. Come learn more about the Motorola Xoom, Android's 3.0 Honeycomb, and the T-Mobile G-Slate with Google by LG.