In a move surely the result of Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, the company has posted a new page on its web site instructing users how to unlock their device bootloaders for unfettered access to the operating system and every other aspect of the devices’ software.
There are several steps involved and, of course, warnings galore about the dire consequences of unlocking (voided warranties, possible carrier blocking, and – seriously – “bodily injury”). You’ll also need the Android SDK and appropriate drivers to begin.
There are only three U.S. devices supported at present: the Photon Q 4G LTE Android smartphone (Sprint), and the XOOM and XOOM Wi-Fi tablets. Hopefully this list will grow over time.
Like the iPad that inspired it, the Motorola XOOM is now available with and without built-in 3G data hardware. The new Wi-Fi only XOOM has officially launched with an MSRP of $599.
If you don’t need 3G data (or 4G eventually) – and many tablet users will be shocked by how little they actually do need them – this is the XOOM for you.
Other than the missing 3G transceiver, the Wi-Fi XOOM remains largely unchanged; same Tegra 2 SoC, storage options, etc. And the onboard Wi-Fi is 802.11n, also compatible with B and G networks.
Online retailers currently offering the Wi-Fi XOOM: Amazon.com, NewEgg.com, and Buy.com. Or, if you’re in a rush, you can pick up the new XOOM at your local BestBuy.
Editor’s Note: It’s a shame Motorola didn’t opt to sell this thing for $399 or $349; at $599, XOOM sales will continue to disappoint.
If Google hopes to unseat iOS as the leading tablet operating system – as it apparently has in the smartphone arena – there are three things it and its hardware partners must do. First, adapt and refine the Android OS for tablets and encourage tablet-friendly software development and innovation. Second, build powerful, attractive and useful hardware to bring software to life in users’ hands. Last – and by no means least – go beyond simple point-by-point comparisons to make a compelling case to the consumer for choosing an Android tablet over the iPad, be it one of form, function, affordability – or even better, all three.
An Android surge in the tablet market seemed a distant dream in 2010, but with last month’s release of Android 3.0 and the Motorola XOOM – the flagship Android-powered iPad competitor – there was hope for 2011.
But two weeks with the latest, greatest Android tablet dashed that hope fairly decisively, at least for this reviewer. The XOOM, while capable, lacks any of the aforementioned must-dos – with the exception of the Android 3.0 OS, ‘Honeycomb,’ which is designed for larger-screened devices and is, in many ways, a success. But, as it stands there’s just no reason to choose the XOOM over an iPad, unless you are a die-hard Android fan or need LTE at all costs.
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The Motorola XOOM is $599 with a two-year contract if purchased from Verizon Wireless, but LetsTalk.com has the Android 3.0 tablet for $579 shipped on contract (new and upgrade eligible customers).
Without a contract, the XOOM is $799.
Learn more about the Motorola XOOM…
Motorola caught a fair amount of flak when pricing for its XOOM Android 3.0 tablet was announced a few weeks go. Off contract, the 10-inch tablet is $799; with a two-year Verizon Wireless service agreement, the price falls to $599. Given its feature set over and above the 1st Gen iPad, this price – while high – was at least justifiable.
But with this week’s iPad 2 release and its unchanged pricing model, I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before Motorola and Verizon are forced to lower the XOOM’s price to compete. Or if they’ll be smart and lower the price simply as a wise business practice.
The XOOM has a fast dual-core processor, 30GB of onboard flash storage, dual cameras, HD video recording, HDMI-out, a range of wireless technologies, and a sleek, slim design. Against the original iPad, this was impressive, and (arguably) worthy of a price bump over a comparable year-old Apple model. But the new iPad 2 offers all of these features, yet sells for less.
The XOOM goes for $799 unsubsidized. A comparable 32GB iPad 2 with built-in 3G can be yours (on March 11th) for $729 and without a service commitment.
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