Motorola has been prepping owners of its Xoom Android tablet for a mysterious project since late November. The project required Xoom owners to join the Motorola Owners Forums and be a member in good standing. Motorola didn't say what the project entailed--but many guessed it had to do with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
Friday, Motorola revealed the details of the project, which confirm that it is delivering the latest version of Google's mobile operating system to the original Xoom tablet (both Wi-Fi and 3G/LTE versions).
"Thanks for your patience as we've waited for this project to begin. Because we are dealing with a Google Experience Device (GED) we have less insight to timing than we would usually have," said Motorola to members in an email.
"However, I'm happy to announce that we will start the update this evening. Because it was delayed a few days, we will also have additional time to test; we will let it run through the weekend."
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So, Motorola is awarding its early adopters with Android 4.0. This is good news for Xoom owners. The few Android 4.0 tablets I played with at the Consumer Electronics Show this week were vastly more usable than those running Android 3.2.
This trial update is limited to device owners in the United States. Motorola hasn't said when it will update all Xooms to Android 4.0.
I asked Motorola representatives this week when the Xyboard 8.2 and Xyboard 10.1 tablets will receive Android 4.0 (both tablets were launched by Verizon Wireless in December). A spokesperson told me that the engineering teams are working really hard to update the Xyboards to Android 4.0, and that it will come eventually, but so far there's no time frame available.
Only a handful of tablet makers have committed to upgrading their devices to the latest version of Android. The one maker that needs to speak up is Samsung. Owners of the Google I/O Galaxy Tab 10.1 are expecting Android 4.0, but so far Google and Samsung have been mum on the subject.
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