Another day, another show of Verizon’s capriciousness: an update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean began unceremoniously rolling out to Motorola Xoom LTE owners this morning. Long overdue (it was delayed a number of months, and there’s some indication the firmware was finalized as early as September 2012), the upgrade brings all of Jelly Bean’s headlining features – like Google Now and Project Butter – to Motorola’s 3-year-old tablet.
The Motorola Xoom, revealed at CES 2011 and subsequently launched in late February of that year, was the first device to run Google’s tablet-only Honeycomb operating system. A version of Android optimized for larger displays, Honeycomb was criticized for its disparate design, poor performance, and unintuitive controls; Andy Rubin, then head of Android, later admitted that Google had rushed and “[taken] a shortcut” with the software. Because of these and other woes (a $799 sticker and delayed LTE variant didn’t help), Xoom sales disappointed, despite a lavish advertising campaign that included a Super Bowl TV spot spoof of Apple’s iconic 1984 commercial.
Surprisingly, the Xoom didn’t languish. Motorola pledged to continue providing software updates, and the tablet became the de facto Android tablet, a sort of 10-inch Nexus. Last summer, all Xoom units received an upgrade from Google’s Android team to Ice Cream Sandwich. The update to 4.1.2 Jelly Bean marks the end of support, but considering just how many Android devices never see a substantive upgrade, it’s hard to deny the Xoom’s had a good run.
Xoom LTE owners should see an upgrade notification soon. In the meantime, a Verizon support doc is available for perusal.