updated 09:20 am EST, Fri February 25, 2011
Motorola Xoom torn down by iFixit
Motorola's just-launched Xoom has received a customary teardown that has revealed an unintentional link to the iPhone and just how simple the 4G upgrade process wil be. iFixit found that the Android 3.0 tablet, despite being EVDO-only right now, has the same Qualcomm MDM6600 modem as the Verizon iPhone. The method suggests the Verizon Xoom is the same model as the one shipping worldwide and that other countries will get 14.4Mbps HSPA+ 3G instead.
The deconstruction has also shown that the design is explicitly tailored to adding in the LTE modem needed for 4G. The back has a dual-panel design designed to slide open easily at the top. Technicians would likely only need to replace a mini-PCI dummy module with the necessary hardware and insert a new SIM. It's now suspected that much of the up to six-day absence of the Xoom during the 4G upgrade process would be shipping time, as the actual upgrade could be performed within minutes.
Accessibility on the design was much easier on the whole. While the construction was "inconvenient" through the number of screws needed, it didn't have to be pried open like the iPad despite being competitive in the thickness and weight that Apple has used to help justify its sealed-in cases. Neither Apple nor Motorola fuses the LCD to the glass so far, but Motorola relies on fewer rare or proprietary tools. Many of the Xoom's components are modular and can be replaced individually without having to replace something else at the same time.
The Xoom's battery, despite claims of matching Apple's 10 hours of Internet use, is slightly lower capacity at 24.1 watt hours versus the iPad's 24.8. Some tests have noted much shorter video playback times on Motorola's hardware than Apple's, although they also saw the Xoom getting long battery life elsewhere.
Apple is expected to partly address any advantages the Xoom might have in its upcoming March 2 event. The new iPad is expected to be thinner and overall lighter than its predecessor. Traditionally, Apple has also found a way to increase the battery life of a mobile device as it discovers optimization tricks over time.