Tuesday Motorola Mobility confirmed that the Android-based Motorola XOOM tablet will come packed with an unlockable/relockable bootloader that will grant developers access to the tablet hardware. The announcement arrived via Twitter after one consumer asked if the XOOM bootloader would come encrypted or signed.
As the Android Community points out, this bit of good news may change the tune of many consumers who previously complained about the tablet's overall cost. Tuesday Verizon Wireless said that XOOM was arriving on Thursday with an unsubsidized price of $799.99 and a subsidized price of $599.99 (with a 2-year contract). Although the cost is steep, the tablet's apparent open invitation to hackers and developers may be too great to resist shelling out a handful of Franklins.
To make the invitation even more enticing, Tuesday Google announced the availability of the full and final build of the Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" software development kit (SDK). "We are pleased to announce that the full SDK for Android 3.0 is now available to developers," said Android SDK tech lead Xavier Ducrohet. "The APIs are final, and you can now develop apps targeting this new platform and publish them to Android Market. The new API level is 11."
In addition to the new platform, Google also released updates to the SDK Tools (r10) and ADT Plugin for Eclipse (10.0.0). Key features include UI Builder improvements in the ADT Plugin, Traceview integration for easier profiling from ADT, and tools for using the Renderscript graphics engine.
With the final Honeycomb SDK out the door and a virtually "unlocked" Motorola XOOM tablet hitting Verizon on Thursday, consumers of the latter device may get to download and install "unapproved" applications that many Android-based consumers can't use without jailbreaking the device. Currently many non-Market apps can be installed by simply enabling Unknown Sources in the System/Application settings. However many other non-Market apps also require actual root access which typically remains locked.