Sep. 28, 2011 at 7:14 PM ET
There was other exciting tablet news Wednesday (although Amazon's certainly rules): Verizon Wireless announced the long-awaited Motorola Xoom 4G LTE upgrade is available for Xoom owners starting Thursday, and the Xoom with 4G already built in will be out Oct. 13 in Verizon stores, for $499.99 with a two-year contract.
Those who bought the well-regarded tablet earlier this year were promised that it could be upgraded to Verizon's fourth-generation, or 4G, wireless network, still being built out nationwide. The upgrade is free. It's also not mandatory; if customers are happy with the 3G speed and don't want to change anything, they don't need to. With the upgrade, Verizon adds a 4G radio to the tablet.
"Faster speeds and connections enhance the Motorola Xoom experience, allowing customers to download songs in seconds and movies in minutes," Verizon Wireless said in a press release. "Customers should expect average download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G LTE mobile broadband coverage areas. When customers travel outside of a 4G LTE coverage area, the Motorola Xoom automatically connects to the Verizon Wireless 3G network."
You'll need to be without your tablet for about six "business days," Verizon Wireless says. The carrier is asking customers to visit this site for instructions on the upgrade process.
Data plans won't change for the tablet, whether you're on 3G or 4G. Aside from that key detail, the most important thing to do before you send it off to Verizon Wireless is do a backup of your personal information — just in case.