Xoom 4G upgrades finally begin

If you’ve been waiting months and months for the 4G upgrade you were promised when you bought your Xoom, the wait is finally over.

Starting today, you’ll be able to mail your flagship Motorola tablet to Verizon, where employees will dig into the device and alter the hardware so it can connect to the carrier’s high-speed LTE network.

This isn’t just a piece of software you can download. Original Xoom models did not have a 4G LTE radio so tablets need to be physically mailed in. This was explained when the company began selling the device early this year. At the time, reports suggested the upgrade process might happen in as early as 90 days, but it ended up taking months.

Instructions for sending your Xoom can be found at Verizon’s official Xoom upgrade page. It is the exclusive data provider for the device.

The carrier said customers can expect to receive their tablets back within six business days but that is not a guarantee. Verizon also warns users to back up any data before sending the device for upgrade, although the upgrade itself should not affect anything already stored on the Xoom.

In addition, upgrading to LTE will not affect existing data plans. Whatever you’re paying for your Xoom’s 3G service today is what you’ll be paying for your Xoom’s 4G service tomorrow. Of course, you’ll be paying for around six days of service without being able to access it while you wait for the device to return.

The Xoom has received favorable reviews but sales have been less than stellar. Nevertheless, Motorola and Verizon are still strongly supporting it.

In fact, a new version of the device with 4G LTE compatibility built in will be available as of October 13. That model will sell for $500 for customers who sign a two-year service agreement with Verizon.

Verizon’s monthly data plans include $30 for 2 GB, $50 for 5 GB, and $80 for 10 GB.