Motorola Xoom tablet to get blurred with Motoblur update (updated)

Motorola's Motoblur skin will be coming to the Xoom tablet as a software update, despite it being the flagship Honeycomb device, but in what form?

Flora Graham
3 min read

Update: After we published this story, Motorola contacted us to clarify that Motoblur won't be coming to the tablet after all.

"Motorola Xoom is a Google experience device," said Motorola in a statement. "As such, Motorola Mobility has worked closely with Google to develop and optimise the Honeycomb OS on Xoom, and has no plans to customise the software with Motoblur."

This strikes us as slightly odd, as we had a lengthy briefing with a Motorola exec who was adamant Motoblur was coming to the Xoom. The original story appears below:

Motoblur, Motorola's user interface skin for Android, will come to its Xoom tablet -- whether we like it or not.

In a briefing with Motorola's Jonathan Nattrass, the company's director of Android product management in Europe told us Motoblur is all about bringing the "social aspect" to Android. It will come to the Xoom as a software update.

At the same event, Dave Burke, the director of engineering for the Android team at Google, told us the Xoom was its flagship device for showing off the tablet version of Android, version 3.0 Honeycomb.

That would usually imply "pure Android", without any customisation by the manufacturer. But Motorola says the Xoom being Honeycomb's go-to gadget won't stop them from putting Motoblur on the tablet.

Motoblur hoovers up info from your social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, into your phone's address book and comes with a bundle of widgets to display your social whirl on your phone's home screen. It's also an online service for backing up your settings, and tracking your phone by GPS.

Despite being pronounced dead last year, Motoblur has appeared on recent phones such as the Motorola Defy, and it's also going to be on the upcoming Motorola Atrix transformer phone.

Nattrass wouldn't confirm whether Motoblur will keep the same form when it makes it to the big screen.

On Motoblur phones, the low-key Android shortcuts along the bottom of the screen, for example, are replaced with larger, rounded, brightly coloured buttons. We doubt people who had invested in the Xoom would fancy waking up to such user interface tweaks on their wallet-busting baby.

Similarly, although the integrated address book in Motoblur is handy, it's a major feature that could be confusing if it suddenly appears on your Xoom after an over-the-air update. 

We could see Motoblur coming to the Xoom, however, in the form of some optional widgets, a backup service and a 'find my tablet' feature.

We've never taken to the Motoblur widgets, because we don't feel they use space very effectively. But they have improved since they were launched on the Motorola Dext. They're more reliable at updating regularly, they handle our contacts' profile pics better, and they can be filtered so that they don't show a firehose of information from every person and source. Hopefully, the widgets will continue to improve before they land on the Xoom we saved all summer for.

How do you feel about Motoblur coming to the Xoom? Will you welcome the additional features or turn off the auto-updates and hide in a Wi-Fi free cave until they go away? Tell us in the comments.