I just played with the XOOM at Best Buy (Seattle/Northgate) and while there I heard an employee notify other employees that 3G/data plan activation is no longer required with the XOOM. I asked the mobile rep and she verified.
It seemed like this came down from Verizon. It may take a while for it to propagate to all retailers though so folks may still be informed activation is required until then.
On another note the XOOM is pretty nice. The only thing that bothered me is that there's no longer a dedicated search button which I use often on my EVO (I hate having to look for an app's search feature under Honeycomb). Also the XOOM I played with only had one volume level - turning the volume up or down didn't yield a change (I was playing music via the built-in music player). I'm hoping this isn't a widespread issue and just affects this unit.
Main screen of Android launcher or in app? because I had to look around a bit for the apps I downloaded and tested. Even the location of the search box/feature in Android Market was oddly placed (very top, dead center of the app).