3.1 Delays: Tale of An Angry UK Xoom Owner

Just a few months ago, I attended “The Gadget Show Live”, a kind of exhibition here in the UK based on a tech tv show called “The Gadget Show”. It showcases a lot of current and upcoming tech with consumers sometimes being able to get their hands on new items sooner and/or cheaper than usual. Little did I know I was going to make an agonizing mistake whilst there.

When I attended, it was the first time I’d seen the Xoom available to buy after weeks of waiting and watching, with no official release date ever actually announced. Even the stockists themselves were unsure of when they were going to be selling it, they just had a rough estimate. When I had a chance to play with the device I immediately fell in love with it, but then there were the rumours of the Nexus tablet floating around at the time. This wasn’t bound to happen anytime soon though, and I just couldn’t wait that long. I told myself, “it’s a Google Experience Device (GED) that’s pretty much a Nexus in all but name,” so I bought one there and then.

Cut to today, and I still love my Xoom. Granted, it has some annoying niggles with force closes but they are supposedly fixed in Android 3.1. The only problem is that those with a Xoom outside the U.S. haven’t received their update yet, even though ASUS rolled 3.1 out worldwide for their Transformer a few weeks ago. Over on the Motorola support forums, there is a thread now clocking up 707 replies and over 40,000 views, all enquiring about the update for the UK Xooms. On page 40 there is a reply by ‘Matt’, the forum manager:

Secondly — and I was wondering where this idea came from — non-U.S. Motorola Xooms are not GED.

He also links to this article on it, where there is a quote explaining how, because they are not GED, Moto can make them more business-ready with their own choice of apps pre-loaded onto the device. This is fair enough, but Motorola never specifically stated that Non-U.S. versions would not be GEDs. Up until yesterday, I believed my device was a GED, adding to the frustration of not getting 3.1 yet. Judging by the replies on the thread, I’m not the only one. People are up in arms, threatening to get the UK’s Trading Standards Agency involved, due to being misled on the device being a GED.

I for one am really frustrated about this. After my HTC Magic, I got a Nexus One and loved getting the updates first and it being exactly how Google intended. I then got the Nexus S and vowed never to break from the Nexus brand. With the Xoom, it was the closest thing I could get, but now I’m thinking I should have waited. I would of been in a better position with the Transformer or waiting for the Tab 10.1. Even with the UI customization, updates are being rolled out quicker than the Non-U.S. Xooms. It also makes me worried about what kind of crap is going to be bundled onto it when 3.1 eventually comes. I mean, what other explanation is there for the time it’s taking them?

Fortunately, there is a solution for those on WiFi-only models: people have successfully managed to flash the U.S. rom and got the update when they booted up. Unfortunately, because the 3G radios are different between countries, it’s not as simple for those with 3G devices. So, maybe it’s not quite as bad as I’ve made out. There are solutions, but it’s still frustrating. I do wish I’d held out a little longer, and if a Nexus tablet does arise at some point, I will probably sell my Xoom and buy it.

Do we have any readers out there with Non U.S. Xooms? Did you believe your device was a GED at the time of purchase? How frustrated are you about the delay on 3.1 and how Moto could load your device with bloatware you don’t need? I’d also like to hear from the U.S. readers (being our core reader base and all). Can you sympathize with us? How would you feel in this situation? Let us know in the comments below or over on our Facebook Wall!

UPDATE: I decided to take matters into my own hands, I unlocked my Xoom and flashed the US stock rom. After setting up my account again I was immediately greeted with a software update. Alas I couldn’t apply it as I only had 22% battery left which is more than enough but I guess they can’t be too careful. I don’t have my charger to hand either so can’t apply it until I have to time to retrieve it, hopefully by the time you read this I shall have my 3.1 update! Either way I’m just glad I now have a fully fledged GED.



  • “This is fair enough, but Motorola never specifically stated that Non-U.S. versions would not be GEDs. Up until yesterday”

    It’s not up to companies to specifically state everything a device is not. It’s up to you to make sure a device is everything you want it to be. Is there anywhere that says that a non-US Xoom is a GED? Without that your chances of getting far with trading standards are pretty limited.

    • I would have thought the sd card was your best bet with trading standards.

    • Test

      I only purchased a Xoom as I believed in was a GED. I would love to hear if you’ve had any problems with the installed US version, to me, there are 2 choices install the GED US version or retrurn the device to PC World

  • Pierre

    Same story with the first Droid, dubbed Milestone in Europe, filled with bloatware and never updated like his US counterpart.
    And it’s the same with Android and Google Services in general : how many new features are US-only ? Music, Voice Actions, Books, Movies… Navigation took ages to come across Atlantic sea.

  • Anonymous

    Hmm… Do I void the warranty on my expensive gadget for timely updates? It is tempting.

    I really love the Nexus devices because I can avoid just this type of shenanegans. Great article!

  • And once again Motorola’s desire to control the “consumer experience” with their “special” software makes them unable to provide timely updates for a chunk of their customers.  Ugh.

  • LaKraven

    Like literally 100% of Xoom customers, I believed it to be a GED (Google Experience Device), as such being my SOUL reason for buying it.
    Finding out all this time later that everyone from Google, to Motorola, to literally every single retailer outside of the US has lied to us, I feel like jumping for my torch and pitchfork!

    This is what’s wrong with business today! Discrimination is rife in one form or another, and in this case it’s “Geographic Discrimination” fast becoming persecution!

    Like you, and many others, I’ve opted to flash the US firmware onto my UK WiFi Xoom, and pull the update that way, but I have cancelled my order for many more Xooms (for my business), and will be going with the Samsung Galaxy 10.1″ instead… losing Motorola over £20,000 in business.

    Since I’ve been so vocal on the Motorola support forums, I’ve actually been contacted by the moderator in what I can only presume to be a suppression attempt. Their claim is that I’ve violated their site rules by stating that it’s possible to use the US firmware on non-US models (for WiFi devices).

    If you don’t live in the US, and you have a 3G Xoom… just get your bloody money back!
    If you’ve got a WiFi Xoom, either flash the US firmware onto it, or send it back.

    No retailer can legally justify refusing your refund no matter whether you’re beyond your warranty period or not. This is because they’ve clearly violated the Trades Description Act, invalidating any contract of purchase. Stand your ground if they get pushy, make it clear you know they’ve broken the law, and that you have every intention of suing their ass if they don’t give you a full refund outright.

    Whilst usually I’d never resort to such language: fuck Motorola!

    May their own stupidity lead to sleepless nights, and a failed business. This is the big problem with companies being run by bankers: they’ve no idea what the customer wants or needs, and they simply don’t care. Once the product stops making money, their money gets flushed away and they’ve no choice but to either get with the program, or get lost.

    Don’t buy Motorola again! When I think about it, what the hell was I thinking paying the same price for the Xoom as an iPad 2? I should’ve waited for the Samsung Galaxy 10.1″ to begin with… but we live and we learn!

  • Tim Fidler

    Furious about this. To make it worse, there is no information about when the update will (if ever) appear. Absolute disgrace.

    • Anonymous

      I have fears about going through all of this again come Ice Cream Sandwich.

      • LaKraven

        Amen to that! It’s why I’ve put mine on the US firmware, that way it’ll be upgraded to ICS when it becomes available, rather than once Motorola are done screwing with it.

        • Matthews

          Could someone link me to some good instructions for doing this? I’m furious that my UK model still hasn’t gotten the update despite moto’s promises… I’d like to go ahead and root and switch to the US firmware… could someone point me in the right direction, perhaps an XDA forum link? Thanks!

  • hal9000a

    its not only a UK problem, its everybody except USA

  • Bob

    I was just about to buy a Xoom in the next couple of days but I’m so glad this came to light before I gave Motorola my cash. Motorola’s dishonesty is pretty poor here. It’s now going to be extremely unlikely if I ever buy a Motorola device in the future. Only when they have changed their stance and I’ve seen proof via 6 to 8 generations of hardware before I even consider Motorola again.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s hope they just wanted to skip 3.1 and head straight to 3.2!

  • I’m very annoyed about this delay as well, considering I’ve paid more than the US owners ($775) yet I’m an after thought.
    This is the first time i have bought a Motorola device and it will be my last, even if they released the update today they have destroyed there reputation with me.

    I would encourage everyone to inform other news sites about this hopefully they’ll do an article on this and perhaps shame Motorola into pulling there finger out there ass.

  • lll

    motorolla, ur companys lack of communication and support for customers is rediculous.. shit company i hope u becom insolvent

  • Anonymous

    I’m one of those poor souls tricked not once, but twice by Motorola (I bought the Milestone as soon as it came to the UK too). But I believed their promises, I really thought they had mended their ways and gave them a second chance. Curse their lies.

    I really do like the device, and even though it’s chunky I didn’t mind, I was happy with it as the first Honeycomb device, the genuine Google-approved tablet device (how the hell can they say it’s not GED?), and was looking forward to seeing the experience improve with updates. Such as how 3.1 makes video watching enjoyable rather than constantly waiting for halts, lockups and freezes, for example. And stuff listed on the spec sheet, like being able to use the MicroSD slot.

    But seeing how I’d been tricked, and how we weren’t getting our updates (again), and how the standard image for the device would never be released so you couldn’t root it safely (cos there’s no way to return it to unlocked state)… well, it sickened me. Moto us up to the same tricks of acting like it owns these devices, that we’ve bought and paid for. It’s turned me right off the device, and I don’t want to touch the damn thing again.

    I bought a Transformer, and I’m now happily running 3.1 (it’s great). Just like I bought a Nexus One after the picture with the original Milestone started to become clearer. And they won’t fool me a third time.

  • I’ve got a WiFi only Xoom in Canada and on the back of the case it says “with Google”. Not sure what that means, if anything, but it doesn’t appear to be customized much if at all. I use ADW Launcher anyway so it doesn’t matter. I’m very happy with my Xoom, plays DivX/XviD/avi movies flawlessly and does everything my netbook could do in half the bulk.
    But I do have a couple of beefs!. I’d really like to be able to use the micro-SD card slot. I am a Kubuntu Linux user and I’d also like to be able to plug in the USB connector and have the Operating System find it, just like in Windows. We Linux users are used to being ignored but when I plug in any camera or mp3 player (except Apple of course) it is recognized by Kubuntu. What’s up Motorola?Anyway, I’m not going to root and switch kernels – too risky for an old retired gal like me. I’ve only had the Xoom for 3 months and I guess another 3 months waiting time won’t kill me.

  • BobDohnal

    Honeycomb 3.1 for non-U.S. Xoom is officially out!http://goo.gl/hk4Di

  • Nigeltodd

    Just got my xoom and it has the update on (uk wifi model)

  • Gary McAndrew

    My thinking my Xoom was GED, was a major factor in why i purchased it! (Canada)

  • peter shipstone

    Still no update and Motorola are not saying why!!!!!

    What is the delay?