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.



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