Thursday, February 16, 2012

Convert UK (or other) Motorola Xoom to GED with Jelly Bean

** IMPORTANT EDIT 31/07/2012 **
If you have been patiently waiting for Jelly Bean to land on your GED Xoom, wait no more. You can force the upgrade by clearing the Google services framework via Settings - Apps - All - Google services framework - Clear data.

Having done this, go back to 'About Tablet' and hit the 'Check for updates' button and the latest update should appear. 4.1.1. This has worked for me today.

EDIT 24/07/2012: Confirmation that Jelly Bean is on its way for the Xoom - hopefully within the next week:

EDIT 28/06/2012: With Google's announcement of Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' yesterday, it appears that the Xoom will receive this update some time in July. I hope this will automatically appear on my ICS Xoom, so when it does I will post an update with details on the upgrade.


I bought a Motorola Xoom last year and think it is superb. Living in the UK though I have been keen to obtain Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) but rather disappointingly it hasn't officially been released yet. It turns out that the non-US Xooms are not officially 'Google Experience Devices' and so have some amount of customisation in their OS, making updates slower to emerge as a result. The US devices however have no such restrictions and are already able to upgrade to ICS.

The excellent Xoom forums have a good article posted on how to safely convert your Xoom to one running the stock US ROM, which you can then update to the latest release. I tried this the other day and am delighted with the results. Everything works - I still have access to the UK App Store (with prices in GBP) and the ICS experience is genuinely much slicker than Honeycomb. So, if you are impatient and wish to try this yourself, here is how I did it.

Firstly a warning:


Still here? OK - I'll start with two pages for reference from which I derived this procedure:

You will need to install the Android SDK on your PC / Mac / Linux box - see elsewhere in this blog for instructions for various Linux installations, or visit this page:

Now for the procedure:

1. Connect Xoom to your computer via USB.
2. On the Xoom, go to Settings -> Applications -> Development -> Enable USB debugging - tick this.
3. Download from the Motorola Developer link above. You will need to register to access this file but this is a simple step. Unzip contents of into a folder. Move this folder into /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools/, or wherever this folder exists in your Android SDK on your hard disk. This last stage is very important you do correctly otherwise the commands below will not be able to find the ROM image files.
4. Now, open a terminal and execute the following (these examples were run on a Mac but should be the same for Linux. Windows users will need to adjust these to suit - see the Xoom Forums post for examples for Windows):

cd /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools

5. Check your PC is talking with the Xoom over USB with:

./adb devices

Which should return something like:

List of devices attached 
3848204958a394e5 device

6. Then start the procedure to flash the US ROM with:

./adb reboot bootloader

7. The Xoom reboots. When the Xoom screen shows "starting fastboot protocol support" now type in the terminal:

./fastboot oem unlock

8. Now use 'volume up / down' buttons on the Xoom to answer the displayed questions to accept the license. After some formatting, the device reboots. Now manually power off the Xoom and then, holding the 'volume down' button, power on again. You will enter fast boot again. Now in the terminal type:

./fastboot flash boot MZ604_HWI69/boot.img 
./fastboot flash system MZ604_HWI69/system.img 
./fastboot flash recovery MZ604_HWI69/recovery.img 
./fastboot flash userdata MZ604_HWI69/userdata.img 
./fastboot erase cache
./fastboot oem lock

9. Again, use the 'volume up / down' buttons to answer the questions. The Xoom now reboots into the US ROM. Once booted for the first time, start downloading all the system updates in the usual way. After 5 or 6 of these, your Xoom will eventually boot into ICS. That's it!

To return to UK version repeat the above using (N.B. I have not tried this - I plan to keep my Xoom in it's GED guise and hope it receives Android Jelly Bean later this year)!

I hope this works for you. Good luck if you do try, and thanks for reading.


  1. Hi Nick. I've heard rumours that although you will have a UK IP address, BBC iPlayer will not work telling you that you aren't in the UK.

    Could you confirm if this is true or not please?

  2. Hi - thanks for the comment.

    I've just tried pointing the built-in browser (not Chrome, which does not support Flash) at and it works fine. I had to select the 'Request desktop site' menu option to get away from the mobile site (which says my device is not supported). Once on the desktop site I can play anything.

    So it still thinks I'm in the UK, which is indeed correct.

  3. Fantastic news! Thanks for trying that. Great informative article by the way :)

  4. hi i can unlock the bootloader fine however when i get to fastboot the boot.img i get this msg:

    error: cannot load 'mz604_hwi69/boot.img'

    i am on mac osx lion and everything works great until the boot.img........please help!!

    1. i manually power off then hold volume down and power on.

      on the screen shows "starting fastboot protocol support" but thats it.

      error msg above shows when trying to load the boot.img.

    2. To exit fastboot and reboot the Xoom into the OS, hold volume up and then hold the power button for a few seconds. It should reboot normally.

  5. Hi scrott901

    I'm pretty certain your issue is due to which directory you are in when you initiate the ./fastboot command. If you look closely at my instructions, I have CD'd into the directory in which the MZ604_HWI69 resides. By doing this, when I run ./fastboot it can find al the ROM files within the MZ604_HWI69 directory no problem.

    Having said that, be sure to check the case of the command you are entering. My folder is in all upper case (i.e. MZ604_HWI69). As such you must type this in upper case - using "mz604_hwi69" will not work.

    I hope this helps. Good luck trying again,


  6. im not sure what CD'd means?

    sorry for being a biff

    1. :-) let's see if I acn clarify. CD is a unix command - I think it means 'current directory' but it's easier to remember it as 'change directory. In my instructions above, I start by issuing the following command:

      cd /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools

      This 'changes directory' to /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools. In here I have the tools located to perform the flashing of the Xoom, and the folder containing the ROM files. If I 'list' the filder's contents (using the ls command) I can see everything here:


      If you do the same on your Mac, and see the same list of files & folders, then you should be able to follow the rest of my instructions OK. But remember to follow them to the letter - UNIX-type command lines, such as the Mac's, expect every character to be correct, otherwise you'll most likely end up with an error, or worse.


  7. thank you fella worked a treat!! just going through OTA

    1. You're welcome. I hope you'll enjoy ICS - I've lived with it for a few weeks now and think it is really excellent.


  8. Hi everyone. For anyone interested, 4.0.4 just landed on my Xoom today. Nick.

  9. Thanks for this guide, it was really helpful!

  10. Thanks for this guide, I was successfully able to rejig the Xoom and it has now been upgraded to 4.0.4. Unfortunately the SD card is no longer writeable, which it was previously. Any ideas how I get around this?

    1. Hi - I've searched the web and there seems to be some mixed information about what apps can modify the SD card. If you'd like to describe specifically what you are trying to do I will see if I can reproduce the symptoms on mine. Also with Jelly Bean just around the corner that might improve SD card support.

  11. Hi i have sucsessfully ged my xoom but the first update
    downloads but wont install, iget the file starting to unpack and then a screen with a white triangle over a droid appears and thats where it stays can you help please

    1. Hi David. Sorry for the late reply - did you manage to resolve this issue?

  12. Great guide, used linux but was similar,also did you know that in a mac, you can physically drag the folder from finder into the terminal window, has the same effect as CDing into the folder manually? For sites like BBC player, ICS browser on the market let's you change to desktop mode perminantly, @ david Thompson, try master reset, and wait for the update to download again, it may be corrupt! Good luck all, and thanks for a great guide :-)

    1. Yes problem solved I was using xoot and it had a custom boot loader in the same file Where I put the US firmware. Deleted the rogue and tried again and now I am on jellybean which is brilliant

  13. Great date. Is there any utility to change location to UK so we get UK dictionaries

    1. Hi - you should just be able to select UK English with: Settings / Language & input.

  14. Thank you very much for the instructions. I followed them to the letter and it all went without a hitch. ICS seems to be significantly smoother on my Xoom. Very happy. Thanks again!

  15. Hi.

    I own a Xoom from Spain, I have a couple of doubts...

    In a GED (US-wifi firmware) device...

    - Can I select Spanish language for the system? (es_ES, not es_MX).
    - Can I select Spanish language for the keyboard layout?
    - Does the market (play store) work in Spanish (in EUR) or the US market is shown when you launch it?
    - Can the device be downgraded again to es_ES stock rom to be able to use the warranty if needed?

    All 4 answers are very important to me before 'gedifying' my device.


    1. Hi

      Here are a few answers which I hope might help:

      1. The only languages available on my GED ICS Xoom are: English (US), Espanol (US), and Francais (Canada).
      2. There are options to select a Spanish keyboard under 'Input Language' settings.
      3. I can't verify whether the Play store works in Euros, although mine is set to GBP in the UK so I would hope the currency is determined by your Google Play account settings rather than a setting on the Xoom itself.
      4. Yes you can roll-back to the stock ROM but I have never done it.


    2. Thanks for answering, Nick :-)


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