Update Motorola Xoom ( US Wi-Fi Only) to Ice Cream Sandwich Manually [Official]

Owners of the original Google Experience Device, the US Motorola Wi-Fi Only Xoom can celebrate this day, and with good reason. Xoom Developer solarnz has extracted and posted the official Android 4.0.3 OTA update, which is being pushed to US Wi-Fi only Xoom versions. 3G & LTE Xooms will have to wait for some more time, unfortunately, as they are not categorized as GEDs or Google Experience Devices.

The release of the official ICS update for the Asus Transformer Prime, earlier this week, left Wi-Fi only Xoom owners seething, as the original device was marketed as a GED, with the implicit understanding that, like the Nexus One, and the Nexus S, since this is a device which runs pure, stock Android OS ( Moto Xoom was the first ever Honeycomb tablet), it would receive updates faster and much before manufacturer or carrier modified devices would.

But in the end it turned out well; Transformer Prime forums & community boards across the web were bubbling over with questions and posts on issues related to the OTA update. I, being a GED  Xoom Wi-Fi  owner (courtesy a generous colleague who offered to pick one up for me on  his visit to the the States), was pretty excited on seeing this OTA zip posted on XoomForums, and got right down to giving my slate some official ICS joy. I was already running the unofficial CM9 by Kang, and was impressed with the improvement in the Xoom’s performance over the ICS framework, as compared to Honeycomb. And guess what, it took me less than 20 minutes to flash the Xoom back to stock Honeycomb 3.2, accept and apply 2 OTA updates to get it to 3.2.1,  push the ICS OTA update manually through adb, and finally to root the Xoom and install ClockworkMod recovery. And all of this, with not a single freeze or error.

So in the end, Moto did delay the update by a few days, and lost the race to the Prime, but still looks like the winner, because the update seems to go through smoothly, everything works the way it should after it is successfully applied, and you forget all the bitterness you felt against Moto for releasing the update, once ICS boots up on your Xoom; and tells you that this is a true Google Experience Device 🙂

Quick Feedback on the official ICS experience on the Xoom:  Everything is fast and buttery smooth, browser loads webpages much faster and smoother than Honeycomb,  There is no Face Unlock option in the official update ( I couldnt care less, but there may be people who might want this), Camera, HDMI, Video works just fine, there is a screenshot feature available natively, and Battery life seems to be significantly better.Its now close to 20 hours since I updated to ICS, and I was on full charge then, and I still have 53% juice left, despite all the tinkering I did through most of the night and all of this morning.

Nuff said, lets now move on to how you can get this update on your Xoom Wi-Fi (US).

Compatibility: This update and guide is meant only and only for the Motorola Xoom US Wi-Fi edition. It will not work with any other edition, on the contrary, may cause problems for your device.

Disclaimer: The steps and methods included in this guide are considered risky. Please do not attempt to try this unless you know exactly what you are doing, as it may render your device unusable, and your pocket lighter by the amount it takes to replace it. You have been forewarned!!!

Pre-Installation Requirements

  • Fully Charged Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi (US )
  • All data backed up. You can use this excellent Android Backup Guide if required
  • ADB ( Android Debug Bridge) set up on your PC
  • Motorola Drivers installed on your PC
  • USB host cable or adapter ( This is required to flash the ICS OTA zip through a pen drive or an external hard drive)

Note: Make sure you are not rooted or have any custom ROM installed. If you are on a rooted Stock ROM, or running a Custom ROM, you WILL have to flash back to stock ( you will lose root, but don’t worry, we will get it back for you later )

Download Links

Drivers (Windows)

Stock 3.2 mage- Build HTJ85B     |    Mirror

Universal Root Update

Custom Recovery Image   File Name : recovery-Tiamat-R4c-100611-1150-cwm.img

Official Google OTA for Ice Cream Sandwich  File name: 71a21bfe7c81.signed-tervigon-IML77-from-HTK75D.71a21bfe.zip

Installation Guide: The Installation Tutorial is split into 3 sections. Section 1- Flashing the Xoom back to a Stock image, Section 2- Applying the Ice Cream Sandwich update manually  & Section 3 – Flashing ClockworkMod recovery & Rooting the Xoom

Section 1 – Flashing Back to Stock 3.2

  1. Download the HTJ85B Stock 3.2 Image ( Link provided above) & extract the contents of the zip file.
  2. You should see the following files in the extracted folder ; 1) boot.img 2) recovery.img 3) system.img 4) userdata.img
  3. Copy all of these files and paste them individually ( do not paste the entire folder)  into the adb folder where adb.exe is located ( In my case it is in C:/android-sdk-windows/platform-tools)
  4. Turn on USB debugging on the Xoom ( Settings – Applications-Development-USB Debugging and Make sure the box is checked)
  5. Connect the Xoom to PC via USB cable
  6. Open up a command prompt & navigate to the adb folder (In my case C:/android-sdk-windows/platform-tools) & typein the following commands
  • adb reboot bootloader ( This command will get you into fastboot mode where we will flash the stock images. Xoom should reboot into a screen with the red M logo and show the “Starting Fastboot Protocol Support” text at the top left of the screen)
  • fastboot flash boot boot.img
  • fastboot flash system system.img
  • fastboot flash recovery recovery.img
  • fastboot flash userdata userdata.img
  • fastboot erase cache

The Xoom will now reboot into Honeycomb, and get you to the setup screen. Set up your Google account and sign in. Go to Settings- About Tablet- System Updates, and accept the update that is available. After the update is installed, the Xoom will reboot. Repeat the same step, and accept the second update and install it. Xoom will reboot again.

You have now successfully flashed your Xoom back to Stock 3.2.1  Honeycomb with the Stock recovery. If you were rooted when you started, you have lost root access now.

Section 2 – Manually updating to official ICS 4.0.3

  1. Download the Official ICS OTA update zip file (Link provided above)
  2. Transfer the file to a USB pen drive or a USB external drive
  3. Make sure USB debugging is enabled on the Xoom, and connect it to the PC via USB cable
  4. Connect the USB Pen drive with the ICS update zip file to the Xoom
  5. Open up a command prompt on the PC, and navigate to the adb folder ( An easier way to do this is to Right Click on the folder while holding the Shift key down, and select the Open Command Window here option)
  6. Type in the following commands in adb mode
    • adb reboot recovery

    The Xoom should now reboot into recovery. At the Green android screen, hold the power button and tap the volume up button once, release the power button. You should now see the default Android Recovery options ( Please note that this is not CWM, at least not as yet 🙂 )

  7. Select the Apply Update option, and choose the “71a21bfe7c81.signed-tervigon-IML77-from-HTK75D.71a21bfe.zip” file from the USB Drive. Tap the power button to continue.

Let it run through the update process, choose reboot once it is complete, and enjoy the official Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 OS on your Google Experience Device 🙂

Section 3 – Installing ClockworkMod recovery & Rooting the Xoom Wi-Fi on ICS

  1. Download the Custom recovery image (Link Provided above) and copy the .img file to your adb folder.
  2. Download the Universal Root zip file, and transfer the zip file to the external sd card (MicroSD ) on the Xoom
  3. Ensure USB debugging is enabled, and connect your Xoom to the PC
  4. Open up a command prompt on the PC, and navigate to the adb folder ( An easier way to do this is to Right Click on the folder while holding the Shift key down, and select the Open Command Window here option)
  5. Type in the following commands in adb mode
    • adb reboot bootloader
    • fastboot flash recovery recovery-Tiamat-R4c-100611-1150-cwm.img

    This will flash the ClockworkMod recovery Image on the Xoom. Once you have verification on your device that this has been flashed, reboot your device by holding volume up + power. Then 3 seconds after you see the Motorola logo, hit volume down. You should now see “Android Recovery” in the top left corner. Hit volume up to boot into recovery.

  6. In ClockworkMod Recovery, go to Install zip from SD card–> Choose Zip from SD card & Select the Xoom-Universal-Root.zip file you placed there in Step 2. Confirm the installation & let CWM flash the root update
  7. Once the Universal Root update is flashed, go back to the main menu and Select Reboot System.
  8. Once the Xoom reboots, you will be the proud owner of a Google Experience Device running the official Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 OS, and to top it, you will have root access as well.

You can also visit the original update thread HERE to read about user experiences with this update.

So go ahead, use the guide above to manually upgrade your Wi-Fi Xoom (US) to the official ICS, and show it off to your friends who are either reeling from a botched ICS update with the Prime, or still waiting for one on other devices.  I doubt if you would come across issues, as all of the above steps have been tried and tested last night by yours truly.  But on the off chance that you do hit a roadblock,  feel free to let us know in comments below, and we’d be glad to help out.