We know the lengths one might go for a Klondike Bar; but what would you do-woo-woo for a different kind of Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 perhaps?
While you can attempt all manner of feats to obtain a Klondike Bar, there's not much you can legally do to get Google's Ice Cream Sandwich (the newest version of the Android mobile operating system announced in October) if your own an older Android smartphone. Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone was released in mid-December and comes pre-loaded with ICS; it remains one of a couple of smartphones with Ice Cream Sandwich, as owners of non-Galaxy Nexus and non-Nexus S phones await their updates.
So when can you expect Ice Cream Sandwich to be available on your Android phone? Below, we've rounded up the latest, manufacturer by manufacturer:
If you've got a Sony Xperia, Ice Cream Sandwich should be arriving at the end of March or beginning of April 2012. In a post on the official Sony blog, Martina Johansson of Sony Ericsson provides a timeline for the roll-out, writing that Sony's developers are busy "merging...current Xperia software with the new features in Android 4.0." The big update is due in a few months and will come first to the Xperia arc S, the Xperia neo V and the Xperia ray; these will be followed by the Xperia arc, the Xperia PLAY, the Xperia neo, the Xperia mini/mini pro, the Xperia pro and the Xperia active.
Basically, all your Xperia devices are going to get Ice Cream Sandwich eventually, as will the Sony Tablet S; there is no firm release date for the Tablet S as of yet, however.
By way of explanation for the wait, Johansson also lays out the process for integrating Android 4.0 with Sony's own software. Since many mobile manufacturers place their own skins or flavors on top of Android (think Motorola's MotoBlur or HTC's Sense), it takes some time to satisfactorily combine the two. These bullet points from the Sony blog serve as a nice primer on the ICS delay for all manufacturers:
- It starts with public push when we as a manufacturer get access to the new Android release from Google
- Our developers take the existing Xperia software and combine it with the new Android release
- Once the coding is done we want to make sure the quality of the new software meets our, our partners and your expectations
- Now we feel the new software is ready but we also need to make sure it’s approved by our external partners
- All good. We’re all set to roll-out the new software. The story continues in your Xperia smartphone
Samsung's Galaxy Nexus already has Ice Cream Sandwich, of course, and most Nexus S phones should have already received an over-the-air update. The status of Android 4.0 for other Samsung smartphones is less clear. Here's what we know, for now:
- Samsung Nexus S phones started getting Ice Cream Sandwich on December 16. If you own a Nexus S, you should be using an Ice Cream Sandwich device at this point.
- The Samsung Galaxy S II will get Android 4.0 in the first quarter of 2012, as will the Galaxy Note.
- The Samsung Galaxy S and Samsung Galaxy Tabs were both on track for Ice Cream Sandwich, until they weren't, until they were again, maybe. Basically, Samsung claimed that they would update the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab to Android 4.0 and then announced that they would not, due to the limitations of the device's RAM and ROM to run both ICS and a bit of touch-interface software called TouchWiz simultaneously. Now, apparently bowing to consumer pressure, Samsung is re-examining ICS for the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tabs, as reported by MSN Korea.
UPDATE: As of January 3, Samsung said it will not introduce a full ICS upgrade for the Galaxy S smartphone.
Ice Cream Sandwich updates to LG devices will start in Q2 2012 (that's some time between April and June) and will come in two phases.
1. In the first phase, the Optimus LTE, Prada Phone by LG 3.0, Optimus 2X, Optimus Sol, myTouch Q and Eclipse will all get ICS. This will begin in Q2 2012.
2. In the second phase, the Optimus 3D, Optimus Black, Optimus Big, Optimus Q2 and Optimus EX will be updated. That will start in Q3 2012, or some time between July and September 2012.
Missing from the list, as noted by the Los Angeles Times: the LG Nitro HD, the G2X, the Thrill 4G, the DoublePlay, the G-Slate and the MyTouch.
There's not a boatload of Motorola ICS info -- especially on specific phones -- though the company, which Google recently agreed to acquire, is gearing up to push forward Google's newest mobile OS to its handsets.
- The Motorola Droid RAZR will get Ice Cream Sandwich in early 2012, according to Motorola's senior vice president portfolio and product management Alain Mutricy.
- The Droid Bionic and all Xoom tablets will be upgraded to ICS eventually, according to a December 7 post on the Motorola website.
- No updates on the Droid X or Droid 3, the Atrix 4G or the Photon 4G; Motorola says it is "planning on upgrading as many of [its] phones as possible."
- On specific devices, a post on the official Motorola website from December 7 had this to say about specific devices and ICS: "[O]ver the next month we will be determining which devices will get the upgrade and when -- and we will communicate this as information becomes available." It's been about twenty days since that pronouncement; look for additional details and decisions about individual Motorola phones and Ice Cream Sandwich, then, within the next two weeks.
Finally, we come to HTC, maker of several well-selling Android handsets, including the popular HTC Evo. A brief statement on the company's UK Facebook page is all we've heard:
Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in early 2012 to a variety of devices including the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, as well as the HTC Rezound*, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G* and HTC Amaze 4G* through close integration with our carrier partners.
We also got a glimpse of what is supposedly one of HTC's first Ice Cream Sandwich phones, the HTC Ville, via tech website Boy Genius Report. BGR says the Ville is set to launch in April.
And that's almost everything we know on the mobile Ice Cream Sandwich front! Developing and testing a new Android operating system can clearly be a difficult and lengthy process for the manufacturers, so all of this is subject to change and could become irrelevant overnight. In the meantime, we'll keep you updated on all the latest major developments in the Android 4.0 world as the news breaks.