The recently announced Google Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) will be available only after six months from now on, according to reports. However, the first device with the new OS will be the Samsung Nexus Prime which will hit the markets as soon as December this year.
While Android 4.0, which is designed for both smartphones and tablets, will bring several new features including better NFC support, voice recognition, and ability to take screenshots.
As reports point out, the updates will arrive by 2nd quarter (beginning April) of 2012 and it is again going to be Samsung devices which will get these updates first. The official word from Samsung is that the six devices to get the update first will be Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, Galaxy Tab 7.7, Galaxy Tab 8.9 and Galaxy Tab 10.1 and all of these devices except Galaxy Note (which is coming to India on 2nd November) are already available in India.
Samsung has also said that since it had been working closely with Google on ICS, they expected to beat competitors to the market with upgrades for existing devices.
Meanwhile other operators have already confirmed through official channels that they will be updating their top of the line devices launched in 2011 to Android 4.0 but non (except Acer) have confirmed a date. Amongst Motorola devices, Xoom will probably be the first to get this update.
Asus has also confirmed it through their Facebook page, saying, “Google recently announced the latest update for Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, which brings some exciting new features and capabilities. At ASUS, we pride ourselves on delivering a great experience with our products, thanks to frequent updates that further enhance our products’ capabilities. We’re delighted to confirm support for Ice Cream Sandwich on the ASUS Eee Pad Family — our aim is to bring the latest Android update to the Eee Pad Series, but at this time we are unable to set a date for its release. Please stay tuned for more news on our Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade plans.”
Tablet-online.pl received a statement from Acer Poland indicating that Ice Cream Sandwich will hit the Acer Iconia Tab A100/A101 and the A500/A501 sometime in mid-January (that is when Consumer electronics show happens).
Another major manufacturer to confirm the update is Sony Ericsson, which in a reply to ‘The Inquirer’ said: “Sony Ericsson is currently rolling out the upgrade to Android Gingerbread 2.3.4 across its entire 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio. This software upgrade will be available through a phased roll out in select markets. Beyond Gingerbread 2.3.4, we plan to upgrade our 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio to the next Android platform made available to us.”
However, Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 users will be disappointed to know that their device will not be updated any further than the Android 2.3.
HTC has also publicly announced the plans for the updates, but it is expected to be late to the party as their phones are heavily modified version of Android and therefore will take more time to include their Sense user interface into the new updates. It will be a more uphill task since some of the features that were available only through Sense UI are now part of Android 4.0 by default.
Our expectation is that all the manufacturers who have modified skin (user interface) on top of Android will take slightly more time to update their existing handsets. Second, only high end 2011 models are going to get the updates. Third, new device will get the first priority in getting Android 4.0, updates will be done later (as it happened in the case of Android 2.3). And in all likelihood you will have to wait till April to get Ice Cream treat for your Smartphone.