Motorola's Android OS upgrade timeline is mostly bad news

So far, only 1 percent of Android users who have accessed the Android Market are running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android

The Motorola RAZR Android phone

The Motorola RAZR Android phone

Motorola has promised to upgrade many of its smartphones and tablets to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, but not any time soon.

So far, Motorola's Xoom Wi-Fi is the only device that has received Android 4.0, and the Xoom Family Edition is the only U.S. device scheduled for an update in the first half of the year. Five other Motorola devices will get Ice Cream Sandwich in the third quarter, including the Atrix 4G, Atrix 2, Photon 4G, Xyboard 8.2 and Xyboard 10.1.

Meanwhile, rumors have it that Android 5.0, codenamed "Jelly Bean" may arrive this spring.

Ice Cream Sandwich is a major upgrade for Android, combining Google's phone and tablet software into a unified platform. In addition to the new look, ICS includes hardware acceleration to make the interface smoother, a face unlock feature, better voice dictation, built-in photo editing, a redesigned contacts app, and the ability to answer a call with an automated text message, among other features. It's also the only version of Android that supports Google's Chrome browser.

So far, only 1 percent of Android users who have recently accessed the Android Market are running Ice Cream Sandwich.

Android 4.0 Upgrades Lagging

Motorola has promised that its latest phones will get Ice Cream Sandwich, including the Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, Droid Razr Maxx and Droid 4. But those devices, along with nine other U.S. phones and tablets, are listed as in “Evaluation and Planning,” with no release timing given.

A post on the Motorola owners' forum has complete upgrade details for all the company's Android devices. That, at least, should be applauded, considering that most Android phone makers don't offer one place to get all of this information.

But the lack of upgrade timing for Motorola's latest phones is a letdown. The wording in Motorola's press releases for the Droid 4 and Droid Razr--“to be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich”--suggests that the company at least had upgrade plans in place. The actual timeline tells a different story, with all the latest phones still in the evaluation phase.

Motorola recently tried to blame slow Android upgrades on hardware, telling PCMag that “multiple chipsets and multiple radio bands for multiple countries” were to blame. Conventional wisdom holds that software modifications by device makers and wireless carriers also slow down the process, because of the time it takes to merge their code with Google's.

Follow Jared on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for even more tech news and commentary.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?