Samsung, Motorola roll out Android ICS upgrades worldwide

by Kristen Nicole

It looks like Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is finally rolling out on the devices we’d expect, including the Samsung Galaxy S II and a handful of Motorola handsets. Samsung’s already begun upgrading its Galaxy S II smartphone with ICS, starting with European customers in Poland, Hungary and Sweden, as well as Korea, with a gradual spread to other international markets. What’s disappointing is the lack of details on ICS release dates for countries like the U.S. and France, though the UK is expected to receive the upgrade next week.

The ICS update will eventually be extended to other Samsung devices, including the Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II LTE, Galaxy R, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus, 7.7, 8.9, 8.9 LTE and 10.1, though no release dates were given for these devices either.

It’s been nearly six months since Google first launched Ice Cream Sandwich, and it was Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus that first debuted the new software. Perhaps expectations were set too high for Samsung as a result, as consumers hoped for ICS upgrades on more Samsung devices by now. It’s been a big hurdle for Samsung to retrofit ICS for its smartphones and tablet, partially due to its own software overlay, though wireless service providers can hold up the process as well.

Carriers slowing down ICS roll out?

The carrier obstacle is one Motorola faces too, as Verizon customers seem to be the only U.S. Android users to not get the update in the second quarter. Motorola revealed their updated ICS roll-out schedule, with most customers looking to be updated in the coming weeks. There’s 13 devices on the updated schedule, including the Xooms, Droid Bionic, Razr, Razr Maxx, Droid 4 and the Xyboard, with the Photon 4G, Atrix 4G, Atrix 2 and Electrify expected to receive ICS upgrades throughout the year.

The tiered approach to software upgrades has become a bone of contention for Android fans, leading to a fragmented market struggling to unify the user experience and expectations. Nevertheless, manufacturers seem determined to launch ICS-capable phones to shift the balance, including HTC’s upcoming Golf. The HTC Golf is thought to be the successor to the HTC Explorer, indicating it’s a price-friendly alternative to the early roll out of high-end Android 4.0 devices. It’s expected to have a 3.6-inch HVGA touchscreen, 600MHz processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of onboard memory.