Android struggles with Ice Cream Sandwich as new iPad hits stores

by Kristen Nicole

The new iPad hit stores around the world today, and while its updates lack the “wow” factor we’d grown accustomed to from Apple releases, it presents an opportunity for Android to step up its tablet game. Things could be better for Android’s tablet and smartphone market, however, as the most recent version, Ice Cream Sandwich, is slow in rolling out to existing devices.

Samsung, which is pushing its Galaxy Note as a rival to the new iPad, has postponed ICS updates yet again, now slated for the second quarter. The update was supposed to be available for the Galaxy Note earlier this month, but for reasons unknown, the Note will have to wait a bit longer. The Samsung Galaxy S II, however, did finally receive its ICS update in some parts of the world.

AT&T’s accidental ICS roll out

Samsung has had a rough time with ICS, seemingly due to its own software and the manufacturer’s goals to skin the mobile experience. But they’re not the only OEM struggling to get Android’s latest version out to consumers. HTC Vivid users on AT&T’s network got an accidental ICS update earlier this week, quickly pulled with little explanation from AT&T. The wireless provider says they haven’t officially begun to push out ICS to the masses, though Vivid owners who dial *#*#682#*#* can force the device to download the update. Reports show a Sense 3.6-toting build of Android 4.0, with a long list of new features.

Device variety doesn’t hurt Android ecosystem

But the flavorful device market isn’t slowing down Android’s booming ecosystem, recently marked by Amazon’s 31,000 apps in its Appstore, and sales celebrating the market’s first birthday. Netflix has reason to celebrate as well, overcoming Android device fragmentation to post apps on nearly 1,000 different Android devices daily.