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AT&T bringing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to 11 more devices

by Phil Hornshaw

Get excited, AT&T-using Android owners. You may be on the list of lucky individuals getting an upgrade to the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, Ice Cream Sandwich.

Fierce Mobile Content has the story, pointing out that AT&T intends to bring 11 devices up-to-date with the latest version of Android, 4.0, in the coming months. If you’ve got an HTC Vivid, good news: your update is already waiting. On the list of upcoming upgrades are the Motorola Atrix 2 and Atrix 4G; Pantech’s Burst and Element; the LG Nitro; and Samsung’s Captive Glide, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy S II and Galaxy S II Skyrocket. No timetable for those updates has been released, however.

Even without a firm date for upgrades, that’s great news for Android owners. Google announced Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and its cool new features way back in November, but despite sounding like a very big improvement to the Android ecosystem, upgrades have been slow in rolling out to actual users.

For a long time, the only ICS-capable device came directly from Google via Verizon: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. At the same time, Google has already started talking about Android 5.0 (believed to be code-named “Jelly Bean”), which is even more confusing for users waiting patiently for their upgrade to an Android version that’s already available.

The trouble with upgrades like this one is that there are a lot of adjustments that have to be made, even after Google finishes with its programming for ICS. Once Google finished the update, it was sent out to all the device makers for them to tweak, along with the carriers. Since Android is open-source, it’s basically different on every device. The problem, known as fragmentation, affects apps as well as Android updates.

But after a long, awkward silence on the ICS front, it seems more carriers and device makers are getting to a point where they’re ready to get their users upgraded. It’s a slow process, but some progress is better than none. Samsung Galaxy S II owners will be glad to hear AT&T is working on their ICS update, which was leaked as being ready last week, only for Samsung to backpedal on the update immediately afterward.

Meanwhile, we do know that Google is actively thinking about and working on the next version of Android, although details are still pretty thin. There’s some speculation that this next Android update might be aimed at tablets, like Android 3.0 Honeycomb is. That might help relieve some tension of smartphone users getting upgraded to ICS just in time for something even better to roll out.