With an October/November launch window more or less confirmed, the next burning question is which devices will get to benefit from the Ice Cream Sandwich treatment first. Motorola’s Sanjay Jha mentioned last month that he’d like his company to be first to market with an ICS device, but now another vendor has thrown their weight behind the latest update.
Today, Sony Ericsson has announced their support for the forthcoming version of Android, with all of their 2011 Xperia smartphones shipping with support for Ice Cream Sandwich.
Of course, this announcement says nothing about the actual logistics of the situation. Sure, flashy handsets like the Xperia Ray and the Xperia Arc will be privy to an ICS update, but SoMobile’s Sony Ericsson source makes no mention of availability dates. All devices that will get the Ice Cream Sandwich update will reportedly be upgraded to Android 2.3.4 first, which is curious since Sony mentioned that process would start as a phased rollout in October. Unless Sony Ericsson plans to stick very tightly to their timelines, that likely would push their ICS update window into November or beyond.
However murky the plan may be right now, at least Sony Ericsson has made it known. The competition, on the other hand, has remained largely quiet in the face of an Ice Cream Sandwich war during the coming months. How will their ICS rollouts play out?
Samsung’s in a good position here: their Nexus S handset was the first in the world to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and recent buzz points to them carrying that same distinction for the Ice Cream Sandwich update. That said, if their Gingerbread rollout track record is any indicator, it will take a few months for ICS builds to start making their way onto their other devices.
While Gingerbread first hit on Samsung’s Nexus S in December 2010, Motorola scrambled for months to get their Gingerbread builds out to their devices. In fairness, a majority of Motorola’s devices run custom interfaces that required a bit more fine-tuning, but that could all change now. Thanks for their new relationship with Google, it stands to reason that Motorola may be in a privileged position when it comes to ICS access. Sanjay Jha’s wish for being first to market probably won’t come true, but with Google’s support, those updates may come at a much faster clip than before.
UPDATE: Sony Ericsson has come out and denied any Ice Cream Sandwich update plans. In a statement to SlashGear, representatives from SE said that “when it comes to future platforms of the Android OS, we will make them available to consumers in a timely manner, as long as they improve the user experience and are viable from a hardware point of view.”