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03:14 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman

Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA

Google's data reveals that Android 4.0's presence in the market has grown less than one percent in the last month.

There are still hardly any Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich smartphones available for sale, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the latest Android statistics compiled by Google.

Google measures the incidence of each Android variant accessing the Android Market, nee, Google Play, in 14-day chunks. In the latest 14-day chunk, only 1.6% of all devices accessing the Android Market were running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. That's up just over half a percentage point, and includes Android 4.0 through Android 4.0.3. So, in three months of availability, Ice Cream Sandwich has clawed from 0% to a fractional 1.6%. That's pathetic.

In the U.S., the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Samsung Nexus S, and Motorola Xoom have been given official Android 4.0 updates. Most other Android handsets are waiting to be updated--if they are to be updated at all. For example, Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced that only 12 of the devices its lineup--five of which are tablets--will be updated to Android 4.0.

[ Even if you can't get the latest Android OS, you can get the latest content from Google. Read Google Play Merges Android Market With Music, eBookStore. ]

Looking at the rest of the field, Google points out that Gingerbread's share of the Android universe actually grew, too, stealing a bit from Froyo and Eclair. Android 2.3 swelled from 58.6% to 62% in February, meaning three out of five Android devices are running the version of Android that was released in December 2010.

Every other variant of Android lost share in the last month.

Honeycomb fell from 3.4% to 3.3% in total share of the Android platform; Froyo fell two percentage points to 25.3%; Eclair fell one point to 6.6%; and Donut and Cupcake combined amount to 1.2% of the active Android installed base. It is somewhat depressing that Froyo, which was released in mid-2010, is still present on one out of four Android devices. Gingerbread and Froyo together own about 88% of the entire Android platform.

So where's Ice Cream Sandwich? Still missing in action, for the most part, but its arrival is approaching.

Google released the platform code to phone makers in November. (Samsung got a head start, receiving the code in October.) Once the equipment companies were able to download the code, they have to mold it to fit each individual phone. Why? Because phones use an array of different chips and other components that must be accounted for within the code. Once the code is adapted to each device, it is then sent to wireless network operators for testing before it can be distributed to consumers. Even installing Android 4.0 on brand new phones will take time.

That's why the bulk of phones announced at CES and MWC will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread and receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in the months to come.

If you want Ice Cream Sandwich right_now_TODAY, you'll have to cough up the dough for a phone that comes with Android 4.0 preinstalled. Otherwise, be prepared to wait.

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User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2012 | 9:57:46 PM
re: Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA
Why, oh why in the world can't people write cohesive sentences anymore?
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2012 | 11:24:33 PM
re: Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA
@Curious first of all, it's fanboi with an "i". Second I'm going to defend Mr. Zeman here. This article is not about Apple explicitly nor implicitly, nor is it anti-Android. While it's clear that Mr. Zeman appreciates the iPhone, he's written quite a few columns that are pro-Android as well. It is possible to appreciate both worlds while wishing that each could be even better.

Facts are facts. Because Apple controls both hardware and OS the lag between announcement and availability of a new OS are tiny. For some that's a strong plus, especially because some upgrades are security fixes. For others it doesn't outweigh their legitimate concerns about Apple's closed universe. So you pick one.

In explaining that there legitimate reasons why it takes so long for the newest version to deploy across the spectrum Mr. Zeman does a service for readers who may be frustrated because they haven't thought this through. That's hardly an anti-Android position. It couldn't be more neutral.

I will take it the next step though. If mobile devices are the future and Android is THE leader in this space, there's a legitimate question that comes to my mind: Would Windows have ruled the world for so long if users of old PCs had to wait for their OEMs to retool the OS so that their boxes would be ready for upgrade? In the long haul Google must address this in order to realize its potential as tablets and other larger devices move into the enterprise as BYOD solutions. Instead its use will largely be limited to to smartphone users who think that any non-sycophantic observations about Android constitute mindless loyalty to the enemy. That would be a shame.
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2012 | 6:45:14 PM
re: Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA
I THINK since they show the ics new will come to nexus s or other I would be ashame showing that in the news wow ics coming! LOOK HOW LONG PEOPLE WAITING FOR UPDATES
I own apple before and bought 2 android after and i am seriously considering going back with apple because regular updates are there not like android keep talking about it but nothings moving!
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2012 | 11:51:24 AM
re: Android Phones: Ice Cream Sandwich Still MIA
You're an Apple fan boy! Anything you say about non-Apple products is lacking in objectivity!
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