Android is all the rage. A new phone hits the market in just about the same amount of time it takes for you to dust off that old pairs of LA lights. Android software is no different. It seems that a new version is already under development not even a few months to half a year later after the previous one releases. The current and most recent update to Google's popular operating system is Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich which has been out for the better part of 6 months. If you're in the market for a newer device it would be logical to think that one could jump into something currently running ICS. Heck, you'd think it would be everywhere by now. If you are somebody that has followed Google and android over the years however, you'd know that typically, newer versions of software updates don't usually push out as quickly as we'd hope.
That being said our aim in this article here is to get you familiar with which phones already have android 4.0 already preloaded so you can attempt to pick up a device with the newest android software fresh from the factory.
The current ICS A-Listers are as follows:
HTC One S on T-Mobile
HTC One X on At&t
HTC EVO 4G LTE on Sprint
HTC Vivid on At&t
HTC Amaze 4G on T-mobile
HTC Sensation on T-mobile
Samsung Galaxy nexus on Verizon(the original ICS pioneer!)
Samsung Nexus S 4G on At&t
That's it folks. You get your pick of eight devices that are currently running the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android. This is an extremely small list of phones to choose from if you're looking for a newer device running the latest. Not to mention that a few of the phones in this list aren't even loaded with it right out of the box. (Specifically the Sensation, Amaze and Vivid) Not to worry though if you had your heart set on one of these models as they should receive the update soon after you fire up the device. Aside from the few that aren't shipped with ICS, two of the expected heavy hitters that will have it out of box are at the current moment held by US customs and due to a patent infringement dispute that is happening between apple and HTC. That puts this lovely and already little list down to six devices. "Slim pickins" if you ask me.
Why do I need the latest version of Android you ask? Well, to be completely honest, you don't NEED it. It just happens to be a good idea to be at the forefront here. As with other versions of updates in the past, developers will start to compile their applications compatibility lists based on the devices running newer versions of software. This was true with applications like Netflix and Hulu plus and will be so with other applications coming in the future. Possibly sooner than later. This can be a tad bit frustrating if you're a consumer on an older device. While the selection is somewhat small now there are a rather large number phones that should be getting this update in the near future. That is what we are led to believe anyway. Here are the would be adopters of Android 4.0, slated to get the update later this year.
Devices that were promised admittance to the ICS after party:
HTC Droid Incredible 2 on verizon
HTC EVO Design 4G on Sprint
HTC EVO 3D on Sprint
HTC Rezound on Verizon
HTC Rhyme on Verizon
HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon
LG Lucid on Verizon
LG Spectrum on Verizon
Motorola Droid Razr on Verizon
Motorola Droid Razr Maxx on Verizon
Motorola Droid 4 on Verizon
Motorola Droid Bionic on Verizon
Samsung Captivate Glide on At&t
Samsung Galaxy Note on At&t
Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket on At&t
Samsung Galaxy S II from both At&t and T-mobile
Samsung Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch on Sprint
Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-mobile
Sony Xperia Play 4G on both At&t and Verizon
Just looking at this second list you can tell that it's much larger in volume. Potentially good news for would be shoppers and people already owning these devices because they are supposed to be updated, but don't forget that the updates haven't hit your phones just yet and they are slated for some time "later this year." This could mean that the manufacturers wouldn't have to push out the updates at all. They could very well hold the updates back and ultimately end up announcing that said devices will not be receiving any more future updates. This scenario isn't that farfetched.
Whether you already own a device that has Ice cream Sandwich or are getting ready to pick a new device and are curious to get your hands on some of the tasty features that many of us have been enjoying for months now, one thing needs to be set straight. Having Ice Cream Sandwich is not a complete necessity to picking a new device. While I believe it is a good idea to give yourself the slack and buy into a model running the latest, ultimately you want to be happy with the phone you pick. Don't get me wrong, ICS has all kinds of cool features. Face unlock just to name one. (Love that feature) or others like a preloaded data usage meter, far better contact management and syncing capabilities across the board. All of these are great Improvements upon past versions of android. But older versions of the software are not completely obsolete or even close to it. Android 4.0 currently only runs on 4.9% of devices out in the wild. This leaves a huge chunk of android phones running older versions like 2.3 gingerbread or 2.2 froyo. All of them carrying very few incompatibilities with apps or features. So when picking a new device, don't rest the entire decision on the factor of what software version the phone is running.
While I am affirm believer that android should get its due updates much quicker than what is happening right now, we can only hope that this sort of thing will improve along with the android software itself in the future.