Just recently tech news headlines proclaimed that Motorola blamed differences in hardware and carrier software add-ons, not Motoblur. At the time it seemed like they “doth protest too much”. Now after seeing their Android 4.0 release schedule for existing Motorola smartphones and tablets, it seems like they were trying to prepare users for the bad news.
According to their process, “Evaluation & Planning” is only the first phase out of 4 different phases leading up a major software release. But what’s a little disconcerting about this first phase is that some devices will not reach the release phase. So for some, the wait could amount to nothing.
And what if a device like the DROID RAZR does get Android 4.0 by Q3 or so of this year? There’s the possibility that the version of Ice Cream Sandwich that drops will be a few versions old due to the relatively long testing cycle. Even today, some Android smartphones are just now getting updates to Gingerbread.
The take away here is to buy devices with the feature set you want now. Don’t buy something hoping that in the near future it’ll get the update that will make it the best device ever, because that update may not come for several months, if at all.
It’s not completely Motorola Mobility’s fault, since carrier requirements are likely a major factor affecting the development cycle. But it seems like Motorola and other Android device manufacturers have a lot of work cut out for them if they ever want to provide timely Android updates. But if you’re impatient for Ice Cream Sandwich, a custom ROM from CyanogenMod or other development groups might be the better bet.