We have heard and seen plenty of reports from all types of manufacturers over the future of their Android line up. Many have stated when updates to the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will arrive and today Motorola has made the process even more clear. They stated the DROID RAZR would see ICS early next year and also unlock bootloaders, but we’ve heard that chime from them before. Today Motorola breaks down the process but I’m not sure how I feel about the news.
Motorola has also recently tweeted devices would see ICS updates within 6 weeks of Google releasing the source code. We now know that meant we would all receive an update and details on when to expect ICS for their devices — not that they’d actual get updated that fast.
In a Motorola Blog post we now have a breakdown of the events and a timeline for what to expect. How does around 4-6 months and possibly more sound? CM9 anyone? For those expecting Android 4.0 ICS on their new Bionic or RAZR early next year, you might be waiting a little longer than expected.
Here is the breakdown of steps needed to bring an update — according to Motorola:
1. Merge and adapt the new release for different device hardware architecture(s) and carrier customizations
This means that we take the source code and incorporate it into upgrades for devices on which this can perform well, along with making sure the carrier requirements are met. Silicon partners such as Qualcomm, TI, and nVidia adapt this to their chipsets in parallel and we incorporate these as they become available. This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code. Features like MotoCast, Smart Actions, and our comprehensive enterprise solutions are integral parts of our device experiences, and we want to make sure we continue delivering differentiated experiences for our consumers with these software upgrades.
2. Stabilize and ‘bake’ the result to drive out bugs
This means that we will prepare the upgrade to meet the quality and stability requirements to enter the wireless carrier’s certification lab.
3. Submit the upgrade to the carriers for certification
This is the point in the process where the carrier’s lab qualifies and tests the upgrade. Each carrier has different requirements for phases 2 and 3. There may be a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months.
3.5 Perform a Customer pre-release
We may perform some customer testing before a final release is delivered publicly to our user base.
4. Release the upgrade
We are planning on upgrading as many of our phones as possible. The ability to offer the upgrade depends on a number of factors including the hardware/device capabilities, the underlying chipset software support, the ICS support and then the ability to support the Motorola value add software.
After looking at past updates and how long devices took to receive Gingerbread this actually all sounds pretty accurate. We are looking at around 4 months at the earliest, and 6+ months at the latest. Verizon isn’t the quickest company either when it comes to approving software updates so that could also be a factor here. Many phones are just now getting Android 2.3 Gingerbread while 4.0 is already here, so it is same to assume the same could happen for many with this latest iteration of Android. I’ll be rooting and installing custom ROM’s before I wait that long — but that is just me.