Motorola details 2012 Android 4.0 ICS update process

December 7, 2011

Motorola has updated their customers on what it takes to update their current smartphones and tablets to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. We still don’t have an exact release time-frame, but you kind of get the idea that it will take a relatively long time before we see it. Also, Motorola once again confirmed that the Droid Bionic, Droid RAZR, and Xoom (family edition included) will all be upgraded to ICS in 2012. You can read the entire entry below.

Like you, we are excited to see that Google released the source code to Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)! We’d like to address the question many of you have now – when can I get my ICS? There are many steps and processes that go into Ice Cream Sandwich in a way that works for the carrier and for you. Once source code is released from Google, it doesn’t automatically update to your device.

Each new version of Android launches with one device partner, in what is called the “Google Experience Device” or GED, the showcase device for a new Android release. The GED partner for each launch works with Google during the development of the OS so that the device and new Android version are ready for a coordinated simultaneous launch. Once that GED device ships, the rest of the Android community gains access to the Android source code as it’s made public shortly after – a critical milestone for device manufacturers and component suppliers, enabling us to start work on integrating the new release into our existing products.

Google has performed the initial public release of the Ice Cream Sandwich source code; additional releases will enable device manufacturers to ship commercial product with ICS. We are currently assessing this source code, and over the next month we will be determining which devices will get the upgrade and when — and we will communicate this as information becomes available.

Steps for Ice Cream Sandwich:

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.

To recap our earlier post, we are planning to upgrade DROID RAZR by Motorola, Motorola RAZR, Motorola XOOM (including Family Edition) and DROID BIONIC by Motorola to Ice Cream Sandwich. We will provide more precise guidance on timing after post-public push of Ice Cream Sandwich by Google, as well as any possible additions to this list of devices: As always, please refer to the Motorola Android Software Upgrade News page for the latest information.

Source: Motorola

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