Motorola and Sony Ericsson detail their upgrade process to bring their Android smartphones up to Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. It's a lot of testing.
Peppered with questions
about when their phones will get the upgrade to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android
4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, Motorola Mobility (NYSE:MMI) and Sony
Ericsson provided more clarity on the upgrade process for bringing their
smartphones up to the next Android build.
In short, both Android OEMs
conduct a lot of code stabilization, testing, debugging and certification.
Ice Cream Sandwich, or ICS, marries
the Android smartphone and Honeycomb tablet branches
, including some of the
holographic user interface perks and software navigation keys for which Honeycomb
Android Beam lets users tap
together two ICS-enabled phones to share files, YouTube videos, applications
and other content. ICS also leverages the graphics processor and camera in
phones to let users unlock their phones through facial recognition.
One thing many people don't
realize is that when Google open sources new Android code, it doesn't just fly
over the air to users' homes. There is a political and technical process. As
Motorola noted, each new version of Android launches with one OEM via a
"Google Experience Device."
For example, HTC built the
first Nexus One, while Samsung crafted the Nexus S Android 2.3 Gingerbread
handset and the new ICS-based Galaxy Nexus phone. Google and Samsung worked
together closely to build those devices, which are also the first to get
upgrades from Google's Android team.
"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," Motorola wrote in a blog post
Now that the Galaxy Nexus is
out (in the U.K.-Verizon is supposed to release its Code Division Multiple
Access (CDMA) version any day now), Motorola said it is assessing this source
code and will spend the rest of the month deciding which of its devices will
get the upgrade and when. Motorola handsets, such as the Motorola Droid Razr,
Droid Bionic, Motorola Razr and the Motorola Xoom tablet, will get ICS.
outlined its go-ahead process for upgrading to ICS in this blog post
Sony Ericsson, which has said
all of its 2011 Xperia-branded Android handsets
, has a "bring-up phase"
to make ICS stable followed by a certification and approval phase.
Sony said its engineers started
revving up their Xperias with ICS Nov. 14, the same day the ICS source code
became available. The engineers tested the code to make sure it compiles
correctly and debugged it. Read the rest of Sony's
technical details here on the company's developer blog
With the Galaxy Nexus out to
whet the appetites of users for ICS, HTC, LG and other Android OEMs are also
working hard on preparing their hardware for ICS.