Photo: Ellis Hamburger, Business Insider
Samsung just announced a list of smartphones that will get a software update to the latest version of Android.The update brings Google’s five-month-old version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, to Samsung’s popular Galaxy S II phones on AT&T and Sprint.
Most Android phones today still run a version called Gingerbread, which is about a year and a half old.
Samsung’s list breaks the devices down by carrier, but doesn’t provide specific dates for when the new version of Android will be available.
Notably absent is the T-Mobile version of the Galaxy S II. Samsung says it is still in talks with the carrier to bring Ice Cream Sandwich to that phone.
The list also confirms that the original Galaxy S, one of Samsung’s most successful smartphone models, will not get the upgrade. We first got word that the Galaxy S would miss Ice Cream Sandwich in December, leaving about 10 million customers stuck on an outdated version of Android. Samsung says the Galaxy S hardware isn’t powerful enough for the upgrade.
The long wait just demonstrates one of the biggest problems with Google’s Android. It takes months and months after a new release for hardware partners and carriers to adopt the new version. By then, Google is usually gearing up for the version after that.
The only phones that are guaranteed to get the most recent version of Android are Google’s Nexus-branded devices like the Galaxy Nexus. If you own anything else, you have to wait a long time.
The Galaxy S II upgrade delay isn’t totally Samsung’s fault. Carrier partners have to test software updates for bugs before giving them the green light. That takes time. It’s very likely the Samsung’s work is done and Ice Cream Sandwich is ready to go for all these devices. Samsung is just waiting on each carrier to finish testing.