HTC vows Android Ice Cream Sandwich updates are still on track


HTC reiterated that smartphones including the Desire S, Droid Incredible 2 and Thunderbolt remain on schedule to upgrade to Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android 4.0 (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich) by the end of August, despite the handset maker's recent decision to scrap the planned overhaul of its Desire HD.

"We're still working on getting the updates ready," HTC wrote Thursday on its Facebook page. "We expect to have updates issued by the end of August for all devices that have been announced." The list of HTC smartphones slated for Ice Cream Sandwich also includes the Rhyme, which was originally scheduled to upgrade by the end of July.

Rumors that HTC would halt its efforts to upgrade Thunderbolt started circulating after the manufacturer announced late last month that the similar Desire HD would not make the leap to Ice Cream Sandwich. HTC canceled the upgrade after extensive internal testing determined that the Desire HD delivers a better customer experience in its current incarnation, which runs Android 2.3 (nicknamed Gingerbread) along with the HTC Sense graphical user interface.

"Due to how storage on the HTC Desire HD is partitioned--and the larger size of Android 4.0--it would require re-partitioning device storage and overwriting user data in order to install this update," HTC said. "While technically advanced users might find this solution acceptable, the majority of customers would not. We also considered ways to reduce the overall size of the software package, but this would impact features and functionality that customers are currently using. Even after installing the update, there were other technical limitations which we felt negatively impacted the user experience… While we are very aware of the disappointment from this decision, we believe the impact to user experience was too great."

HTC has stated it will not overhaul all of its Android devices to run Ice Cream Sandwich, indicating that phones with 512MB of ROM or less will not make the switch. Devices that will not upgrade include the HTC ChaCha, Salsa, Wildfire S and Explorer. In addition, tablets like the HTC Flyer, Evo View 4G and Jetstream will continue to run Android 3.0, a.k.a. Honeycomb.

Google first released its Ice Cream Sandwich SDK in October 2011. Google's Android Developers dashboard reveals that almost a year later, only 15.8 percent of all Android-based devices are currently running a version of ICS.   

For more:
- read this Android Police article

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AT&T upgrading 11 devices to Android Ice Cream Sandwich

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