Motorola dumps Android Ice Cream Sandwich for three 4G smartphones


Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Motorola Mobility unit has canceled plans to upgrade its Atrix 4G, Electrify and Photon 4G smartphones to Android 4.0, dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich. All three devices will continue to run Android 2.3, a.k.a. Gingerbread, which Google first released in late 2010.

A Motorola device roadmap released in February promised Android 4.0 updates for the Atrix 4G, Electrify and Photon 4G during the third quarter, but a Motorola Forums statement from the company's Vice President of Product Punit Soni confirms those plans have been scrapped. "Motorola Mobility continues to review how each device can deliver the very best experience possible, and at times, this can mean making tough choices--especially as it relates to Android software upgrades," Soni writes. "Specifically, Atrix 4G, Photon 4G and Electrify will not receive the ICS upgrade but continue to be supported with maintenance releases to ensure optimum performance for the consumer."

Consumer reaction to Soni's statement was overwhelmingly negative. "Unacceptable! This could have been told to us a lot sooner," reads one Motorola Owners' Forum comment, while another user adds: "I will never again give my money to Motorola and will be doing my best to ensure anyone I know never buys a Motorola product."  

Last month, Motorola Mobility pledged to give a $100 credit to consumers who purchased an Android device that is not in line to upgrade to Android 4.1, a.k.a. Jelly Bean. To qualify for the offer, consumers must have purchased a Motorola-manufactured Android device released since the beginning of 2011, and that device must be on the short list of phones that will not run Jelly Bean for technical reasons. In addition, the $100 credit must be applied to one of three new Droid-branded devices from Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ): The Droid Razr M, the Droid Razr HD or the Droid Razr Maxx HD.  Motorola Mobility will specify which devices are eligible for the offer at a later date--Soni adds that the program will kick off in the U.S. sometime this fall, and will later expand to selected international markets.

"We know that keeping current on the latest Android operating system is important to all of our users," Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside said in September. "We will upgrade most of our devices that were launched since 2011 to Jelly Bean very soon, but there are a small number of devices that can't be upgraded without degrading the phone performance."

Google's Android Developers dashboard reveals that only 1.2 percent of devices run Android Jelly Bean. Android Ice Cream Sandwich now powers 20.9 percent of devices, and 57.5 percent of devices still run Android Gingerbread.

For more:
- read this Phandroid article

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