Android software engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru, who you see mentioned here quite a bit as he handles the AOSP, shared his thoughts yesterday about the update process for Ice Cream Sandwich. He talked about how Sony spends a lot of time contributing to the AOSP, thus the reason for their early update schedule. He also talked about how different Gingerbread and Honeycomb are from ICS “under the hood” which may lead to a more lengthy update process from OEMs this time around.
But then he finished off with a comment that I’m sure will not make you all that happy, but one you sort of figured to be the case at this point. He said that the part of this all that “blows” his mind, is the fact that “some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices” (read: Nexus devices) still have not received ICS or are stuck on older versions “because of delays introduced by operator approvals.” Can you guess who he is talking about?
He may not have called out Verizon specifically, but since the Galaxy Nexus and XOOM 4G on their network are the only “Google-engineered flagship devices” not on ICS or that are running an older version of Android 4.0, I’m not sure who else he could be talking about.
Are we surprised at this news? At this point, not at all. We know that Verizon tests their devices more thoroughly than any other carrier, but with a Nexus and a developer tablet, we thought it would leave them with less worries and that the approval process would fly by. It’s tough to believe that any longer as we have gone almost 5 months without seeing a Galaxy Nexus update even though it has a list of critical bugs that we write about almost daily. The XOOM 4G which was the first Honeycomb tablet on the planet, is still stuck on Honeycomb, while WiFi tablet after WiFi tablet across the globe seems to have already been updated to Android 4.0.
The updates still come directly from Google for these devices, but that’s after they get them ready and then pass them off to Verizon for approval before being able to send them out OTA. Unfortunately for all of us, it looks like we will have to continue to wait for that approval.