AT&T updates HTC Vivid with Android 4.0

Carrier also lists 10 other devices getting Ice Cream Sandwich in coming months

AT&T said Thursday that the HTC Vivid update to Android 4.0 is now available via Wi-Fi or a PC connected to the smartphone.

The download will deliver Face Unlock, a technology that enable unlock the screen through facial recognition, an updated HTC Sense Experience interface and optimized audio with Beats by Dr. Dre Audio, AT&T said. A full list of Android 4.0 features is provided at a Google Web site.

The Vivid is the first U.S. smartphone to receive Android 4.0, also called Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), as an update, and the first to be issued by a wireless carrier, AT&T said.

ICS is an important update to many smartphone users, most of whom have smartphones running Android 2.3. Users have pushed Google to better coordinate with carriers and manufacturers to provide timely updates.

Google has worked with the Android Upgrade Alliance to push for timely Android updates, and a Google executive said at Mobile World Congress in late February that the effort is succeeding. "The alliance is definitely making a difference," said Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google. "We're making the upgrade process better and are passionate about it."

HTC recently announced the phones that would be getting the ICS update in "the coming months." The other 10 phones are: the LG Nitro, Motorola Atrix 2, Motorola Atrix 4G, Pantech Burst, Pantech Element, Samsung Capitivate Glide, Samsung Galaxy Note, Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket and Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9.

Separately, Samsung said Thursday that its Galaxy Note would get ICS in the second quarter, along with new applications.

Samsung said it has begun upgrading the Galaxy S II to ICS, but that apparently only includes phones outside the U.S. An AT&T spokeswoman confirmed that no AT&T Galaxy S II devices have received the upgrade, and said no other carrier (as opposed to a manufacturer) has pushed an ICS upgrade to the Galaxy S II. T-Mobile USA also sells the Galaxy S II.

The HTC Vivid has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 4.5-in. touchscreen at 960 x 540 pixels, and was originally released with Android 2.3. It has both an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front camera, with the ability to record high-definition video at 1080p. AT&T is selling the Vivid online for $99.99 with a two-year agreement and a monthly data plan.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

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