Samsung details Android 4.0 phone, tablet upgrades for U.S. carriers

Ice Cream Sandwich to arrive 'as quickly and smoothly as possible,' Samsung says

Samsung posted a list Tuesday detailing which Samsung phones and tablets sold by U.S. carriers will eventually receive an upgrade to Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS).

The list confirms some smartphones and tablets that Samsung has already said will get the upgrade, and continues to leave out the Galaxy S smartphone and the earliest Galaxy Tab, a 7-in. tablet. T-Mobile USA is left without any specific upgraded devices, with a note from Samsung that says it "will provide updates as we have additional details to share."

For AT&T, the new Samsung list of ICS upgrades includes the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy Note, Captivate Glide, Nexus S and Galaxy Tab 8.9.

For Verizon Wireless, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 are on Samsung's list for ICS.

For Sprint, the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch is listed for an ICS upgrade, with a note that ICS is already available for Nexus S 4G, the first phone to support Google Wallet upon its introduction last September.

Samsung also listed ICS upgrades for its Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Wi-Fi, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi and Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi.

Samsung is the biggest seller of Android smartphones and tablets in the U.S. Many of the phones it sold before December ran on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread); the tablets it sold ran on Honeycomb (Android 3.0).

Buyers of that generation of devices are intensely interested in the ICS upgrade because it provides generally snappier performance, a revised user interface and various added features such as Android beam for sharing apps and videos and Face Unlock for unlocking a screen through facial recognition.

Google has worked with various carriers and manufacturers in recent months to communicate better with customers about Android upgrades and speed up the process through the Android Upgrade Alliance.

Android upgrades started rolling out in December on some devices. Samsung had promised an upgrade of the Galaxy Note for the first quarter, but recently pushed it into the second quarter. Computerworld blogger J.R. Raphael has graded various manufacturers on their upgrades, and recently gave Samsung a C- for its performance.

Today's list doesn't mention any dates for ICS upgrades, but stated: "Samsung is in close communication with both Google and our carrier partners to upgrade devices to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as quickly and as smoothly as possible."

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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