Google: Ice Cream Sandwich reaching more devices 'in the coming weeks'

By JR Raphael (@jr_raphael)

Google Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0

Following the receipt of its low grade in my Android 4.0 report card this week, Google says it's in the process of sending an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade to several of its Nexus and Google experience devices and will be rolling the software out to even more phones and tablets in the weeks to come.

In a message posted by the official Google+ Android account this afternoon, Google announced it had officially started to roll out Android 4.0.4, a newly updated build of the Ice Cream Sandwich platform, to its UMTS/GSM Nexus S, Xoom Wi-Fi tablet, and HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus devices. 

"Some of you will be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich for the first time, while others will be receiving an update to your existing Ice Cream Sandwich experience," the posting said.

The 4.0.4 build of Ice Cream Sandwich -- which was also published into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) earlier today -- is said to include "a few hundred changes" from the previous ICS build of 4.0.3. Those changes include stability improvements, better camera performance, smoother screen rotation, and improved phone number recognition.

The devices included in this initial 4.0.4 rollout notably do not include the CDMA version of the Nexus S, known as the Nexus S 4G on Sprint. That device, despite being a Nexus product, is still on the Gingerbread version of Android and has yet to receive any Ice Cream Sandwich-level upgrade. The rollout also does not include the 3G/4G version of the Xoom, which is still on a pre-ICS platform, or the LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus -- better known to those of us in the U.S. as the Verizon Galaxy Nexus -- which is currently on the 4.0.2-level build of the Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

Google says Android 4.0.4 will reach more of its Nexus/Google experience devices "in the coming weeks." We can only hope the aforementioned phones and tablets will all be included in that next phase, and that those "coming weeks" will come sooner than later.

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The uncharacteristically slow support for these devices is precisely the reason I gave Google a disappointing "C" grade in my upgrade analysis earlier this week. Google's Nexus and Google experience devices, by definition, are supposed to get the latest software upgrades first -- before any other devices -- yet many Nexus and Xoom users are still waiting for their inaugural taste of Ice Cream Sandwich a full three months after its release.

You can read more about the grades for Google and the major Android manufacturers in my Android 4.0 report card. And for the latest upgrade status of any device, click over to my Android 4.0 upgrade list. It's always kept up to date with the most current info available for all phones and tablets.

JR Raphael writes about smartphones and other tasty technology. You can find him on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

Article copyright 2012 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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