T-Mobile has announced via its official Twitter account that the carrier will start rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II (T989) from June 11th. This makes T-Mobile the first operator in the United States to update its Galaxy S II variant to Ice Cream Sandwich.
The Ice Cream Sandwich update for the T-Mobile Galaxy S II will bring with it lots of new features, including new Google Apps, Face Unlock, GPU rendering, data usage tracking and more. However, most of the visual goodness introduced by Google in ICS will be missing from this update, thanks to Samsung’s TouchWIZ infested UI.
With T-Mobile announcing the ICS roll out for its variant of the Galaxy S II, it will just be a matter of time before AT&T and Sprint also announce the Ice Cream Sandwich update roll-out for their variants of the Galaxy S II.
Samsung had initially started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II back in mid-March in certain regions of the world. Since then, the company has rolled out the update to various other regions of the world, except for the United States, along with the ICS update for the Galaxy Note.
Back in early May, Google and Verizon had started rolling out the Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich update for some of its business customers. Now, nearly a month after the initial roll-out, Verizon has updated its support document pages to reflect the roll-out the Android 4.0.4 update for the “general” users will begin “soon”.
The Android 4.0.4 update for the Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus will bring with it tons of bug fixes, improved performance and stability and a new radio to fix the poor 4G network reception and data drop issue that some users are facing. Below is the full change-log of the update -:
Email, Messaging & Data
Email messages will display properly when the text size is set to large.
When sending a multimedia message to an Outlook email address, the file extension will send, allowing the recipient to successfully open an image.
Successfully deleted emails on the device will be deleted from the desktop as well.
Successfully send text messages without experiencing network connectivity issues.
When viewing a Calendar reminder or appointment, you will now be able to view the full notes associated with the appointment.
A down arrow has been added in the Calendar application that will expand the calendar message body, allowing you to view the entire message.
Successfully turn on Wi-Fi using the Power Control widget.
Updates have been made to prevent the display from freezing or becoming unresponsive.
Complete calls without experiencing choppy audio, clicking noises and one-way audio noises.
Successfully access Voicemail and other automated systems without error.
The update is not yet live, but Verizon representatives state that the update should go live “soon”. The Android 4.0.4 update will be first software update the handset will receive in nearly six months after its release. So much for being a Nexus handset, eh?
With Google I/O less than a month to go, some information about the upcoming $199 tablet from Google and the next version of Android has started making their way on the Internet. It is almost confirmed that Google will be releasing a new Nexus tablet at I/O this year, which will be competing with the iPad not on specs, but with its killer price tag of $199.
The folks over at Android Police have done some digging, and it looks like Google has teamed up with Asus to manufacture the $199 Nexus tablet. From the Power Board benchmark website, it looks like the “Nexus 7″ tablet will sport a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 768*1280, and is codenamed grouper. The device will be powered by Nvidia’s Tegra 3 SoC, which will help Google and Asus in delivering pretty good performance at a very low price point.
This new Nexus tablet from Google will be running a new version of Android, possibly Jelly Bean. The benchmarks indicate the OS build version of the device to be JRN51B, with the SDK and build version at 4.1. Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich brought about a major visual change, so Jelly Bean will be all about new features and usability enhancements.
However, with Ice Cream Sandwich having less than 5% of the total Android market share, I am not sure how manufacturers and other Android device owners will react to a new Android OS version so soon.
HTC started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Sensation back in March, and followed it up with the ICS release for various variants of the handsets in the next couple of months.
Beginning from today, HTC has also started rolling out the Ice Cream Sandwich update for another handset from the Sensation series, the Sensation XL. Unlike all other handsets in the Sensation series, the Sensation XL is powered by a single core but packs in a mammoth 4.7-inch display with a disappointingly low WVGA (480*800) resolution.
The ICS update for the Sensation XL will bring with it Android 4.0.3 on-board with all of its new features like data usage tracking, face unlock, GPU rendered UI and more. HTC’s Sense skin will also get updated to v3.6 post this update, which does not bring much visual changes.
Keep in mind that since the Sensation XL packs in a single core processor, Ice Cream Sandwich will not run as smooth on it as on the other Sensation branded dual-core phones. The performance will still remain pretty smooth except when the phone is under heavy load, thanks to the higher clock speed (1.5GHz) of the single core SoC.
The update is already available to download in Romania with the roll-out slowly expanding to other regions of the world.
Samsung started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II (I9100) back in mid-March in certain regions of the world. The company continued the roll-out in other countries and variants of the Galaxy S2 in the following months. However, for some strange reason Samsung did not release the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II in India. In fact, the Galaxy Note got its official Ice Cream Sandwich update in India before the Galaxy S2.
Starting from today though Samsung has started rolling out the official Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy S II in India. The update is available for both the variants of the Galaxy S II – the I9100 and I9100G. The reason behind the delay in releasing the ICS update for the Galaxy S2 in India from Samsung was the I9100G variant of the handset.
Samsung had silently replaced the I9100 Galaxy S2 variant with the I9100G variant. The difference between both these variants was more than what the ‘G’ signifies. The company wanted to update both these handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich at the same time so as to avoid confusion, and thus held back the I9100 update in India while it developed the update for the I9100G variant.
Galaxy S2 owners in India can download and install the update on their handset by using Samsung’s KIES software.
Back in 2011, when all Android tablets were barely able to make a dent in the iPad’s sales figure, the Asus Transformer did extremely well. The tablet, along with its keyboard dock, made a great alternative to a laptop or a small netbook. No wonder the Asus Transformer was the most popular Android tablet of last year.
Asus released the successor of the Transformer, the Transformer Prime, late last year which packed in a Nvidia Tegra 3 SoC, an aluminium unibody and was an overall better package. A few months fast forward to Mobile World Congress, and Asus unveiled three new Transformer branded tablets. The company also announced a new top of the line tablet, the Transformer Pad Infinity, that was similar to the Transformer Prime except for its full HD (1080p) display. More than two months have passed by since Asus announced the Infinity, and the tablet is still not available in the retail stores.
Now, it looks like Asus is all set to release another new variant of their Transformer tablet during Computex 2012. The latest teaser video from the company teases a new “transformation” will be announced by the company in Computex -:
I doubt Asus will be announcing a brand new Transformer tablet with some radical changes. If anything, they will announce the retail availability of the Transformer Pad Infinity.
Earlier this month, Samsung had started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy Note in certain regions of the world. Beginning from today, Samsung has started the phased roll-out of the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy Note in India.
The Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy Note brings with it lots of new goodies like Face Unlock, Bluetooth tethering, along with some UI enhancements. The update will also install some premium suite of apps optimized to take advantage of the S-Pen stylus of the handset. Galaxy Note owners in India can download and install the update on their handset-tablet hybrid by using Samsung’s KIES software.
It is quite surprising to see that Samsung India has already released the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Galaxy Note, while the update for the Galaxy S2 is still not available. The Ice Cream Sandwich update for the S2 was rolled out way back in March. In fact, the retail boxes of Galaxy S2 in India now ship with Ice Cream Sandwich right out of the box as well. The official Samsung India twitter account tweeted that S II owners should “stay tuned for updates.”
Samsung has put a lot of hard work into the software to distinguish the Galaxy S3 from other Android smartphones. S Voice, S Beam, Social Tag, and Smart Alert are just a few of the new software goodies available on the latest flagship from the Korean giant. While some of the features are deeply integrated into the OS, others are simply apps developed by Samsung that are fairly independent of the actual ROM. As you must have guessed by now, enterprising developers have pulled out some of these Samsung goodies and packaged them into APKs that can be installed on other Android phones.
Samsung has been promoting S Voice heavily. While reviews suggest that the Vlingo powered S Voice is pretty primitive compared to Apple’s Siri, it still is the best Siri alternative currently available for Android. The good news is that if you have an Android handset running Ice Cream Sandwich, you can also use S Voice. All you need to do is download and install this app.
The app appears to work pretty well, but does have a caveat. Soon after S Voice was leaked on the interwebs, Samsung had blocked all S Voice requests originating from devices other than the Galaxy S3. In order to get around this restriction, the new APK makes your ROM identify itself as an S3. This might have unintended consequences on other apps (especially apps from your OEM).
Other goodies that XDA members have managed to pull from the Galaxy S3 include clock widgets (digital and analogue), Accuweather widget, video player, YouTube player, FM radio, G Talk, wallpapers, and ringtones. You can grab all of them from here.
Own a Motorola handset? Here is some bad news for you! Motorola has updated its Ice Cream Sandwich update timeline to reflect the delay of Android 4.0 update progress for its handsets. The Motorola Droid RAZR, RAZR MAXX and the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi + 4G devices will taste Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in the next couple of months i.e. before Q2 of 2012 ends. A whopping 6 months after Google pushed Ice Cream Sandwich to AOSP.
For all other handsets, like the Atrix 2, Droid 4, Atrix 4G, the Droid Bionic and the Xyboard tablets, the Ice Cream Sandwich update will land sometime in Q3. Motorola is the only company, apart from LG, that has not updated any of its devices to Ice Cream Sandwich, except for the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi only edition. The company has also confirmed that the Droid X2, which was launched less than a year ago, will not get the Ice Cream Sandwich update.
With Google I/O a month away, I am sure by the time Motorola will update the RAZR to Ice Cream Sandwich, Google would have announced a new version of Android. As if the locked bootloader on their phones were not enough, the slow update process of the company’s handset is another icing on the cake to never buy a Motorola branded Android handset.
Until now, Samsung, Motorola, HTC and Sony have all updated at least a few of their handsets to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. LG is the only company that still has not updated any of its Android running handsets to Ice Cream Sandwich. The company had initially promised to roll-out the Android 4.0 ICS update for the Optimus 2X sometime in Q2.
However, the company has now postponed the Ice Cream Sandwich update for its Optimus 2X handset to Q3. Quite a few other Optimus branded handsets from LG were also scheduled to receive their ICS update in Q3, and the Optimus 2X joins them. If the company manages to stick to its word this time, it will take LG a whopping 9 months to update even a single Optimus branded handset to ICS.
This is downright disastrous for the company’s image, and is going to make a negative impact on its handset’s sale. With the Korean company’s handset sales already dwindling, and losses increasing this is perhaps the last thing LG could have hoped for. The company should spend some money on hiring better Android engineers if it wants its mobile division to stay in business.