Google's Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest generation of Android software, will debut with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus but other smartphone owners are clamoring for their upgrade to Android 4.0.
Two of those Android phone manufacturers apparently heard the pleas of their consumers and released details about their path to the Ice Cream Sandwich. Sony and Motorola both revealed the process of updating software systems in their respective developer blogs.
Basically the process for both handset makers began when Google released the source code of the ICS. It takes awhile for the source code to be released because Google will only work with one device partner for what is called the "Google Experience Device" or the device that only has pure Android without the manufacturer's add-ons. It is only after the GED ships that the rest of the Android community gets the source code.
Manufacturers will then start working on getting the software running on the devices that will be getting the upgrade. Motorola intends to upgrade the Droid Razr, the Droid Bionic, the original XOOMs and the new XYBOARDs. Sony is planning to upgrade its entire 2011 Xperia line. The OEMs will begin adding their own specific tweaks to the software. In Motorola's case it will be adding the MotoCast, Smart Actions, and likely Blur features to the software. The OEMs will also make sure that the tweaks they added will work with the phone basics. After the ICS is fully integrated it's the vendors turn to test downloaded apps and different-use cases for stability.
After the OEMs finish up on their own testing, the phones are sent to the network operators for certification. Motorola writes that this part of the process is the most time-consuming because every carrier has different methods of testing.
"Each carrier has different requirements for phases 2 and 3. There may be a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months."
It can even take longer for companies who are launching the phones in different countries. The upgrades will also have to be certified with regulatory body's standards like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and others. After all the testing has been done and the update has passed certification the upgrades will finally get released for users to download.
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