Android smartphones made by LG Corp. will gain the much-awaited Ice Cream Sandwich update in the next few months, somewhat later than Samsung's phones. Both rival companies are based in Seoul, South Korea.
Samsung released the first device to run Android 4.0 this fall, with the U.S. version hitting stores on Dec. 14, and the company said it will update other devices, including the Galaxy R and Galaxy S II smartphones and Galaxy Tab and Note tablets early next year.
All Scream For Ice Cream
Last week Sony announced its intention to bring 4.0 to its Arc S, Neo V and Ray in late March or early April, followed by the Active, Arc, Mini, Mini Pro, Neo, Play and Xperia Pro handsets, Engadget reported.
Not to be left out, LG announced its plans on the day after Christmas.
"LG will be offering the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) OS upgrade for a range of LG smart-phones which were introduced this year," the company said on its Facebook page. "The global upgrade schedule will begin in the second and third quarters of 2012, which will be followed by a global rollout."
The first handsets to be Ice-Creamed are the LG Optimus LTE, Prada phone by LG 3.0, the LG Optimus 2X, the LG Optimus Sol, the LG myTouch Q and the LG Eclipse. Next up in the third quarter are: the LG Optimus 3D, the LG Optimus Black, the LG Optimus Big, the LG Optimus Q2 and the LG Optimus EX.
The company cautioned that although it is "taking all possible measure[s] to offer a smooth OS upgrade in a timely manner," start dates can vary by market because of limitations by country, carrier and model.
Updates are a mixed bag for manufacturers as they allow devices already sold to be more functional and popular, but that also cuts the rationale for upgrades. Carriers are happy with updates because switching devices can also mean switching service.
All versions of Android are alphabetically code-named for desserts, with the most recent predecessors being Frozen Yogurt, Gingerbread and Honeycomb. Ice Cream Sandwich promises a redesigned interface with better multitasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, and near-field communications support for quick mobile payments and data sharing.
Front Row Seat
Samsung's cozy relationship with Google as its partner in the flagship Nexus phone means that it will likely have a front row seat for updates for some time to come, and it may also be the partner in an expected Google-branded tablet device coming to market in the first half of the year.
"Samsung...seems to be the only vendor willing to go toe to toe with Apple in retail markets and the courtroom," said Charles King, principal analyst of Pund-IT, referring to the messy legal battles over patents the two giants are waging. "That, plus Samsung's enviable leadership position in Asian markets that virtually every vendor (particularly Apple) wants a piece of, makes the company a prime Android partner."