Now that Google has unveiled Android 4.3, its new Jelly Bean flavor, smartphone users will be turning to their vendors for upgrade dates, asking: When am I getting my Android 4.3? Based on announcements from Sony thus far, it is possible that Sony may leave other vendors in the dust.
Even while Sony is still rolling out Android 4.2 to some devices, Sony's developers are building momentum on Android 4.3.
A day after Google announced Android 4.3, Jelly Bean's next version, Sony made its own headlines, confirming in its blog that updates are being readied to get Android 4.3 on six of its devices.
"You probably saw Google announce the next version of Jelly Bean (Android 4.3). We're already getting stuck in and can confirm we'll make 4.3 available for: Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP and Xperia Z Ultra," according to Sony's blog post.
Express Mode 4.1 to 4.3
Android 4.3, the latest Jelly Bean release to spill out of the jar, has new features, such as updated multi-user support with restrictive profiles. This feature is seen as significant, in that it can limit what content and apps can be used.
Android device users can also expect Bluetooth Smart support, high-quality graphics, actionable notification support, and Wi-Fi -only mode.
Mobile device vendor watchers are asking if Sony, in this formidably competitive arena, could even beat Android heavyweights such as Samsung to the punch by being the first to market with Android 4.3 upgrades to a lineup of mobile devices.
Sony has already spelled out which models are in line for 4.3 and, has further announced in its blog posting that it is going to jump right over Android 4.2 in other instances altogether, to reach the latest and greatest upgrade version fast.
"We're also looking at uplifting some of our other devices running 4.1 direct to 4.3," Sony announced in the Thursday post.
Xperia is the name of Sony's smartphones and tablets. Android watchers say Sony is the first manufacturer to get relatively specific about plans for Android 4.3 updates, although Sony has not yet set any firm calendar dates. Nonetheless, Sony has been stepping ahead of the pack in update news.
For skeptics who think this will amount to all talk and no action, Sony one-upped its competitors by releasing a video that shows Android Open Source Project (AOSP) 4.3 running on Sony's Xperia Tablet Z.
After the Google announcement, Sony developers hit the ground running. Marcus Hansson, Sony community manager, said he was "excited" to show that Sony already had Android 4.3 running on an Xperia device.
After Google unveiled the 4.3 upgrade, he said, "Our developers started working immediately just to get the AOSP ready for the tablet set." This is not ready for prime time; work is continuing, but the progress is real.
Sony also delivered an updated news item noting that the AOSP device configuration for Xperia Z and Xperia ZL at GitHub (a hosting service for development projects) is working for Android 4.3.