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02 Jun 12 Android 4.0 finally on the way to Verizon’s Xoom and T-Mobile’s Galaxy S II

By (@jr_raphael) G+

Android 4.0 Verizon Xoom T-Mobile Galaxy S II

Android fans, rejoice: A couple of long overdue Android 4.0 upgrades are finally on their way into the world.

Ice Cream Sandwich will be available for Verizon’s 3G/4G Motorola Xoom starting next Monday, June 4, the carrier has officially announced. The upgrade will be sent over the air, meaning you’ll get a notification on your tablet when it becomes available to you. You can also manually check for the upgrade by going into the “System Updates” section of your Xoom’s “About Tablet” settings menu.

As a flagship “Google experience” device, the Xoom should have gotten Ice Cream Sandwich long ago. The problem, according to one Android engineer, is “operator approval” — in other words, carriers like Verizon taking far too long to review and then pull the trigger on Google’s OS updates.

(On a related note, the Verizon Galaxy Nexus may actually get its long-delayed Android 4.0.4 upgrade sometime soon, too. It’s an incremental upgrade, relatively speaking, but still one that should have hit months ago. (Thanks for that, Verizon.) Big Red posted support documents for the upgrade earlier this week, and some users have reported receiving it already.)

The other good news is for owners of T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy S II. The T-Mo GSII will taste Ice Cream Sandwich starting June 11, according to a tweet sent by T-Mobile USA’s official Twitter account today. The tweet says the upgrade will be delivered via Samsung’s Kies application — for whatever reason, non-Nexus Samsung phones rarely seem to enjoy the convenience and simplicity of over-the-air upgrades — and that more details would be announced soon.

Android Power TwitterRemember, you can find the latest upgrade status for any phone or tablet in my Android 4.0 upgrade list. It’s always kept up to date with the most current info available for all devices.  

SEE ALSO: Google’s grand Android plan: Finally, it all makes sense 

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

Article copyright 2012 JR Raphael. All rights reserved.

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31 May 12 Android 4.0.4 update reportedly rolling out to some Verizon Galaxy Nexus …

It was just yesterday that we reported that Verizon could be rolling out the highly-anticipated Android 4.0.4 update to the Galaxy Nexus soon, although in all honesty we didn’t think it’d be this soon! It seems that there have been reports of several Galaxy Nexus owners who have started to receive the update. Now it appears that the update is being rolled out in small batches, so if you have yet to receive the notification reminding you to update, fret not as we’re sure that it will eventually get around to you. For those who own a Verizon Galaxy Nexus handset, just pop on over to your phone’s settings and check if you are able to manually pull the update for yourself. So, any of our readers out there started to receive their Android 4.0.4 on their Galaxy Nexus just yet? Let us know in the comments below!

Related articles:
Verizon rumored to be testing Android 4.0.5 for the Galaxy Nexus
16 GB White Galaxy Nexus headed to Verizon?
Verizon Samsung Galaxy Nexus Android 4.0.4 update unofficially released

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30 May 12 Android 4.0.4 rolls out to Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)

Galaxy Nexus owners are getting a taste of the latest flavor of Ice Cream Sandwich, aka
Android 4.0.4.

Verizon has already approved the latest Android update to start rolling out. The Verizon Web site indicates that the update is coming soon, though a fellow CNET reporter with a Verizon Galaxy Nexus confirmed that he has already received the update.

The 4G LTE Galaxy Nexus came equipped with Android 4.0 out of the box, so the new update brings it up the latest version, namely Android 4.0.4. A Verizon spokesman told CNET that the update also offers various enhancements for the phone.

A Verizon update page provides more information about the various enhancements and benefits along with instructions on how to update your phone.

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15 May 12 Dear Google: Android Needs Your Help

Dear Google: Android Needs Your Help

Listen, Google, we need to talk. You seem to be ignoring our green robotic friend. I know you’ve been battling lawsuits, getting your self-driving cars licensed, and focusing on Google+, but it might be time to show Android that you still care.

Your neglect is starting to show for those of us who depend on Android. Lately, finding apps in the Google Play store has been harder than usual–even popular apps can be difficult to locate at times, and it’s worse if the user is searching for tablet-specific applications. App makers are feeling lost, with no one to guide them through the perils of making an app that works on multiple Android devices. And sometimes it feels as if the carriers and device makers have more control over Android than you do; they dictate how the OS looks, what it can run, and whether a phone or tablet will receive an update to the OS.

What happened to you, Google? It has been nearly seven months since your last major Android announcement, and some of us in the community are worried that Android will go the way of Google Wave: You might stop work on the platform, and leave development to any interested parties. Your own CEO said recently that Android isn’t a crucial component to Google’s business strategy, which makes sense since Google makes more money off iOS than it does off its own mobile operating system.

But even if Android doesn’t bring in big bucks, we all know that the OS is an important part of your business, and it won’t do anyone any good if you let Android wither. So maybe it’s time to rethink your Android strategy.

Where Are the Good Apps?

Dear Google: Android Needs Your HelpSearching for an app in iTunes.For starters, let’s look at how you handle apps. Unlike Apple, you chose to let virtually anyone create an app and make it available for download via the Google Play store. Not only has this approach opened the door for malware in the past, but it has also allowed all sorts of terrible and useless applications to flood the store. Trying to find an app in the Google Play store is akin to navigating New York’s sewer system while blindfolded: People have no idea what they’re going to find, and they might run across some pretty unsavory things. You’re famous for your search capabilities, so why is it so hard to find anything of value in your app store?

Dear Google: Android Needs Your HelpSearching for an app in the Google Play store. Users hunting for Android tablet apps encounter even more trouble. Such apps are so few and far between that it’s nigh impossible to find one. The iPad is so popular in large part because the Apple App Store contains tens of thousands of tablet apps that are easy to find. When users search in the App Store on iTunes, they can easily tell which apps work on the iPhone and which apps were designed for the iPad. In contrast, when users search the Web version of the Google Play store, they have no way to tell whether an app is optimized to work on a tablet. Even if users search the Play store on an Android tablet, chances are good that the app they download will just load the mobile phone version stretched out to fit on a larger screen.

Developers Face Challenges

Why do so few genuine Android tablet apps exist? One reason is that Android tablets aren’t selling well. But it’s also true that developers feel they aren’t getting any support. Compared with the iOS and Windows Phone 7 software development kits, the Android SDK can be a pain because it utilizes Java. Although Java is a basic programming language that most people learn in Computer Science 101, it’s difficult to work with, and it can prevent Android apps from looking as good as (or better than) their iOS counterparts.

Another headache for Android developers: They have to create apps that can run on more than a thousand different devices, all with different processors, screen sizes, resolutions, and versions of the OS. It also doesn’t help that the Android Developers’ forums shut down last August, leaving many developers with nowhere to go to find solutions to their problems. Most app developers aren’t making any money off Android, and some developers have quit the platform, calling it “unsustainable.” While Android is unlikely to run out of developers anytime soon (it still has the largest smartphone market share in the United States and most of the world, after all), we may begin to see a drop in the quality of apps as better developers abandon ship. We users would then have to wade through even more junk before finding an app that’s worth downloading.

Customizations Cause Problems

Dear Google: Android Needs Your HelpGoogle Wallet is available only on a select few phones.Even more frustrating is the fact that once we find a worthy app, we may not be able to download it. Lately carriers and manufacturers seem to be dictating which apps users can and cannot have on an Android phone or tablet. Take Google Wallet, for example: Users who are not on Sprint cannot install the Google Wallet app on their phones–even if they own a Nexus, which supports that near-field communication payment app. I don’t like having carriers tell me what I can and cannot do with my phone, especially when it comes to apps.

Manufacturers may not have as much of a say when it comes to what we can install on our phones, but they do determine what we can and can’t remove from our handsets. Ugly overlays and annoying bloatware plague nearly every Android device. Most of it we can’t remove unless we root our devices. To push all these unwanted extras onto our Android devices, manufacturers tweak and alter the OS–distorting the way it looks and behaves. Carriers, too, play the bloatware game, sometimes going so far as to replace all of the Google services with Bing instead.

Even worse, these customizations make it harder to update phones and tablets to the latest version of Android. Even the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, a phone that’s supposed to have the most up-to-date version of Android, carries a different operating system depending on which version a person purchases. The Sprint, Verizon, and unlocked versions all receive updates at different intervals, and are all running different versions of Ice Cream Sandwich. I’m still waiting for the performance-enhancing 4.0.4 update to become available for my Verizon Galaxy Nexus. That update supposedly fixes several critical bugs–and it has been available for well over two months for the unlocked Nexus.

What Can Google Do?

Look, Google, I’m not advising you to try to control the types of Android phones and tablets that companies make. But you can take two steps to ease the burdens on app developers and make things better for people buying Android devices: Set a minimum hardware requirement for phones and tablets running Android, and play a larger role in distributing updates.

If you were to set a minimum hardware requirement for all phones and tablets, developers would be able to design their apps for those parameters and be sure that the apps will work on any Android device. The device makers, we hope, would still design phones and tablets that sit well above the minimum hardware requirements, and you could raise the requirements once every two years to match the hardware that most people were currently using. In this way, you would prevent manufacturers from creating cheap devices with ancient specs. This also means Android users wouldn’t have to guess whether an app will work on their device. Tablet users would benefit too: Development teams wouldn’t have to spend as much time fiddling with the various phone versions, and could spend more time optimizing their apps for Android tablets.

Hardware is one thing, but making sure that everyone is on the same version of Android will be a bigger challenge. Google, by working more closely with HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and the other major makers of Android phones and tablets, you can take a step toward a more unified Android experience. Become friends with the carriers and chip makers in order to ensure that an update will work on a carrier’s network, so that they won’t have to spend several months testing an update before finally deciding to roll it out. The biggest delays to Android updates come from carriers testing the updates on their networks, a process that they could expedite with your help.

Google, we all love Android and want the best for it. We just wish you showed as much interest in your own OS as we did.

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