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Most Motorola devices won't get Android 4.0 update anytime soon


Android Ice Cream Sandwich

If you own a Motorola phone and are waiting for the upgrade to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, get ready for disappointment: A handful of tablets and phones will be upgraded by this summer, while the hottest models, such as the Droid Bionic or Droid Razr and Razr Maxx, have no slated upgrade rollout dates.

Motorola unveiled the schedule (or lack thereof) in its Owners' Forum under Motorola Android Software Upgrade News.

For phone models, Motorola's Ice Cream Sandwich rollout begins in "Q3," that is, sometime between June and September of this year. For now, that only includes the Atrix and Photon. When it comes to tablets, only the U.S.-based, Wi-Fi Xoom has received the new software; the other three versions of Xoom will have to wait until April to see ICS, while the Xyboard and Xoom 2 get it in the summer.

Droid Razr Maxx

When the big moment does arrive, Motorola customers can follow these instructions:

In most cases, consumers will receive a notification on their device that the OTA upgrade is available. An available upgrade or update may be rolled out over a period of time in order to best manage the deployment volume and experience. At times, a small testing group is provided the upgrade before it's made available to a larger group. On your Motorola Android Phone or Tablet, you can go to Settings ⇒ About Phone/Tablet ⇒ System Updates to manually check for an OTA upgrade. All estimated release dates are based on available information and are subject to change.

That bit at the end about being "subject to change" may be something Motorola would do well to heed. This schedule reveals delays that may not sit well with its consumers, who may fall behind Sony, LG and HTC, which all have planned ICS rollouts by early this year.

Motorola should learn from the Samsung snafu that kicked up in December, when the company that regularly plays tug-of-war with Apple as the world's biggest smartphone vendor announced that its popular first-generation Galaxy S smartphones would not be getting Android 4.0. In doing so, they deprived 10 million customers from having ICS.

And even when they do get ICS, the upgrade may arrive right on the heels of the next Android rollout, 5.0, apparently bearing the "Jelly Bean" moniker. There's only been one report of that upgrade coming out in the spring, so we're not going to start salivating yet, but it's certainly poor coordination on the part of Google and its newly acquired mobile handset maker, and it's no way to treat customers.

The newest Android OS is the best thing to happen to that platform since it started to beat the iPhone in global marketshare. Here are the features that make this frozen treat hot — and the lucky phones that will first get the update.

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On Twitter, follow Athima Chansanchai, who is also trying to keep her head above water in the Google+ stream.