At the end of June, Google unveiled version 4.1 of Android, also known as Jelly Bean. It is an update to the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) mobile phone and tablet operating system. Jelly Bean first shipped on Google Nexus 7 tablets, and it has started to roll-out in an over the air (OTA) update to Samsung Nexus S handsets. Many people are now wondering when the new OS will be deployed to their existing phones running ICS, so to find out we have contacted the handset manufacturers for an official response. We will also be updating this piece with more details, as and when they become available.
Motorola’s latest UK mobile phones have all shipped running the older Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system. These are the Motosmart, Razr Maxx, Motoluxe, Defy Mini and Razr. Only the two Razr models are scheduled to receive an update to ICS, out of those five phones. Those others will just stay on their shipping OS. Android 4.0 is due to be rolled out by Motorola in August to the Razrs, but there has been no official word from the company on 4.1.
We contacted Motorola to ask when Jelly Bean will be made available to its devices and recieved the following response: “At the moment we haven’t announced anything on Android Jelly Bean”.
Hugo Barra, Director of Product Management, Android, said the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi tablet would be gaining an update to Jelly Bean. This was during the same 2012 Google I/O keynote that announced Android 4.1. Motorola has now confirmed to us that this only applies to the US and not the UK.
Samsung has good links with Google, producing two Nexus mobile phones for it: the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus. It was confirmed at the Google I/O event that those two handsets will receive an OTA update to 4.1.
Samsung has been in touch with us about further updates, with the statement: “The rollout of Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, has started with Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices. We will announce updates to the rest of our Galaxy portfolio of devices in due course.”
We have reported that Samsung is testing out the new version of the Google platform for the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S2 handsets, although no exact date has been set for deployment.
LG’s 2012 range of mobile phones all shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, so they could be eligible for Jelly Bean. However, its handsets from last year are still waiting for an upgrade to ICS. These are the LG Prada 3.0, the LG Optimus 2X and LG Optimus 3D. The company has stated that those models will receive an update to ICS, but as for any Jelly Bean updates LG responded with the following: “We cannot confirm which devices will receive these updates however we will always continue to support the latest Android platforms on LG devices.”
Sony Mobile announced three new phones at the start of the year - the Xperia S, P and U. These all have dual-core chips and run Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Only the flagship S model has recently seen an update to 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
With regards to Jelly Bean, Sony Mobile told us: “Following the Google I/O and the recent announcement of the Android Jelly Bean platform, we are evaluating potential upgrades for our current smartphone portfolio and will get back with more information in due time. In the meantime, we are continuing our comprehensive upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich for Xperia S, as well as our 2011 Xperia smartphone portfolio.”
In a recent Sony Mobile Q & A session on Facebook, John Cooper, UK Product Manager for Sony Mobile, replied to a user's question with: “unfortunately Arc S won't be getting the Jelly Bean updated but we're always developing new phones and making sure they get the latest updates.”
The Sony Ericsson Arc S is a late 2011 update to the company’s flagship arc mobile from the same year. This may indicate that 2011 Sony phones will be left out of the Jelly Bean update.
The most informative reply came from HTC. It reads: “We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google’s latest version of Android. At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean. Please stay tuned for more updates about device upgrades, timings and other details about HTC and Jelly Bean.”
This gives a clear indication that Android 4.1 will be arriving on current models, but there is no word about much older handsets. HTC ended the statement with: “Will keep you posted on any fixed timings but none expected in the short term as the engineers are looking into it.”
Unless you own a Google Nexus device (allowing you to download the latest Android update direct from Google right now), you'll find that both the manufacturers and the networks will perform their own OS tests before rolling out any updates. This means there might be an even longer wait for Jelly Bean to arrive on your current or new phone, if it arrives at all...
In the mean time, check out our the review of the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system.