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Android Ice Cream Sandwich
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, or ICS, was announced at the CTIA conference in Hong Kong in October of 2011. Sales of the first widely-avaliable ICS handset, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus began in November 2011 in Europe and North America.
As an attempt to unify the tablet and smartphone versions of the Android OS, Google had ambitious plans to get it on as many handsets as possible, in order to reduce the amount of platform fragmentation that has been plaguing the mobile OS ecosystem since its launch in 2007.
As of November 2012, one year after its release, ICS accounts for about 25 percent of all OSes installed on Android phones. But it pales in comparison to Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which occupies over 53 percent of the installed base and is four generations behind the current build of Android, Jelly Bean 4.2.
OEMs have struggled to update Gingerbread-based dual-core handsets and tablets to ICS, taking as much as a year to do so, and some, such as Google's Motorola Mobility division have even had to abandon their efforts due to the technical complexities involved.
As if this wasn't bad enough Jelly Bean, version 4.2, has been on the market since late summer and is already in the crosshairs of OEMs looking to release new handsets and tablets. Like version 3.0 "Honeycomb" before it, ICS it seems was a yet another transitional operating system release with a limited lifespan.
Motorola Mobility failed on so many levels in 2012 that it's hard to quantify the extent of their incompetence.
Not only have they consistently failed to innovate after being acquired by Google, the company released a number of Android handsets of questionable quality, stability and performance, that have been mired by shovelware and awful user interface overlays.
The company has also reneged on its promises to upgrade an entire generation of dual-core handsets released in late 2011 to Ice Cream Sandwich, effectively leaving many of its existing customers in the lurch.
Motorola, what the hell happened to you?
Verizon Galaxy Nexus
In October of 2011, during the launch of Ice Cream Sandwich at CTIA, many of us were happy to hear about the release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the United States on Verizon.
Here, was the state of the art in Android handsets, a pure "Google Experience" device running on the latest Android 4.0 OS, and running on what was arguably North America's best 4G wireless network.
Those of us who bought the device and were expecting rapid updates to Google's latest Android goodness and patch releases soon discovered that while this device was branded as a "Nexus" the complications of having it introduced on Verizon meant that it contained proprietary CDMA/LTE code the Global GSM/HSPA version did not have, and thus lagged far behind its European and Asian counterpart in terms of support.
To add insult to injury, contract negotiations with Verizon precluded the inclusion of Google Wallet on the North American version. Verizon Galaxy Nexus customers waited months for basic bugfixes after the European version, and got its "Jelly Bean" update 2 months after the GSM version as well.
As if this wasn't bad enough, the Verizon version of the Galaxy Nexus was plagued with an inferior wireless transciever to the GSM edition, resulting in bad reception and data connectivity issues.
In terms of delivering on Google's promises for an "Experience" device, the Galaxy Nexus was a fail.