HTC and Archos start rolling out Ice Cream Sandwich

HTC's Sensation and Sensation XE handsets have started getting Android 4.0, indicating the update is on its way to the UK, while Archos has announced it is pushing out ICS to G9 tablets worldwide
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor

HTC has started pushing out Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich to older Sensation and Sensation XE handsets in Germany, a sign the OS could be on its way to the phones in the UK soon.

Archos G9 tablets

Archos's G9 tablets have begun to receive the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update, while HTC is rolling it out to older Sensation phones in Germany. Image credit: Ben Woods

On Thursday, the Taiwanese hardware maker confirmed it has started the Ice Cream Sandwich rollout in some European territories, as it promised at the end of 2011. However, HTC could not say exactly when the OS will be sent to British handsets. "We do not have a specific schedule for the rollout in the EMEA region," a company spokeswoman told ZDNet UK.

In addition, Archos on Thursday began over-the-air (OTA) updates to Ice Cream Sandwich for its G9 series of tablets worldwide. At the start of the year, it promised Android 4.0 would go out to the devices in the first week of February.

"We wanted to deliver a smooth transition over to Android 4.0," Archos told ZDNet UK, in explaining the delay. "We worked closely with Google for full certification and took our time in testing the units to ensure this happened."

The company noted it is one of the first Android tablet providers to push out Ice Cream Sandwich firmware. The OS brings features such as facial recognition to unlock devices, as well as redesigned core apps and UI. It also harmonises the earlier Gingerbread and Honeycomb versions of Android to create a platform suitable for both tablets and smartphones.

While Google launched Ice Cream Sandwich in October, some manufacturers have taken months to get it ready for release on their devices. While this delay is common with Android updates, it often leaves consumers wanting to get their hands on the software quicker than the handset maker can do it.

One example is Samsung, which has flip-flopped about whether it will be able to deliver the update to Ice Cream Sandwich for its Galaxy S II handset. However, on Friday the company told ZDNet UK the update process will begin "soon", though it noted the "specific models upgradeable to ICS will vary by market".

The delay is down to the wide variation in hardware using Android and the software added by operators, according to a senior Motorola Mobility executive.

"I'd say it's the hardware that's the long pole in the tent," Motorola's enterprise chief Christy Wyatt said at a roundtable meeting in New York in February, according to ZDNet UK's sister site CNET News. "Dealing with the software is not the hard part."

"The Razr launched in more than 40 countries, and each country had slightly different requirements in terms of banding. There are also dozens of carriers we need to work with. It's a big machine to churn," Wyatt added.

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