Galaxy S II owners rejoice: an upgrade to Android OS 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) for your smartphone has started going out. But there is bad news too: it will be quite some time before every variant of this popular model is upgraded.
Samsung warned today that, "The availability and scheduling of the software upgrade and specific models upgradeable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers' requirements." What this means is that each wireless carrier, not Samsung, has final say on whether the smartphones they offer get upgrades, or if they get them at all. None of the three U.S. carriers that offer versions of the Galaxy S II -- AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile -- have committed to offering this upgrade, but all have fairly good reputations for offering upgrades for popular models.
The S. Korean company also mentioned that Android OS 4.0 for the Samsung Galaxy Note will be available soon.
Good News for Galaxy S Users
There will not be an upgrade to OS 4.0 for the first-generation Galaxy S, but Samsung said today that it will bring some of its features to this older model. A pending firmware upgrade will add Face Unlock, Snapshot, Photo Editor and others. The company didn't say when this will be introduced, however.
What's New in Android OS 4.0 (ICS)
Ice Cream Sandwich is a merging of the features in Android OS 2.3 and OS 3.0. As such, it contains a wide selection of new features and tweaks to old ones.
Its most noticeable new feature is virtual buttons in the System Bar that allow users to navigate back, home, or to recent applications from any app. Multitasking has been upgraded in Android OS 4.0, making it easier to jump from app to app.
The Contacts app from previous versions has been upgraded to a People app that links profiles and social networks with names, phone numbers, and emails of individuals stored on the phone. The Camera app has been upgraded to allow users to edit images more easily.
Other features from ICS include a unified calendar app, visual voicemail, a more powerful web browser, improved email, improved text input and spell-checking, and greater control over network data.
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