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Over the weekend Sony detailed their Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update plans for their Xperia lineup of smartphones, where we should see the ICS updates rolling out to no less than 11 Xperia handsets by mid-June. The update will be pushed out to some phones in mid-April, with these phones being the Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V, and Xperia Ray.
The late-May, early-June should see ICS-based updates for Xperia Arc, Play, Neo, Mini, Mini Pro, Pro, Active, and the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman as well. There is a problem with these updates though, is that none of them will be over-the-air (OTA), and will require that owners of these handsets who want to upgrade have to tether their handsets.
This is because Sony wants users to make a "conscious and informed decision to upgrade". All this means is that while Sony are pushing out ICS updates for 11 handsets, those who don't know about ICS will have to wait until Sony push them OTA, if they even bother doing so. I would expect a notification from Sony saying "your phone is compatible for an update, if you would like to do so, visit this site", and that site explains what ICS is, and how you upgrade.
Sporting a HSPA+ Samsung GALAXY Nexus (i9250) or an UMTS/GSM Nexus S (i9020), well, you might want to check System Update for a brand new update that Google took to Google+ to announce: Android 4.0.4.
Android 4.0.4 is also rolling out to the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi, which is a bonus. At the moment, the Android 4.0.4 update isn't going to arrive on the CDMA-based versions of the phones, not yet anyway. What about Verizon GALAXY Nexus' phones, or Sprint's Nexus S 4G? No word on that yet either.
If you've gone one of the above phones, we suggest you update. Ice Cream Sandwich is beautiful and if you have a smart device capable of being updated to it, you should do it.
According to people who are usually in know regarding things like this, Windows 8 will feature multiple SKUs. You can think of SKUs as versions; each SKU will feature a different version of the code that is Windows 8. Similarly to how we currently have Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate, we can expect to have all of the above in Windows 8.
Of course there will be a SKU for ARM as well. Windows 8 is pretty lightweight, so there really isn't a reason to feature more versions than just a Consumer and Professional version. It's clear that Microsoft doesn't particularly care about consumer confusion. Windows 8 is pretty revolutionary, but it would appear that Microsoft hasn't left some things in the past.
Microsoft is hoping to attract the eyes and brains of iOS developers with a new design guide. The Windows Dev Center example shows the common differences in layout between an iOS app and Windows' new Metro interface, including not just the look, but how certain commands would unfold and how either would respond to gestures.
The most important element of this is an explanation of "contracts", or agreements between applications and Windows 8 that gives them permission to share files, or search between each other, play out to other audio sources, or toggle settings. This isn't a step-by-step instruction guide, but it shows that Microsoft sees iPad developers as a big step in their Windows 8 tablet plans.
Microsoft played out similar actions when rolling out Windows Phone, where they tried to lure iPhone developers. Microsoft's guides eventually led to tools to more directly help port apps, and even pay for ports with guarantees whether or not an app sold well. Microsoft seem to be trying very hard. On top of this, the Redmond-based company is also trying to lure traditional PC developers, using Intel-based systems, as well as ARM-based tablets that are more suited to combat Apple's iPad.
We should be expecting Microsoft to release their next-generation Windows 8 OS in October, where we could see both the x86 and ARM-based versions dropping simultaneously. This would give Microsoft a head start for the holiday season, letting tablet, notebook and other device makers ample time to get products ready for holiday consumption.
Bloomberg is reporting that Microsoft want to claw back some of the lost sales they've experienced because of the iPad, and reinvigorate the sluggish PC market. Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Garter Inc. has said:
If they miss the September-October time frame, they're going to be stuck without being able to ship anything in 2012. The last thing Microsoft wants to have is a situation where there are no compelling Windows tablets at a time when the new iPad looks like it's going to be a good seller for the holidays.
According to Bloomberg, who cite sources with "knowledge of the schedule", we should expect an event hosted by Microsoft next month where the company will unveil their release strategy for Windows 8, where they'll provide more details on timing and marketing. The same sources have said that there will be less ARM-based devices in the rollout, because Microsoft have tightly controlled the number and set rigorous quality-control
Screenshot renderings have floated up to the surface of the Internet, which are said to have been created by a former Nokia designer suggesting that the company may have been (at some time) considering its own custom Windows Phone interface. The concept sports free-form bubbles versus Microsoft's Metro-style tiles, with an overall theme geared towards female users.
Pocketnow notes that the designer had worked as a senior member of Nokia's research and development team, but has since transitioned to work on Accenture projects last summer. At the moment it's unclear whether the renderings actually represent any form of a final product, or concept that Nokia was considering. Nokia's partnership with Microsoft is also said to provide flexibility for Nokia to mess around with the UI and diverge from the consistent experience that Microsoft demands from other Windows Phone makers.
Research In Motion (RIM) have been having a little bit of trouble hitting homeruns with their smartphones since Apple, and Google have entered the market space, but they're hoping that BlackBerry 10 marks a change in direction.
When BB10 hits, the PlayBook will be next in line, according to RIM's VP of product management, Rob Orr. He confirmed the news to TechRadar, saying:
We've said publicly a number of times that our first BB10 handset will be available towards the end of 2012, and that's still firmly the case. At some point after the launch we'll bring BB10 to our PlayBooks, yes.
Other than that quote, there hasn't been any specifics, which is expected because it's so early in the year still. RIM have confirmed they've seen a spike in updates to PlayBook OS 2.0, which only arrived last month. According to the executive, roughly 50-percent of all users made the jump to the OS the day of release... which is just not too shabby at all. GG, RIM.
HTC announce that the Sensation 4G and Sensation XL will be the next to receive Ice Cream Sandwich updates
HTC have announced that the next phones in their lineup to receive Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will be the Sensation 4G and Sensation XL. HTC have already committed themselves to upgrading a very long list of devices, but the release timing has been leaking out ever so slowly.
HTC have also confirmed that they are in the early stages of releasing ICS for its original Sensation and Sensation XE handsets. Reports have floated onto the Internet that unlocked devices in European-based counties are the first to have received the official updates, head of a more international rollout.
HTC are still yet to announce a detailed time frame for their Android 4.0 updates, where its Global Community Manager, Darren Krape, has cautioned that "it will take time for all carriers in each country to get the update". So a little patience is required, but the update should be worth it.
Samsung should start pushing out their Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) update to their Galaxy S II (GT-i9100) models on March 10. Yes, we're that close. The update should be pushed out via Kiez, and should sport Samsung's TouchWiz UI.
The first and only version to get the ICS update (for now) is the global version of the Galaxy S II, the GT-i9100. According to Samsung's notes, we should expect Face Unlock, Android Beam, and data usage included. On top of this, multi-tasking and some apps will be "improved".
Samsung's site also states that because of "ICS OS feature", Flash and Bluetooth 3.0 HS won't be supported. The update should roll on to individual carriers, and their own GS II variants over time, after a fair amount of testing. I for one, cannot wait and I'm anxiously sitting here waiting to get my first lick of Google's Ice Cream Sandwich.
As a loving Samsung Galaxy S II owner, I've been awaiting Android 4.0 ICS on my handset for what feels like, forever. But, news from Samsung's Israel-based division posted on Facebook with a date for the ICS upgrade to the Galaxy S II.
They're promised to end a 'patient' wait by delivering ICS to the flagship Galaxy S II on March 15. The upgrade would apply to both carrier-locked versions as well as unlocked versions bought directly from Samsung. At the moment, it's not known which countries would get the upgrade first, or at the same time.
But, as usual, Americans would most likely have to wait longer, as versions such as the Epic 4G Touch and T-Mobile's 42Mbps-capable HSPA+ edition will need their own, individual additional testing. Areas where the Galaxy S II stock is healthy, such as Canada and most of Europe, should get the upgrade pretty quick.
The upgrade promises to make the Galaxy S II jump up to its cousin, the totally stock Galaxy Nexus, in some areas. Web performance is expected to be improved, as well as the (personally much-awaited and anticipated) Chrome for Android. Face-to-unlock and other interface-based elements should also leak into the ICS upgrade, but Android Beam's device-to-device sharing might only hit NFC-enabled GSII units, such as AT&T's version.