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Android 4.0 due in early 2012 for 7 HTC phones

The Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's mobile operating system will arrive on HTC phones early next year--but don't expect it on all models.

The new HTC Rezound is among the phones that will get Google's Ice Cream Sandwich release of Android in early 2012.
The new HTC Rezound is among the phones that will get Google's Ice Cream Sandwich release of Android in early 2012.

HTC, which rose to smartphone prominence with Google's Android operating system, will begin offering the new Ice Cream Sandwich version in "early 2012," the company said today.

Expect Android 4.0 on some, but not all devices. HTC offered this preliminary list on its Facebook page:

HTC knows how excited our fans are to get their hands on Google's latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, so we're thrilled today to announce the first wave of HTC phones that will receive upgrades: We can confirm the brand new HTC Vivid, on sale beginning today, is upgradeable to Ice Cream Sandwich. In addition, Ice Cream Sandwich is coming in early 2012 to a variety of devices including the HTC Sensation, HTC Sensation XL and HTC Sensation XE, as well as the HTC Rezound, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G and HTC Amaze 4G through close integration with our carrier partners.

There likely will be more, but HTC isn't committing yet. "We're continuing to assess our product portfolio, so stay tuned for more updates on device upgrades, timing, and other details about HTC and Ice Cream Sandwich," HTC said.

Android updates are a contentious matter. Google's new operating systems must filter through phone makers and mobile network operators before arriving in customers' hands, and that can be a long process even in the cases where it happens. Older Android phones can't handle new Android versions, and carriers that have customized the OS with their own features have to re-customize it for updates.

In a study of 18 Android phones, Michael Degusta found the Android phones lagged iPhone models in support for new versions of the operating system. Owners of even newer Android models aren't wrong to wonder if they'll see Ice Cream Sandwich on their phones.