Android engineer: waiting 5 months for ICS is reasonable

An Android engineer has said that waiting five months for the update to Ice Cream Sandwich is "very reasonable".

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read

How long should you have to wait to get the latest version of Android? A software engineer at Google reckons five months is perfectly reasonable.

Jean-Baptiste Queru, a Google employee working on Android, posted on his Google Plus page about the Sony Tablet S getting the bump to Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of the operating system.

"It took Sony only about 5 months to ship this after I released the code in the Android Open Source Project at the very end of last year," he wrote. "This is actually a very reasonable time, since under the hood Ice Cream Sandwich is quite different from Honeycomb (and upgrades from Gingerbread are likely to take longer as those differences are huge)."

He went on to blame operators for delays to software updates. He said he couldn't believe some flagship devices still hadn't received ICS "because of delays introduced by operator approvals." (I'm sure anyone with a SIM-free Samsung Galaxy S2 is just as incredulous). He also gave an insight into what the process is to push out these updates.

"Writing the software doesn't mean Google can deploy it immediately," Queru wrote in the comments, "there are operator approvals for devices that are sold and/or supported by operators." Previously we heard from a Motorola exec that complex modern hardware was to blame.

I've no doubt that getting updates out there is a complex process, but all customers care about is getting their hands on the latest version quickly and easily. Your reactions to the Galaxy S2 fiasco showed the frustration many are feeling, especially when companies break their promises. With some devices not due the upgrade until the summer -- when Android Jelly Bean should be with us -- it does seem like the process needs streamlining somehow. A recent study showed just 1.6 per cent of Android devices are running ICS. Five months in, that's not a great stat.

What do you think of the Android updates? Can the process be simplified? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.