Ice Cream Sandwich makes some phones worse, Motorola warns

Motorola has promised it will only update its Android phones to Ice Cream Sandwich if it thinks it will be an improvement.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Motorola has laid its cards on the table over Ice Cream Sandwich, admitting that some of its phones actually get worse if updated. And if yours is one of the phones Motorola judges not to be improved by the update -- no Ice Cream Sandwich for you.

"We work very closely with Google and cell phone carriers for every software update," Motorola says. "And obviously we want the new release to improve our devices. If we determine that can't be done -- well then, we're not able to upgrade that particular device."

Put like that, it almost makes sense. Moto had previously said ICS updates are slowed by complex hardware. But what Motorola doesn't say is how it measures this "improvement".

And hey, who is Motorola to come between us and our updates? If we want to ruin the phone we've bought and paid for, that's our right, right? Back off, phone fascists!

If you're determined to get Ice Cream Sandwich on a phone not marked for an update, you can always update the phone yourself. If you're not convinced, here's ten reasons why Ice Cream Sandwich beats Gingerbread.

And if it does slow your phone to a crawl or break all your apps, here's how to go back to a stock Android ROM.

At least Motorola has explicitly stated which devices will or won't get the update. It's the lack of communication from many Android phone manufacturers that has made the Ice Cream Sandwich update such a hot-button issue for many phone fans. Engineers may think it's reasonable to wait half a year for the latest software, but we certainly don't.

Ice Cream Sandwich is growing, but still only on 5 per cent of Android devices. At this rate Android 5.0 Jelly Bean -- the next update -- will be here before many phones get Ice Cream Sandwich.

Motorola has finally been snapped up this week by Google for a cool £7.9bn, the purchase coming with the condition that Android will remain completely free to users for the next five years.

Is Motorola right to withhold Ice Cream Sandwich from phones that won't see an improvement? Should we be free to tinker with our phones no matter the potential problems? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.