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Motorola won't update three 4G phones to Ice Cream Sandwich

Forget Jelly Bean; the Google-owned company says three 2011 phones will be stuck on older versions of Android forever.

Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside promising a rebate to buyers of 2011 smartphones at an event last month.
Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside promising a rebate to buyers of 2011 smartphones at an event last month.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Bad news for owners of some Motorola Mobility smartphones released in 2011: the company will not upgrade them to the 2011 version of Android.

According to a post in the Google-owned company's forums, three smartphones from last year will not be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich:

Motorola Mobility continues to review how each device can deliver the very best experience possible, and at times, this can mean making tough choices - especially as it relates to Android software upgrades. Today, we need to let you know about some tough choices related to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades. Specifically, ATRIX 4G, Photon 4G and Electrify will not receive the ICS upgrade, but continue to be supported with maintenance releases to ensure optimum performance for the consumer.
Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, was released in October 2011. At the time, the company said 4.0 "theoretically should work for any 2.3 device."

But almost a year later, barely one in five Android devices is running ICS, according to Google's developer dashboard. More than 57 percent are running 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread. The latest version of Android, called Jelly Bean, has been adopted by 1.3 percent of users.

Last month Motorola promised to give a $100 credit to anyone who bought a 2011 device that would not be upgraded to the latest version of Android. The program will start in the United States "this fall," the company said, and expand to the rest of the world later. Updates will be posted to

"We know that keeping current on the latest Android Operating System is important to all of our users," Motorola chief Dennis Woodside said at the time. "We will upgrade most of our devices that were launched since 2011 to Jelly Bean very soon, but there are a small number of devices that can't be upgraded without degrading the phone performance."

CNET has reached out to Motorola for comment and will update this post when we hear back. Hat tip: Asymco.