Which Android Phones Will be Getting Jelly Bean?
Recently reaching a 51% market share, Android is undoubtedly the most popular smartphone platform. Its latest versions always offer innovative and compelling features, but unlike Apple’s iPhone, there is a disconnect between those who develop the Android OS and the manufacturers who build the devices.
Google develops Android such that anyone can build a device that runs it, but it’s up to the manufacturer to modify it and tailor it to run on the hardware they’re using. This process can take months, and it means that most Android devices out there are generally one or two versions behind. To get the most out of a new Android device, it’s important to know which are the most likely to be updated quickly.
Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean
The latest, and most relevant, version of Android are version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and 4.1 (Jelly Bean). Ice Cream Sandwich brought all sorts of performance boosts and new features to Android, and any worthwhile new Android phone should come with Android 4.0 already installed – or at least have an update expected very soon. Jelly Bean, the latest version released just weeks ago, expanded on the feature set of 4.0. If you expect to keep your phone for a couple years, you’ll want to make sure it has a high likelihood of receiving the 4.1 update as well.
The Nexus line is always the first to receive OS updates. This is because they are the only devices maintained directly by Google. The Galaxy Nexus is currently the only Android phone with Jelly Bean available. The Nexus S (which is well over one and a half years old, now) will likely be the second phone on the market to get the 4.1 update. If you want to stay as current as possible with the Android OS, Nexus devices are the way to go.
Samsung started with one of the worst update records, taking ages to update its phones, if it updated them at all; however, Samsung listened to consumers and has completely changed its ways. This makes the Galaxy S III an excellent choice in terms of version longevity. Not only does it come with Android 4.0 out of the box, but should be updated to 4.1 by the end of the year. The Galaxy Note ought to see a 4.1 update around that same time, and the Galaxy S II is even a likely candidate, though the time frame on that may be a bit longer than is practical for a consumer.
HTC can be a little slow when updating its devices, but it does update most of its devices. The One Series (such as the One X, One S, and EVO LTE) are almost all certain to see a 4.1 update, with the exception of the One V which is a bit less likely since it lacks the power to fully benefit from an update. When will the One Series updates be rolling out? Hopefully before the end of the year. Older HTC devices, like the Sensation 4G and EVO 3D, probably won’t get the 4.1 update, though they have been updated to 4.0.
Motorola does a solid job supporting its devices, as long as they’re still popular on the market. The Droid RAZR and RAZR MAXX have already started receiving 4.0 upgrades and should definitely be seeing 4.1 before the end of the year. The Droid Bionic and Droid 4, while still fairly current, likely won’t get a taste of 4.1, but should be upgraded to 4.0 before long.
While its devices start off great, Sony is disturbingly slow out of the gate. Because it takes so long to launch its products after announcing them, they’re often very behind once they hit the market. Sony’s brand new Xperia Ion is a perfect example. Despite its release on weeks ago, it’s only running Android version 2.3 (Gingerbread, technically 3 generations behind). Fortunately, it will be getting a 4.0 update, but that’s likely it. It doesn’t look like any of Sony’s other phones will be updated.