If we were to single out just one single aspect of Apple's mobile strategy, the focal point in which it will continue to dominate the mobile market in 2012, it would have to be the update scheme.
Google announced ICS Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich a couple of months back, and so far it has managed to ship a single device with this new OS, the Galaxy Nexus. The second device to get an ICS 4.0 update was the old Google Nexus S, but OTA updates for the Nexus have been suspended due to technical issues. There is still no third device with ICS on board and we won’t see any for at least a few weeks.
Companies are now announcing their own ICS upgrade schedules. LG says that their top devices get ICS in Q2 2012 (April 1 to June 30), while others will have to wait a few more months. Sony Ericsson should have ICS around Q2, if not earlier. Motorola and Samsung are reportedly scheduled to start updating their devices in Q1, but the process will inevitably drag on well into Q2. Worse, Samsung won’t roll out an ICS update for the Galaxy S, which sold in record numbers last year and it’s still a pretty nice phone with an affordable price tag.
In best case scenario, we might see some Android 2.3 to 4.0 update in Q1 but the best chance is to see some new phones launching with Ice Cream Sandwich at the Mobile World Conference, in Barcelona in last days of February.
Apple has IOS 5 in all of its phones capable of supporting the new OS for months now and at least the top two iPhones today, if not the top three, will get an update to the next version, guaranteed. Microsoft is also doing a pretty good job in the update department with Mango.
By the time LG and Samsung roll out updates for the Optimus 2X, the world’s first dual-core phone and the best selling Samsung Galaxy 2 phones, Optimus 3 should be launching as well as Samsung Galaxy S III. In some countries, LG rolled Android 2.3 just a month ago and by that time, Google already announced and showed Android 4.0.
Thank God for Cyanogen or MUIU rom communities that work hard on their own unofficial releases of Ice Cream Sandwich roms. There seem to be the only hope for millions of Android users. Google needs to get its act together when it comes to updates. As for tablets, still no word on ICS update schedules, but we will probably see some companies showing ICS tablets at CES 2012.