In an update to the company's Facebook account this morning, HTC has detailed its forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich updates to its line of Android devices. Having announced four devices that will be updated "by the end of March," the announcement goes onto state:
In addition, we can confirm Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades will be coming later this year to the HTC Rezound, HTC Vivid, HTC Amaze 4G, HTC EVO 3D, HTC EVO Design 4G, HTC Incredible S, HTC Desire S and HTC Desire HD.
For general perspective, the oldest device in the "later this year" list is the HTC Desire HD, which was released in September, 2010. Over half of the remainder of the "later this year" devices were released in the latter half of 2011.
I don't mean to point the finger at HTC, but this is simply dire.
HTC released 21 Android phones in 2011 and now, over three months since Ice Cream Sandwich's release, HTC is offering relatively vague promises for rolling out the update. Without control over the OS, HTC has been forced to wedge the latest version of the OS retroactively and differently into as many devices as possible, with many simply unable to make the cut.
Delayed rollout of Ice Cream Sandwich has dogged the otherwise promising OS's reception, with carriers and manufacturers alike pushing foreboding release schedules and vaguely negative timelines. Indeed, just over a week ago it was revealed that Ice Cream Sandwich has thus far reached only 1 percent of Android devices.
Given the apparent end-user benefits of the software update, it's awful to see the seemingly vast majority of users left out in the cold - their year old devices suddenly deprived of a software lifeline for the remainder of the consumer's two year contract. Arguments over the positives and negatives of Android aside, this is an unquestionably serious issue that Google, manufacturers, and carriers must collectively address.
The marketing of such devices while fully aware that they will be cast into obsolescence in a relatively short period of time is deplorable, and is worryingly endemic in the Android device marketplace today. Without resolution, alienation and stagnating adoption are surely on the horizon.