Motorola Pulls A Sony: Atrix 4G Won't Be Getting Ice Cream Sandwich

IT Management

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Sony caught a lot of flak earlier this year when they failed on their promise to upgrade the Xperia Play to Android 4.0. They cited technical difficulties as the cause, but the comments on our original story showed that consumers were a little more than unhappy with Sony's decision. It's looks like Motorola is about to have their own Sony moment.

Motorola released an updated upgrade chart today that gives us a better idea of when Android 4.0 will be hitting their smartphones. The original upgrade chart, according to Ars Technica, featured the Atrix 4G as being one of the lucky phones to receive ICS. That's no longer the case as that particular model has been updated to say, "Will remain on Gingerbread."

Quite a few devices such as the Droid 4 and the Atrix 2 will be getting upgrades to ICS, but an even larger number of devices are being left to rot on the aging Android 2.3 OS. Here's the full upgrade list:

Motorola Atrix ICS

To add insult to injury, a recent software update for the Atrix 4G disabled the bootloader. Owners who installed this update will not be able to load a custom ICS ROM onto their phone. It's a little underhanded on the part of Motorola, who's now owned by the maker of Android, to keep people from updating their devices.

When Sony went back on their word, they cited technical reasons as to why the Xperia Play would not be getting ICS. Motorola's Software Lead, Punit Soni, shares a similar tale:

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.

Motorola's move just further explains why Android 2.3 is still the most used Android OS on the market. The business model of offering hardware subsidies on the back of a two-year contract isn't helping the adoption of Android 4.0 either. Most smartphone shoppers only buy phones when their contract is up for renewal. Either Google has to force carriers to be more aggressive about upgrades, or carriers need to offer more frequent upgrade options to keep the Android ecosystem from becoming too overburdened by obsolete versions of the OS.