Motorola dumps three 4G phones from Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade list

Google-owned phone maker Motorola Mobility has quietly backed off its decision to upgrade three of its 4G phones to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) including the Atrix 4G, Photon 4G, and Electrify. Instead, the three phones will stay on Android 2.3 Gingerbread and receive maintenance upgrades. Motorola in February had listed the phones as slated for an Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade between July and September. The latest version of Google's Android mobile OS is 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Motorola announced the change by revising its online updgrade schedule, which was most recently edited Oct. 1. It's not yet clear if Motorola dumped the phones from its upgrade plans on Monday or during a previous edit.

The Atrix 4G

Motorola's upgrade change was first reported by Ars Technica.

The Atrix 4G, Photon 4G, and Electrify (basically a modified Photon 4G) are three of several Motorola phones that offer a secondary PC-like desktop interface when connected to a laptop dock. The so-called Webtop interface lets you browse the Web with a desktop version of Firefox or access your Android apps from a larger screen. The Atrix 2 and Droid Bionic, two other Motorola Android phones that offer a secondary Webtop interface, are still slated for the upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich.

Motorola was the first company to aggressively experiment with the Webtop idea; others such as Ubuntu Linux-maker Canonical are also hoping to produce smartphones with a desktop inside.

Jelly Bean dilemma

Despite being a Google-owned company, Motorola has yet to improve its Android update cycle or to set the tone for other Android device makers by producing phones with the latest version of Google's mobile OS. Motorola's most recent releases, the Razr HD, Razr Maxx HD, and Razr M, all feature Android 4.0, but the company is promising an upgrade to Jelly Bean by the end of the year.

The Photon 4G

To make up for its Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich shortcomings, the company is offering a $100 trade-in rebate to anyone who owns a Motorola Android smartphone first released in 2011 or later that doesn't get a Jelly Bean upgrade. The rebate can be used toward the purchase of a new Motorola smartphone and requires you to trade-in your current phone. Motorola has yet to announce which of its new smartphones users will be able to purchase under the trade-in rebate program. You can find out more details about the program on Motorola's site.

Currently, the only Motorola device running Jelly Bean is the Wi-Fi only Motorola Xoom.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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