Motorola has already let us know that it will be bringing ICS to most of its high-end devices, and now we have the details of what goes on behind the scenes to make an update like that happen. The blog post explaining the process gives a good look at the whole shebang, from start to finish.

Ready for a glimpse into Moto's world? Check it out:

1. Merge and adapt the new release for different device hardware architecture(s) and carrier customizations

This means that we take the source code and incorporate it into upgrades for devices on which this can perform well, along with making sure the carrier requirements are met.  Silicon partners such as Qualcomm, TI, and nVidia adapt this to their chipsets in parallel and we incorporate these as they become available. This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code.  Features like MotoCast, Smart Actions, and our comprehensive enterprise solutions are integral parts of our device experiences, and we want to make sure we continue delivering differentiated experiences for our consumers with these software upgrades.

2. Stabilize and ‘bake’ the result to drive out bugs

This means that we will prepare the upgrade to meet the quality and stability requirements to enter the wireless carrier’s certification lab.

3. Submit the upgrade to the carriers for certification

This is the point in the process where the carrier’s lab qualifies and tests the upgrade. Each carrier has different requirements for phases 2 and 3. There may be a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months.

3.5 Perform a Customer pre-release

We may perform some customer testing before a final release is delivered publicly to our user base.

4. Release the upgrade

We are planning on upgrading as many of our phones as possible.  The ability to offer the upgrade depends on a number of factors including the hardware/device capabilities, the underlying chipset software support, the ICS support and then the ability to support the Motorola value add software.

While this helps us understand what happens before ICS will end up as an OTA on the user-end, it really tells us nothing as far as a release timeline is concerned. Honestly, an actual release is still so far out, to even try to estimate when it could be available is just silly.

Update: Looks like Sony Ericsson wanted a piece of the let's tell everyone what's going on pie, because they just released a very similar blog post, only prettier. It has colorful pictures and words o-plenty, so if you're down for a good lesson in this is how we do it, then head over to the SE blog and take a look.


Sony Ericsson, because pictures make everything better.

[Motorola Blog, Sony Ericsson Blog]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Tarek El-Eter

    but thats code for not make the update for ics and by the time we do we would have released a better phone and locked the bootloader

    • Tyler C

      Something tells me you're at least partially right lol

      • Tarek El-Eter

        Motorola should be voted the worst OEM for updates and supporting their devices for only a couple of months

        • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

          They support their devices for 18 months or so. The OG Droid just got an update. They are actually one of the best with getting out updates quickly and consistently, even on older phones. Sure, the older phones may not get the newest platform releases, but they still have already had at least one platform upgrade. That can't be said for HTC and Samsung. HTC is not too bad, but they pick and choose phones to get updates. Some will never see anything other than patches. Samsung is a bit iffy. They are getting better, but there are phones that just got off 2.1 in the last few months that were supposed to be upgraded shortly after launch.

          So Moto is not the worst, by far.

  • Rayanmx

    My main Q is "where exactly is Motorola located in that list at this moment?"

  • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

    Notice how few OEM customizations are listed. Nothing is mentioned about UI changes. Maybe they will leave it alone, or at most just make a few tweaks. Hopefully they get that ICS doesn't need to be ruined. Sure some extras and subtle differences are fine. Just don't ever go back to that blue and green motoblur-type over-bloated guano.

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com PixelSlave

      I guess their point is that the OEM customizations aren't the main reason why it takes so long to release an OS update.

  • wpfn

    This process will only change when we stop supporting carrier subsidized phones. Unfortunately not everyone has $700 for a phone, so this will not likely change any time soon. The carrier is an ISP for OUR phones, nothing more - if they would stop putting their bloatware on OUR phones, they might save some time and money in testing...and ultimately make the customer happy?

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      I think you would be surprised by how many customers actually like having those apps pre-loaded on the phone. Those can actually be selling points to customers. Most customers want to go to the store and buy the phone and it has everything there to do what you need. They like the convenience of being able to download apps, but certain things are expected of the phone without having to install something else. So I have absolutely no problem with their bloat-ware.

      I do, however, take issue with their usual tendency to not allow them to be uninstalled. I am purchasing the phone, not leasing it. I should be able to remove non-essential apps if I want.

  • Josh

    I wonder if they will update the Motorola Triumph?

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      That is a unique scenario. The phone runs basically stock android, but the phone was not actually manufactured by Motorola. Not sure how much they will put into software development. They could still do it, but it all depends on how much work it would take in getting all drivers and everything needed for whatever version (GB or ICS). They may not see it as worthy, or they may see it as easy since it is basically stock. I think it would but up to the carrier whether or not they push Moto for it.

    • soundping

      VM users = screwed again.

  • Syd

    If they didn't have to 'bake' in motoblur for ICS this would happen so much faster.

    As is I'm probably going to just get cyanogen ICS for my atrix all nice and blur free again.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      There is no mention of motoblur in the statement. They only list a few apps, so hopefully that means they will limit the UI customizations and keep it basically stock.

  • Peterpoose

    I will never buy Motorola again after how they dealt with the updates for the Xoom. It was a complete mess.

  • easye420

    Haha ill never buy from Motorola again. They screwed tons of us xt720 users. Never saw one update from Motorola. They left it at eclair. But thanks to some awedome devs im rockin CM7 on it. Until they actually start unlocking there phones im not gonna think twice about buying from them.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/brandonjnunn bjn714

      Unfortunately that tends to be the trend with the phones that are not huge sellers. Most manufacturers do this. Unfortunate for those that like the unique devices.

  • Andrew – Des Moines

    I am hoping the following statement will become less necessary as the vanilla OS improves:

    "This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code."

    At least they should be to the point where they can add minimal "improvements" as unintegrated apps rather than modifications of the source code.

  • Chronic_Masturbator

    18 month support, my arse. Atrix users in the UK just got official GB a couple of days ago while many other countries are still stuck with Froyo. Thank goodness we have an XDA forum with awesome devs.

    The Atrix 4g is highly capable of ICS but will we officially get it? I highly doubt it. Although the Atrix was released in 2011 and the 18 months rule applies here, Motorola states that the 18 month rule does not apply to Atrix 4G as it was released after the rule was passed.

    CM9 will soon be released by Atrix Devs on the XDA forums but what about hardware acceleration? Optimized kernels for CM9? We will be stuck with the kernels of GB with no hardware acceleration.

    Motorola is never getting my money ever again.