Gives us a rough idea of which phones will
Nexus One smartphone won’t get to enjoy Ice Cream Sandwich, mainly because it’s fat enough.
The announcement could shed a bit more light on Android 4.0 compatibility, an issue which was only vaguely addressed by Google. It was clear all along that many Android phones would stay stuck at 2.x, and Google announced that devices shipping with Gingerbread, or capable of running Gingebread rather, are Ice Cream Sandwich compatible.
So, it is still unclear what the cut-off point for Android 4.0 updates will be in terms of hardware. The Nexus One is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm QSD8250 chip with Adreno 200 graphics and it has 512MB of RAM, so it’s not what we would call very antiquated. However, the Nexus S will receive the upgrade, and it’s powered by 1GHz Hummingbird chip with SGX 540 graphics, so hardware difference doesn’t seem to be much of limiting factor. So basically any Android phone with a 1GHz processor should be able to cope with Ice Cream Sandwich, at least in theory.
In any case the prospects of Android 4.0 upgrades on older devices seem rather bleak. Vendors have proven time and again that they are unwilling or unable to provide timely updates for their older Android phones. For many consumers and early adopters, this practice is a source of frustration.
With a very fragmented platform and dozens of phones facing obsolescence, phone makers obviously don’t want to waste time and resources on upgrades for somewhat older or unpopular models.