Since the launch of Android 4.1 in June, one thing's been on everyone's mind: "When is my device getting Jelly Bean already?"
Believe me: I've heard it plenty. And understandably so: Since I maintain an evolving list of Android 4.0 upgrade info (and did the same for Android 2.3 and Android 2.2 before it), I've developed a bit of a reputation for staying on top of upgrade news. Hey, compared to some of the other reputations I've developed in my life, that's not half-bad.
So in response to everyone who's asking, here's the answer: For the most part, we just don't know yet. It's not the most satisfying answer, I know. But anyone who tells you otherwise is probably guessing, lying, or relying on unreliable rumors, all of which are equally dangerous things to do.
Now, I did say "for the most part" -- and sure enough, there are a few exceptions. Google's Nexus and Google experience devices -- specifically, the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus S, and U.S. Wi-Fi Xoom -- have all gotten Jelly Bean, as you'd expect. (As for the Verizon Galaxy Nexus and Verizon Xoom, good luck: Sadly, thanks to the carrier's involvement with those devices, there's no telling when their upgrades will be pushed out.)
Google devices aside, we've heard official word from HTC that its One X, One XL, and One S phones will all get Jelly Bean; we've also heard from Asus that its Transformer Pad (TF300T), Transformer Prime (TF201), and Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700T) will get some Android 4.1 love. But neither manufacturer has given a time frame as to when those upgrades could occur (and neither manufacturer has said anything either way about the fate of its other Android devices).
Aaaaaand....that's it. Thus far, we've seen no official plans from Samsung, Motorola, Sony, LG, or any of the other Android manufacturers. Sure, we could make some educated guesses -- devices like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note seem like they'd be shoo-ins, as recent rumors suggest -- but at this point, it's all hearsay and conjecture. And based on past performance, we know that reasonable expectations don't always equal reality.
By now, you probably know the reason for the uncertainty: Outside of Google's own Nexus and Google experience devices, Android upgrades are in the hands of manufacturers. And by and large, manufacturers have made it painfully clear that timely upgrades are not their top priority. (The fact that the manufacturers tend to devote time to implementing their own interfaces into the software certainly doesn't help.) The bottom line is that if fast and frequent upgrades are important to you -- and you're not the type of person who wants to hack your device and install third-party ROMs on your own -- a direct-from-Google Nexus device is the only way to go. Other phones and tablets have their strengths, but maintaining the latest and greatest Android software is generally not one of them.
Here's a promise you can count on: Once more manufacturers start making their plans available, I'll start tracking the Jelly Bean upgrade situation device-by-device for you. Watch Android Power for details in the weeks to come (you can follow @AndroidPower on Twitter or subscribe via RSS, if you're so inclined).
In the meantime, you can read more about Jelly Bean in my Android 4.1 FAQ and hands-on review -- and if you're still waiting on Ice Cream Sandwich, head over to my Android 4.0 upgrade list for the latest on your device's status with that upgrade. The ICS list is still and will continue to be kept up-to-date, even if it does now live in Jelly Bean's candy-shaped shadow.
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