I am in the market for a tablet. However I am not clear the degree to which the hardware will be linked to a specific android version. For example, if I get the Motorola Xoom or the Galaxy Tab 10.1, will I be able to upgrade it to honeycomb 3.2?

Will there be limitations on future upgrades, and if so, on what time scale?

  • The Xoom already got 3.2 in the US, but this isn't really an easy question to answer. It could vary widely based on where you live, what specific tablet you have, and whatever Google decides to do with Android moving forward. I don't think you'll get much more than pure speculation, especially with regards to versions beyond Honeycomb. – eldarerathis Aug 29 '11 at 1:41
  • We can't answer for any potential device, but known released/announced updates are added to the marked duplicate as we find them. Hopefully that helps. – Matthew Read Aug 29 '11 at 2:34
  • @Matthew I would urge you to consider opening this back up; this is not an exact duplicate because I am interested in the fundamental property of the hardware (e.g. is the ability to receive an update limited by hardware?) rather than 'when will device X get an update?' – David LeBauer Aug 29 '11 at 3:34
  • @David We have other questions on Android's requirements. For 2.3 there is the CDD but there is no such document for 3.0, since it hasn't been released by Google. There should be one for 4.0 when it comes out though. Apart from that, Android is open-source and can theoretically be ported to any device. – Matthew Read Aug 29 '11 at 14:26

There's really no way to answer this question. There are devices out there that got to version 1.6 and are at the end of the line. I have a DROID with Froyo (2.2) and don't expect to get any more OS updates.

It all depends on the hardware and, most importantly, how much effort the manufacturers and/or carriers want to put in to update the device. If the past is any indication, the answer there is "not much". They seem much more interested in selling their new phones. While Google and the manufacturers recently met and said that there will be more of an effort to support and update devices for at least 18 months, we've not seen the results of that. While they occasionally backpedal on announcements of "no more updates" it hasn't been very frequent.

If past performance is any indication, I think you can expect a few point releases, and perhaps a full release (to version 4.0) but beyond that I don't think is going to happen.

This is, of course, speculation, and this is now a fairly long non-answer answer to an unanswerable question.

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