I just got my first Android phone. The ZTE Score which runs on Android 2.3.4.. I'm curious if I can update to a newer Android os, or if I'm stuck with 2.3.4..

  • Actually, version 2.3.4 is the latest version. Version 3.0+ is for tablets and version 4.0 has not been released yet. – Charles Caldwell Nov 13 '11 at 3:45
  • Oh, so when 4.0 is released, I'll be able to update to it? – James Litewski Nov 13 '11 at 3:49
  • Maybe. It all depends on how modern the hardware is and whether the manufacturer and carrier want to make the effort. We track announced updates to Android 4.0 here: android.stackexchange.com/questions/14766/… – ale Nov 14 '11 at 15:03

As I stated in the Comments, version 2.3.4 is the latest version for phones. Versions 3.0, 3.1, and 3.2 are all for tablet devices. Version 4.0 will be released on the Galaxy Nexus sometime this month. Version 4.0 (code named Ice Cream Sandwich) was designed to run on both phones and tablets which may clear up the confusion surrounding the numbered releases.

Though Google controls the Android operating system and when it gets released, it is up to the manufacturers to decide whether to put it on their devices. Some companies, like HTC and Motorola, actually rewrite pieces of Android with their own special features, like HTC Sense and Motorola Blur. The companies have the choice to push out an update or not. Some of those companies have come out with plans to update their phones to 4.0.

ZTE has not announced (as of a couple weeks ago) any plans to upgrade their phones to 4.0 but there's no doubts they won't.

The second option is to wait until Google releases the code for 4.0. Once they do this, the Android community (like XDA) will work on a ROM of the operating system which you would then be able to install on your device manually. Doing so is not an easy process and involves dedication and a free weekend. If you consider this route, you should also do a little research to make sure doing so won't "brick" your phone or cause side effects with your service provider. However, it will provide the most clean and pure Android experience you can get.

EDIT: As @eldarerathis pointed out in the comments, Google did release a version of Gingerbread numbered 2.3.7 but it is only to support there Google Wallet product which at this time is only supported on Nexus devices or devices with NFC. If you'd like to build this version yourself and install it on your device, you can download the Android source code and build it yourself. There are instructions on how to do this at the site. However, I would strongly recommend waiting until 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) is released. For documentary purposes, I will update this answer upon release of 4.0.

  • Cool thanks for a great answer and all the info! :) – James Litewski Nov 13 '11 at 4:23
  • The latest revision of Gingerbread is 2.3.7, but I don't think any devices other than the Nexus line have received it (not counting CyanogenMod and the like). – eldarerathis Nov 13 '11 at 4:40
  • I was going off of the SDK version listed at the Android developer site. 2.3.4 is the highest available version that a developer can program for. The 2.3.7 update is only for phones that support Near Field Communication (NFC). At this moment in time, the Nexus line is the only line that supports NFC. Also, since 2.3.7 is for Google Wallet, it is a closed SDK only for the companies involved in Google Wallet (like Citi). – Charles Caldwell Nov 13 '11 at 23:25
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    @PortableWorld The fact that the release notes mention Google Wallet as the only new feature of 2.3.7, doesn't mean that it didn't contain various minor improvements and bug fixes. Besides, you're forgetting about 2.3.5 and 2.3.6, which exist as well. – hheimbuerger Nov 17 '11 at 13:58
  • As I said, I was initially going off the SDK release of 2.3.4. So, yes, it might be beneficial to upgrade to 5., .6, or .7 for the minor bug fixes to the OS if you own one of the Nexus phones. All the press releases I've read about .5 and .6 talk about how it is only for the Nexus and fixes bugs found only on that phone. (CM 7.1 includes the 2.3.7 update because of the NFC features.) Hence why the SDK remains at 2.3.4. However, I feel the discussion of Gingerbread minor version releases is overwhelmed by the release of 4.0. The discussion isn't, mute, mind you. Just eclipsed. – Charles Caldwell Nov 17 '11 at 15:21

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