Motorola Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich Update: Lessons Learned

The Motorola Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich update, though promised in the early part of Q3 2012, still is not available to owners of Verizon’s first dual-core 4G LTE smartphone. Looking beyond the update itself though, the update process itself brought some valuable lessons to those who own an Android smartphone or are thinking about getting one.

First though, a bit of back story. The Motorola Droid Bionic was one of the most heralded devices of 2011 with its dual-core processor and 4G LTE. However, delays pushed it beyond its initial launch window and the device ended up launching in September 2011, just a few short weeks before the Droid RAZR announcement and a few short months before Ice Cream Sandwich rolled out.

Since September of 2011, the Droid Bionic has toiled on Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is a decent enough piece of software, but is no where near as good as Android 4.0.

Read: Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich Update Gets Embarrassing News.

Unlike many phones, Droid Bionic owners deal with an encrypted bootloader which makes it difficult for average customers to install custom Android ROMs. Yes, early versions of Android 4.0 ICS are available to download but the process of installing is not easy.

Motorola was kind enough to tell owners that the Ice Cream Sandwich update would roll out in early Q3 but thus far, Droid Bionic owners are eating the dust of the Droid 4, HTC Rezound, Droid RAZR, and even the Kyocera Rise, a low-end device that launches August 19th with ICS on board.

So, while we wait for Motorola and Verizon to get their act together, I wanted to discuss what I’ve learned from this update and impart my thoughts onto not only Droid Bionic owners but Android owners in general.

Expect to Get Left Behind

When you buy a newly launched Android smartphone, don’t expect to be first to a new major update. That is, unless you buy Samsung’s flagship device. Currently, the Galaxy S III is slated to get Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on August 29th, just a short time after the software rolled out.

This is rare.

Most phones are often leapfrogged by other, newer devices to Android updates.


The Droid Bionic has yet to get ICS.

Forget About Release Windows

Stop listening to companies when they talk about roll out windows for updates. It will get you nowhere. HTC and Verizon promised the HTC Rezound ICS update for June or July, It rolled out in August.

Motorola promised the Droid Bionic update for early Q3. We’re now in mid-August. This shows that these companies are willing to forsake these promised dates and not apologize for doing so.

Silence Isn’t Golden

Motorola and Verizon remain silent about the Droid Bionic Ice Cream Sandwich roll out. In fact, they’ve stayed mum on the subject ever since it was announced. This is typical.

While owners possess a zillion questions about the release date or the software itself, carriers and manufacturers will generally keep owners out of the loop.

Leaks Don’t Mean Anything

The Motorola Droid Bionic ICS update leaked out several times over the last few weeks. Often, this is treated as a sign that an update could close. It’s not a sign.

Things can still go wrong.

And they apparently did with the Droid Bionic update, though, it may not be the Droid Bionic that’s to blame here. The Droid RAZR and Droid RAZR MAXX ICS updates were bugged beyond belief and we’ve heard that Motorola and Verizon have been working to make sure that doesn’t happen with the Droid Bionic’s ICS update.

Don’t Expect Early Updates

The leaks started piling on early, a sign that Motorola and Verizon might actually release the update early in the release window. Nope, didn’t happen.

It didn’t happen for the Droid 4 either which was promised Q3 and saw its update roll out just a few short days ago.

If a carrier or manufacturer gives a quarter (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4) for a release window, expect the update to roll out either in the middle of that window, at the end of it, like in the case of the Droid RAZR or Droid RAZR MAXX, or completely miss it like the HTC Rezound or Droid Bionic.