Now that Google released Android 4.3 for its Nexus phones and tablets, other hardware partners can start sharing their device upgrade plans. After leaving some handsets with older versions of Android in 2012, Sony is among the first out of the gate to share high-level details on its upgrade intentions.
Currently, the Xperia Z and ZL in various markets are in the process of getting Android 4.2, and Sony says the Xperia ZR and Tablet Z will begin getting their 4.2 upgrades next month. Sony confirmed in a blog post on Thursday that the following devices will all see Android 4.3: Xperia Z, Xperia ZL, Xperia ZR, Xperia Tablet Z, Xperia SP and Xperia Z Ultra.
Sony also said it’s possible that some older devices will get updated with a bypass of Android 4.2, meaning if they’re on Android 4.1 now, they could jump to Android 4.3 with a single upgrade. There are no details on which older handsets are part of that plan. However, if a Sony Xperia phone launched with Android 4.1, I think there’s a reasonably good chance it will see the upgrade; there’s no major hardware bump needed for the latest version of Jelly Bean outside of support for Bluetooth 4.0.
Sony appears to have learned a lesson from its upgrade process last year, given the forthcoming plans and this added apology in the blog post:
“On that note, thank you for all the feedback on our Jelly Bean 4.1 rollout for Xperia 2012 products – we’re aware the process hasn’t been as succinct or as timely as you might’ve expected. As part of Developer World’s piece, Fredrik Ekstrand, our Head of Software Product Management, elaborates on some of the reasons for this, but essentially – we’ve heard your frustrations and are constantly improving the way we do things.“
We often focus on network carriers as a stumbling block when it comes to device software upgrades, which they can be. But the handset makers have to actually create software updates for carriers to test and push out, so it’s nice to see Sony stand up and take a little responsibility here.