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Good news for AT&T (NYSE: T) customers if you bought an Android phone in 2011: the carrier plans to roll out Android 2.3, otherwise known as Gingerbread, to its most recent Android customers over the next few weeks.
AT&T announced the move Monday, and will kick off the upgrade party with the Motorola (NYSE: MMI) Atrix 4G. Six handsets will be eligible for the upgrade: the Atrix, the HTC Inspire 4G, the LG (SEO: 066570) Phoenix, the Pantech Crossover, the Samsung Captivate, and the Samsung Infuse 4G. Users may have to download the update over a Wi-Fi connection depending on which phone they own, but AT&T said it would prompt users when the update is ready.
Android updates are a bit of a sore spot for users. Google (NSDQ: GOOG), like any company, announces major updates to Android a few times a year with flashy promises of all the awesome things you’ll be able to do with the new software. But it can take months and months before wireless carriers and handset makers approve the new software for devices, because different devices with different hardware profiles can react differently to the updates. Only the Nexus-class devices get software updates as they are formally released by Google.
AT&T said nothing about those customers running Android 2.2 who purchased phones in 2010, implying it could be quite some time before the rest of the group moves forward. Gingerbread boasts a more accurate virtual keyboard and better power-management features, according to Google.