June 04, 2012, 9:36 AM — If there's one thing to hate about Android, it's the uncertainty about whether your phone will ever run the latest and greatest version of Google's mobile OS.
Besides delivering new features, these updated versions of Android also bring security patches and bug fixes that can solve major problems in performance, call quality, and even battery life.
Since Android updates vary depending on mobile service carrier and phone model, we've put together a chart to help you keep track of which phones will (or won't) be updated to the next major version of Android. To check for your phone's status on the chart, see "Android Phone Updates: A Comprehensive Guide."
The list focuses on phones now available and phones confirmed to be moving up to the next major version of the OS (currently, Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich). Android 4.0 is a huge step forward for the Android OS, and the update significantly changes how Android looks and feels. It includes updated versions of all of the core apps, such as Gmail and Maps, and the OS looks much slicker as well.
We'll update the chart regularly, so we invite you to check in periodically to see whether your phone will be getting a taste of Ice Cream Sandwich or any of the future dessert-nicknamed updates such as Android Jelly Bean.
That accounts for the specific information in the chart--but what does the overall data tell us about how successful different carriers and phone manufacturers are at updating their phones with newer versions of Android?
Updates by Carrier
The data in our comprehensive chart indicates several trends. AT&T and Verizon currently have the largest number of phones that either run Android Ice Cream Sandwich now or are scheduled to receive it (nine models each); next in line come Sprint (seven models) and Verizon (five).
If we look at how many phones are already on Ice Cream Sandwich, however, the rankings get shuffled quite a bit, with Sprint and T-Mobile tied at the top, and AT&T and Verizon playing catch-up.