Google has confirmed on its Android developer mailing list that two of its longstanding reference devices in the Motorola Xoom tablet and the Samsung Nexus S will not be following in the footsteps of its successors in the Nexus 7 and Galaxy Nexus, with the search giant deciding that the devices were too old to be able to handle the new update, despite both being updated to Jelly Bean 4.1 earlier this year.
In fact, Google is recommending that both devices explicitly be left on 4.1 as there is no direct support at the hardware level for the latest version. While the lack of 4.2 for both devices may seem arbitrary, it should be kept in mind that both devices have been consistently updated since their initial release in 2010, through 3 generations of Android operating systems, a feat that very few manufacturers can claim themselves.
Now that these two devices have been officially supplanted by the Nexus 4 and the Nexus 7/10 tablets, it remains to be seen how far those reference devices will go in terms of Android updates. If two years of generational updates on Nexus class devices can be considered the norm and not the exception, then Android manufacturers still have a long way to go in terms of long-term device support, especially with the current wave of 9-month flagship cycles that are doing more harm to the current perception of Android as many 2011 and 2012 flagships outside of recently announced models have yet to receive promised updates.