Google today noted that they have begun to release Android 4.0.4. The release is intended to be a bug fix release, no new features are added. The company will begin issuing the update on HSPA+ versions of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which Google controls in terms of firmware release and maintenance updates. Similarly, Google noted that they are resuming the rollout of Ice Cream Sandwich for the unlocked versions of the Samsung Nexus S.
Both the Verizon 4G LTE version of the Galaxy Nexus, and the Nexus S 4G on Sprint will require carrier testing and approval before offering these updates. Unlike the unlocked versions of the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, the Verizon variant of the Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus S 4G with Sprint were released with carrier certification. As such, the carrier must approve each and every software update.
Quoting Google’s Android Google+ posting:
Some of you will be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich for the first time, while others will be receiving an update to your existing Ice Cream Sandwich experience with stability improvements, better camera performance, smoother screen rotation, improved phone number recognition and more.
On the tablet front, owners of the Wi-Fi version of the Motorola XOOM will also be receiving the update starting now. Similar to the Verizon Galaxy Nexus, 4G LTE-enabled versions of the Motorola XOOM on Verizon will need to wait for carrier testing and approval. Motorola has not issued the update for the DROID XYBOARD family of tablets that succeeded XOOM.
Android 4.0.4 may be the final update before Google begins shipping the first LTE phone on Sprint, also a Galaxy Nexus variant. The version on Sprint is expected to be unchanged from the Verizon version, with the difference of Sprint’s LTE radio bands. Also, the Sprint version is expected to not have firmware restrictions against using Google Wallet through its NFC transmitter. Verizon is blocking Google Wallet on Google’s own device, as the carrier continues to sort out plans for its own NFC mobile payment system. Rival Sprint however has embraced Google Wallet, promising several supporting NFC smartphones to be released throughout 2012.