Upgrading Android: A Guided Tour

Android moves pretty fast. It's important to know when, how and what to expect when you upgrade your device. Let's step through a recent upgrade from Froyo to Gingerbread on a Nexus One.

It has been a busy time for Android with the recent announcement of 3.0 aka “Honeycomb”.

The SDK itself was just released a few days ago, so things are running fast and furious as ever in Android-ville.

Add to that the announcement and impending availability of the Xoom from Motorola and the iPad 2 from Apple and things are on the move in the mobile space.

When the landscape is moving this quickly upgrades are an important part of device ownership. Speaking of which, I had the opportunity to upgrade my Nexus One recently from Froyo to Gingerbread and I thought it would be of interest to share what it looks like to upgrade an Android device.

When to Upgrade

The first thing to understand about upgrading an Android device is that you don’t decide to do so on a whim, unless you’re into hacking your phone which is a different topic.

Android updates are “pushed” to you when the carrier is ready. My phone is an unlocked Nexus One on the AT&T network so at some point the folks @ Google and AT&T decide it is time for me to get an update. When this happens, the first thing I see is a notification that there is a new version of Android available for download.

The small icon in the upper left corner of an arrow pointing to the Android robot lets us know that an update is available.

Upgrade is available

Dragging down from the top I can see more info about the update.

Upgrade notification

Tapping on the update notification, I am brought to a screen where I can commence the download of the update file. This update is 43.6 MB in size. To start the download, tap the “Download” button at the bottom of the screen. Simple enough.

Download the update file

Of course we can also check for an update manually, though in my experience the updates have always been “pushed” to the device. If we’re impatient, we can check for an available update by going into the Settings application and tapping the choice for “About phone”.

Get information about the phone