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Google pushing Jelly Bean updates to Android devices

Or one device, anyway, with three more to come

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Google is pushing out the Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" upgrade on Wednesday, but only to customers who have the unlocked version of the Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus mobile.

According to a post on the Nexus team's Google+ page, owners of Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices should receive a prompt to download the update "over the next several days."

Owners of LTE versions of the Galaxy Nexus – including customers on Sprint and Verizon Wireless in the US – are left out of the party, for now. Although Google says an update for those devices is on the agenda, it hasn't given a specific date.

Also coming real-soon-now are Jelly Bean updates for Nexus S handsets and the Motorola Xoom tablet. Google's Asus-built Nexus 7 fondleslab will come with Jelly Bean preinstalled, as will all new Galaxy Nexus handsets, possibly after a software fix to get around Apple's ban. Both devices should begin shipping to customers within the next couple of weeks.

This won't be the first time Jelly Bean has been spotted in the wild. In June, attendees of the Chocolate Factory's annual Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco received a bag of goodies that included a Galaxy Nexus and a Nexus 7, both of which came preloaded with the new OS.

If you weren't so fortunate, and your own mobile isn't on the rather short list of devices scheduled to get the Android 4.1 update, there may still be hope.

Unlike some previous releases, Google has wasted no time releasing the Jelly Bean source code. With luck, the Android hacking community should be able to build Jelly Bean firmware images that run on other devices soon, provided you're willing to root your phone.

Admittedly, getting the update over the air from Google would be much nicer. But if you're among the majority of Android users who are still waiting for your supplier to deliver an Ice Cream Sandwich update, such headaches should be nothing new. ®

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