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Android Update Alliance Already Struggling

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the actions-speak-louder-than-words dept.

Android 364

adeelarshad82 writes "Earlier this year many Android phone vendors and U.S. wireless carriers made a long-awaited promise, which was to push timely OS updates to all new Android phones. Seven months in and especially with the release of Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), PCMag decided to reach out to all those vendors and wireless carriers to see how things were coming along. Brace yourselves Android fans, you're not going to like the responses."

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364 comments

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401440)

yay!

Netcraft confirms (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401448)

Android is dead!

Re:Netcraft confirms (1, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401572)

Should've used a bsd kernel as the base instead of a linux kernel. The stable driver ABI would make upgrading kernels (which is sometimes required when moving to new versions of Android) easier.

I say this half jokingly and half seriously.

Re:Netcraft confirms (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401722)

Irrelevant. The kernel isn't the issue, the applications require a certain level of hardware to work effectively. If that wasn't enough, all these companies are in the business of selling new units, not keeping old tech going on the latest OS and applications.

Apple do the same, they just have a tiny selection of devices and only churn a single model (storage options vary) once a year, or thereabouts. These other companies have a shotgun approach and have to compete on function/price between themselves, not on whether it has a fruit badge on the back. No mobile device company wants their current gen tech to last longer than the next incarnation. Just look the the home PC market to see where that leads. Sooner of later the tech is sufficient for the vast majority of people. We're a way off this with mobile tech, but it can't be far away. Quad core CPUs out in a few months, 1GB RAM in a fucking phone, plenty of storage for most people, screen of all sizes from the tiny iphone's up to near slate sizes. Two years, three? Not long that's for sure.

Re:Netcraft confirms (4, Interesting)

toadlife (301863) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401866)

Irrelevant. The kernel isn't the issue,

Oh really?

Then why are most of the bugs I see with new Samsung releases kernel related[1] bugs?

I understand the crapware that vendors integrate into ROMs takes time, but to dismiss the kernel as irrelevant part of the process is naive. Samsprint started working on their Gingerbread update for the Epic 4G early this year (I think around May) and barely released it in November, and due to issues are now working on a new update.

[1] I say this as someone who has had to patch my own kernel [xda-developers.com] to prevent the broadcom chipset driver from spontaneously rebooting my phone.

Re:Netcraft confirms (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401914)

Except that Apple pushes upgrades to both the current gen and at minimum the one generation previous devices as well.

Re:Netcraft confirms (4, Interesting)

Miamicanes (730264) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401962)

Not really. The lack of a stable ABI *is* a major problem, because it means that every time a new version of Android gets released that needs a newer kernel than the latest "official" one available for the phone, every proprietary loadable kernel module (for things like 4G data on carriers like Sprint) ends up breaking. As far as I know, not even the Nexus S 4G has buildable driver source available for its wimax interface, which is why every guerrilla ICS ROM for it has broken 4G. It's even worse for HTC phones, because they don't even release their drivers as proper loadable kernel modules -- they just compile them straight into a monolithic binary blob, then rip out the proprietary bits and dump the unbuildable kernel source on the curb.

This is the #1 problem Google really needs to solve -- binary driver breakage every time the kernel gets upgraded. Maybe they could create a stable thunking layer that allows a .ko built for a 3.(n+X) kernel to keep working on a 3.(n+Y) kernel, so every new Android release won't subject us to the usual cycle of 4G data that's instantly and semi-eternally broken. Or maybe just force the phone makers to blindly compile and release new unsupported proprietary .ko files for drivers with the latest kernel within 5 days of Google's official source drop, with the usual disclaimers that the new .ko files are untested, unwarranted, will cause birth defects, and might make you hunting for chocolate at 3am.

Re:Netcraft confirms (3, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401876)

It would solve hardware driver issues, but carriers also do a lot of customization with apps and skins. Sense UI, Motoblur and Carrier IQ don't depend on a stable ABI.

Re:Netcraft confirms (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402060)

Here's the the problem with android ugrades on the incredible: 1) I pick it up to use it. 2) There's a pop-up that asks whether you'd like to upgrade (phone will restart in 10 seconds) or cancel. 3) Since I picked up my phone to use it, and not to wait 5 minutes while it upgrades, I hit cancel 4) at some random point in the future, I pick up the phone to use it, and get the pop-up again, so repeat 1 through 3 I don't think there's an option to do the upgrade when you actually have the time for it.

Google is malnourishing it's baby. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401526)

Call social services because Google seems unfit to be an unfit parent. A very wealthy, unfit parent.

Re:Google is malnourishing it's baby. (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401984)

This has little to do with Google, the exception being for hand sets that Google made themselves. Would you blame MS if HP didn't release Win7 drivers for old printers for example?

Re:Google is malnourishing it's baby. (2)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402030)

Would you blame MS if HP didn't release Win7 drivers for old printers for example?

If you want to compare this situation to Microsoft, then yes, Microsoft actually mandates that carriers update their WP7 phones.

Re:Google is malnourishing it's baby. (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402100)

Even if Google mandated Verizon to update their Android phones, they couldn't do it unless the manufacturer sent them the code.

"Pledges" (4, Insightful)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401530)

Why is anyone surprised? A pledge, not backed up by, say, a money-back guarantee, is meaningless. If these people could get a refund for their phones if they weren't updated, the "pledge" would have teeth. This is why nobody trusts companies who pledge not to sue over patents. This is why people didn't trust AT&T about their merger pledges. Pledges are just for PR and they mean nothing.

Re:"Pledges" (0)

jimpop (27817) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401586)

+1

(I'm out of mod points)

Re:"Pledges" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401616)

I pledge to mod up!

Re:"Pledges" (1)

pro151 (2021702) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401830)

+2 (I'm also out of mod points)

Re:"Pledges" (4, Insightful)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401588)

If Google actually did something regarding Android things would be much better. This is exactly the reason why you cannot just throw something out and expect companies to do what you intended. Google needs to set certain rules regarding using Android on mobiles, and that includes updating your phones. Manufacturers aren't going to that otherwise because it means lost profits. But Google is incompetent, so they will not do that. You can even leave the source open, just demand that companies respect those rules if they want to use the trademark Android.

Re:"Pledges" (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401626)

Google needs to set certain rules regarding using Android on mobiles, and that includes updating your phones

Yeah, except then Android would just be another proprietary cell phone OS.

You can even leave the source open, just demand that companies respect those rules if they want to use the trademark Android.

Then they won't use the trademark. So what?

Re:"Pledges" (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401656)

Yeah, except then Android would just be another proprietary cell phone OS.

That's not an actual argument; it's just a label you're attaching to the idea of quality control. Platforms need leadership or they descend into chaos. Look at desktop Linux.

Apple Troll SuperKendall's Alt Account (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401690)

Still crying over how Google has destroyed your piece of shit Apple cellphone in the market troll?

Re:Apple Troll SuperKendall's Alt Account (1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401858)

My favorite part of posting on Slashdot over the years has been getting accused of being other people by angry, anonymous neckbeards. The tally of other people I'm supposed to be at this point must number in the dozens.

To answer your question, I don't care enough about smartphone operating systems to post angry, anonymous messages about them. I do, however, care about the fact that Linux once had a non-trivial chance at gaining desktop marketshare and squandered it. You can't create a stable long-term platform while embracing chaos. It's incompatible.

Re:Apple Troll SuperKendall's Alt Account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401968)

Still crying over how Apple destroyed any profit in the non-Apple cellphone market?

Re:Apple Troll SuperKendall's Alt Account (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401972)

Owning 30% of the market while only selling two generation models at any one time is hardly a failure for Apple. Considering that there are dozens upon dozens of different Android models it's only natural they'd have more market share.

Re:"Pledges" (0)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401678)

Android already is licensed from Google. That makes Android proprietary software too. Even Microsoft runs things better with Windows Phone 7. They mandate that manufacturers update their old phones. Since manufacturers are already licensing Android from Google, they are perfectly capable of demanding same kind of rules. But it mostly seems like Google just throws something out but isn't interested in supporting them or running things. And yeah, why shouldn't them, since manufacturers are already doing all the hard work for them, while Google gains access to more user data and advertising dollars. They aren't actually interested in making Android good because it's currently the only viable OS to use on cheap phones. They only care about advertising dollars, and they get those anyway.

Re:"Pledges" (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401762)

Android already is licensed from Google. That makes Android proprietary software too.

No, it means that it is not in the public domain. Proprietary does not mean "licensed," it means "licensed under proprietary terms." If we are going to have a free/libre cell phone OS, then we cannot promote proprietary licensing, and that includes licenses that forbid forking or that require upgrading.

Ultimately, the goal should be to open cell phones, so that your cell phone gives you as much freedom as a typical laptop can. Opening the source of Android was a step in the right direction; this is not the time to take a step backward.

Re:"Pledges" (0)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401848)

You cannot have a good OS if there isn't someone who organizes and runs things, and that includes providing updates to older phones. In the real world no one actually cares if the mobile OS is open source or not, and for majority of people using a proprietary OS isn't "taking a step backward". All the issues that Android has, however, is.

Re:"Pledges" (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402114)

You cannot have a good OS if there isn't someone who organizes and runs things, and that includes providing updates to older phones.

So who is pushing out the updates for GNU/Linux then? You know, the OS that is widely used (at least in servers, supercomputers, and other demanding computing environments) and whose core components are maintained by dozens of different organizations? Yeah, you can have a good OS without having one entity controlling everything; there are numerous Linux distros out that there help keep packages up-to-date on their users' systems, and they each have different ideas on how to do that.

In the real world no one actually cares if the mobile OS is open source or not

They certainly do, they just do not use the terms "open source" or "free software." People do generally care about the fact that their phones will not allow them to do the things they want to do, just not enough to become experts on how to hack a phone and avoid the restriction systems.

for majority of people using a proprietary OS isn't "taking a step backward".

Probably because the majority of people are already using a locked-down cell phone that restricts what they are able to do. Go take someone's jailbroken phone and exchange it for one that is locked down and cannot be jailbroken, and I am pretty sure you will hear them complaining about it.

Re:"Pledges" (0)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401800)

As long as the source is open, I think they would just use it without the trademark.

** Now with HTC Sense v 4.1 ** is the same to most people as ** with Android v4.1 **

It would be different if Google could block access to the Andriod app stores for such devices.

Re:"Pledges" (4, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401918)

Google needs to set certain rules regarding using Android on mobiles, and that includes updating your phones.

They do. If you want a phone like that, buy a Nexus.

Re:"Pledges" (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401988)

Google needs to set certain rules regarding using Android on mobiles, and that includes updating your phones.

They do. If you want a phone like that, buy a Nexus.

I tried, but Sean Young isn't for sale.

Re:"Pledges" (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401632)

At the time, the pledge was covered as the best thing to happen at the I/O Conference [androidpolice.com] . It served its purpose--it comforted Android fans, served as a response to critics of Android fragmentation, and probably helped Google sell more Android licenses. To answer your question about why anyone would be surprised, it's because Google is still held in a glowing light, at least on tech sites, and people still take them for their word.

Apple Troll Go Back To Starbucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401730)

Go back to Starbucks you fucking loser.

Why the fuck didn't you do the world a favor and fucking kill yourself when your douchebag cult leader took a dirtnap?

...says the bitter Android humping teen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402150)

...says the bitter Android humping teen who won't be getting the Ice Cream Sandwich mom promised him...

Re:"Pledges" (1)

sessamoid (165542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401836)

To answer your question about why anyone would be surprised, it's because Google is still held in a glowing light, at least on tech sites, and people still take them for their word.

Would those people be interested in buying some oceanfront property in Nebraska?

CyanogenMod Fanboy (5, Informative)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401832)

Screw their pledge, just let us root our phones easily. CyanogenMod has treated me better than any carrier or handset maker, and it will never ever come with Carrier IQ: http://www.cyanogenmod.com/blog/cyanogenmod-will-never-have-carrier-iq [cyanogenmod.com]

They plan Ice Cream Sandwich via CM9 for almost any CM7 (current version of CM) compatible phone they already support, except for really old models like the G1.

Re:"Pledges" (2)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402018)

Exactly. It's just like Home Depot touting their "Guaranteed lowest prices". What the hell does that even mean? I have mod points, but I wanted to post.

Fragmentation (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401544)

Android is more like a collection of related but not entirely compatible operating systems. The inability to have a consistent version of the operating system across current smartphones is really surprising for something that's supposed to be an open source project, but one of the big drawbacks of Android is how much control Google gives the carriers over your phone.

Re:Fragmentation (4, Insightful)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401742)

The same is true for Linux isn't it?

From a software vendor point, it's one of the main reasons not to develop for such a platform. Supporting multiple Windows versions is already a pain for a smaller software developer.

Re:Fragmentation (0, Troll)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401796)

Yes it is. That's why it's funny that Google chose to ignore how "widespread" Linux on desktop is and didn't see how fragmentation works out for operating systems.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401816)

You can target the same API and hit all those "related but not entirely compatible operating systems". Just don't do it wrong (which *gasp* can happen when programming things) and it'll be fine. Android was designed from the ground up to handle significant differences between handsets and OS versions, and gives developers tools for dealing with that gracefully. Whether or not they do it right is another story.

Nice sig. It does not at all out you as a fanboy pushing an agenda.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402028)

You can target the same API and hit all those "related but not entirely compatible operating systems".

Not without tremendous support costs, and mobile developers have been public about this. In addition to the software APIs, there are multiple hardware devices to target with varying capabilities. Even the very existence of variable screen resolutions completely screws up the ability to have a single, unified, cohesive interface across multiple phones.

Android was designed from the ground up to handle significant differences between handsets and OS versions, and gives developers tools for dealing with that gracefully. Whether or not they do it right is another story.

It may have been Android's intention to seamlessly target multiple hardware devices, but you pretty much cap the point yourself--whether or not it actually does is another story. Developer support for Android has declined by one-third [flurry.com] over the course of this year.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401852)

Wouldn't fragmentation naturally occurred in something that's open source? So far there is no issue with "fragmentation" besides impatients.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401934)

It sure seems to me hurting their market share, too... (rolls eyes)

Re:Fragmentation (2, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402076)

I've always loved that argument. It's like saying McDonald's shouldn't improve its food because it's the most popular restaurant, or that Justin Bieber is a better artist than Mozart because he sells more music per year.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402008)

Well, carriers jacking with stuff falls under the category of "open", but they should keep it open in turn. For example, we, as end users, should be able to install a "vanilla" version of Android over the vendor modified stuff.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402084)

Android is more like a collection of related but not entirely compatible operating systems. The inability to have a consistent version of the operating system across current smartphones is really surprising for something that's supposed to be an open source project, but one of the big drawbacks of Android is how much control Google gives the carriers over your phone.

Sounds like someone has very little understanding of what Android is or does. The source can be compiled and run on nearly any device bearing the "Android" name, the big issue is that they are each so unique that it takes a significant amount of dedicated code for each device to perform to the fullest of its ability. Trying to make a version that literally ran on every single phone and tablet would result in a monstrously bloated OS that was impossible to update on its own anyway, so these sorts of complaints are really surprising in their own right due to the naivete required to lodge them. And as for the carriers having control; they are the ones selling and supporting the phone (not Google) so they rightly deserve a modicum of control. Whether the carrier chooses to do something good or bad with that control is a matter of perspective to the consumer and they should be expected to respond to that. After all, if they wanted to buy something that acted exactly the same way on every single branded device on every single carrier, they could have chosen that one to begin with.

Some call the fact that Android is co-opted by handset makers to do a variety of wonderful things on a huge array of unique platforms a problem...

not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401568)

eventually hacks and other methods will allow you to update your android device but if you wanted a seamless experience you shouldve got an iphone. multi vendor ecosystems dont support monolithic upgrades.
you knew that when you bought it anyway.

Re:not surprising. (4, Informative)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401636)

Even Microsoft does better job regarding Windows Phone 7 than Google with Android. They have by far updated all of their old phones. In fact, they demand from manufacturers that they update. Manufacturers are only allowed to skip one update. If they skip and next one comes, they are required to provide that update to users. That is how it should work, not unlike how Google runs things.

Re:not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401792)

windows phone 7 (or is it 8 now?) is meaningless. the market share in non existent and the 3 people on the planet to use it (all M$FT shills) arent affected whether it updates or not.

Re:not surprising. (1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401908)

Nokia is still the largest phone manufacturer on the planet. When they start coming out with more and more WP7 devices, that is going to change. Their devices are already great, and hardware is unlike any other manufacturer.

Re:not surprising. (2)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402134)

They already started, and it didn't change much.

Re:not surprising. (1)

Merk42 (1906718) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401966)

What happens if the manufacturer skips more than one update?

Re:not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402016)

A chair will be thrown at them.

Re:not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402054)

Then they're in breech of contract and Microsoft unleashes the lawyer-hounds to extract the monies.

Re:not surprising. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402178)

[...] to extract the monies.

You meant ponies, right?

Why do you think.. (4, Interesting)

GrBear (63712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401592)

Why do you think Steve Jobs pushed to hard with AT&T and demanded full control over the OS? So shit like this wouldn't happen with the iPhone platform.

Money grubbing cell carriers would rather have your device locked down, so if you want the latest features, you buy a new phone.

And yet people are still surprised that Android is becoming more fragmented every day. The drawing has been on the wall since the launch of the the OS.

Re:Why do you think.. (-1, Troll)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401688)

Why do you think Steve Jobs pushed to hard with AT&T and demanded full control over the OS?...Money grubbing cell carriers would rather have your device locked down,

The fanboism is strong with this one.

Are you seriously trying to push the argument that the iPhone is not locked down? Really?

Re:Why do you think.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401752)

No, he didn't say that, YOU did.

Re:Why do you think.. (1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401756)

Apple demanded control from carriers to themselves, and as far as I know, keeps updating their devices. iPhone users keep getting updates, Android users don't.

Re:Why do you think.. (1)

GrBear (63712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401794)

I never said the iPhone wasn't locked down, I simply stating that the carrier was holding ALL the keys on an Android device, to the point of strangling future OS (and feature) upgrades unless they approve them.

Re:Why do you think.. (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401884)

The solution to that is not "let Google control things instead!" The solution is to start freeing cell phones from restrictions, so that people can upgrade the OS themselves. People should not be forbidden from upgrading their phone's software any more than they should be forced to do so -- just like nobody is forced to upgrade the software on their PC if they do not want to (and plenty of people have reasons for not wanting to upgrade). Instead of talking about how to give Google control over everyone's Android phone, we should be talking about ways to give the users themselves control.

Re:Why do you think.. (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401952)

Are you seriously trying to push the argument that the iPhone is not locked down? Really?

Um, the very sentence you quoted specifically states that Steve Jobs pushed for "full control over the OS," so obviously, he was talking about wresting control away from the carriers so that you're not going through a chain of phones all the time to catch up with the new OS. In fact, it's a credit to Apple that they push out updates for older phones; the two-year-old iPhone 3GS is still selling well.

How do you even pronounce "fanboism?"

Re:Why do you think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402160)

It's pronounced "bon-ch". The argument in the OP is clearly one that the money grubbing carriers were beat out for control by the money grubbing handset maker (Apple).

Re:Why do you think.. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401732)

If Google isn't careful, the problems may become great enough to allow Microsoft to slip in and gain non-trivial marketshare, at the very least in the enterprise where they have long-standing relations. Based on Eric Schmidt's recent remarks, Google is betting on having so much marketshare that people don't have a choice but to work with them, whether they "like it or not."

Re:Why do you think.. (4, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401856)

is it though ?

http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html [android.com]

2.2 + 2.3 = 85%
Add in 2.1 and you get to 95%

95% covered in 3 minro revisions doesn't seem too bad, especially with the speed of Android versions slowing down.

Re:Why do you think.. (3, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402052)

2.2 to 2.3 is far more than a "minor revision". It is a new major version considering all the system changes, UI changes, API additions and updates, etc.

Re:Why do you think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402138)

You're pointing out that chart as a positive?
    Android is coming out with 4.0, and the last 3 versions have hardly any installed base
    half of the phones are 4 version bask (2 major revisions) and another 3rd are 2 revs back from that.

What that says to me is like the version you buy, 'cause that's about all you'll ever have.

Re:Why do you think.. (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401896)

Yes. Thats why Apple release Siri for older phones. Its because they dont want you to buy the latest iProduct.

Oh wait...

Re:Why do you think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402136)

Yes. Thats why Apple release Siri for older phones. Its because they dont want you to buy the latest iProduct.

It couldn't possibly be because the older iPhones don't have the CPU power to run it.?

I don't recall the details but there were earlier features that worked on the last couple of generations but not the first.

There is nothing wrong with this at all. It's ridiculous to think that every new wizbang feature is going to work on every generation all the way back to the beginning.

Some people just can't miss an opportunity to ding Apple while the competition continues to do far worse.

Re:Why do you think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402010)

So its okay for steve jobs to lock down a phone, but its wrong if verizon does it? And Apples the company that's been pushing for years that if you want the latest and greatest you need to get their newest device.

Re:Why do you think.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402026)

Why do you think Steve Jobs pushed to hard with AT&T and demanded full control over the OS? So shit like this wouldn't happen with the iPhone platform

No, he did it 'cause HE wanted to be the one to pull shit like this.

Phone Vendors Don't Think Platform (5, Insightful)

pdxer (2520686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401598)

It seems to me that phone vendors have not changed their mindset from the pre-smartphone era. Back then, no one cared about OS or version. You got an integrated product and it never changed. Today, it feels like phone makers still think "we put it together and ship it - this idea of later changing or upgrading the software is kind of weird to us."

To them, a phone is complete and unchangeable one it leaves the factory. Alas for their mindset, consumers see phones as customizable, upgradeable devices. If they were $50 each, sure, just replace it, but at $500+ (even if it's stretched over two years), people are making a more significant investment and don't want to be left behind.

Re:Phone Vendors Don't Think Platform (1)

InsightIn140Bytes (2522112) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401720)

That is why you need someone running the platform. With iPhone there's Apple and with WP7 there's Microsoft. However, Google is just ignoring Android and thinking it works out just fine if they pass the control to phone vendors. Well, it doesn't. I doubt they will ever even realize this but continue making the same mistake again and again.

Re:Phone Vendors Don't Think Platform (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402050)

However, Google is just ignoring Android and thinking it works out just fine if they pass the control to phone vendors.

Google thought process: A Cupcake phone displays ads just as well as an ICS, and the phone vendors know more about selling phones than us, right? Who wants to go to all of the trouble of making individual users happy when making just Verizon happy will move 100,000 units at a time.

It's a lot more fun to make million dollar deals with the "adults" that Run The Mobile World, while sniping at the "marketing" and "fanboi-sie" of somebody like Apple or Microsoft for actually attempting to make a relationship with the retail end user.

Re:Phone Vendors Don't Think Platform (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402064)

If only they would buy a major phone vendor to lead by example. Somebody like Motorola.

Stick to Nexus (2)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401998)

This is why I always recommend sticking to the google controlled nexus series. google has complete control, carriers or the manufacturers themselves can't even lock it. Its the reference platform for apps and to top it all off, updates come quick.

My Nexus one always had timely updates, it still competes with modern day non-nexus phones and iPhone wasn't even a competitor for what Nexus One offered.

Just upgraded to Galaxy Nexus and its is a good phone, real good.

My Bionic updated this morning` (2)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401600)

Still Android 2.3.4, just some crappy system Verizon version 5.5.893.XT75.Verizon.en.US

I was so hopeful.

Every phone I've ever had (2)

LunaticTippy (872397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401614)

All the phones I've owned, at least 10 of them have been obsolete before I had them. I don't have the expectation that my phone has the latest OS. I am currently using a work-issued blackberry curve 9300. People chuckle at it, but it is functional enough I don't spring for a second phone.

I was hoping Google would be good about backwards-compatible updates but I am not surprised. Hardware changes so much it seems hard to make the OS compatible across all platforms. I don't get why people are so worked up about it. Your phone does what it does when you were all excited about it a few months ago, what's the big deal?

Re:Every phone I've ever had (2)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401710)

Two reasons:

1) Smartphones are defined by what apps they run. If you can't run the current, or at least a recent OS, then chances are you can't run any of the newer apps as well.
2) Apple has no problem doing it. My 2.5 years old iPhone 3GS is running the latest OS.

Re:Every phone I've ever had (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401724)

My iPhone is doing great, and my iOS is always up-to-date. Siri is a game changer.

Android isn't ready for the big stage yet. The average person isn't going to review a spreadsheet of which phone supports which OS version, and whether you need to root the phone first. Eventually someone will get their arms around the problem and that vendor's example will force everyone else to step up their game.

New commercial- Bunch of geeks waiting in line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401980)

New commercial- Bunch of geeks waiting in line in front of a brick wall. Hot chick (barista?) walks by. One geek goes "Whoah, whats that?". Hot chick shows them her iPhone and says "My phone just updated this morning, third update since I bought it!". "Wow," says one nerd, "we've been in line for an update over a year now!". One nerd uncomfortably slouches off out of the line... Etc.

Re:Every phone I've ever had (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402192)

Siri is a game changer. Except for all those who already had an iPhone. Even those who had siri when it was an app, and no longer have it because it was removed.

not happy (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401622)

... but not surprised.

Choice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401638)

(Posting AC from work)

It's simple - if you want a (smart)phone that will have a regularly-updated OS and new features as they become available, then the only choice is the iPhone. If you don't want an iPhone and don't mind an OS that will probably be out of date the day you buy the phone, then Android is the only viable choice (I'm certainly not going to suggest a Blackberry or a Windows phone...). Seriously, there are many reasons for it but the simple reality is that an Android phone is almost certainly going to be out of date very quickly and will almost certainly never be upgraded to the latest OS (if it ever gets upgraded at all) while the iPhone OS _will_ remain current for 3 years after the device's launch at which point it will start lagging but very few people use 3-year-old phones so that doesn't really matter to most users...

* All of that is covered under the implied caveat of "short of you jailbreaking/rooting your device and doing whatever you want with it...:"

Please (1)

vencs (1937504) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401670)

dont start posts saying "the main problem is.."
because there is no problem. You wouldn;'t be that surprised
about the 'delays' when you know how much time it takes before
any product reaches it final consumers when multiple components are
involved in the supply chain. The problem is with the everyone setting unrealistic
expectations comparing with Apple. Google releasing the OS is equivalent to NVIDIA/Intel
saying on its website about their newest processor - which you wont be finding in your
laptop/phone until a year later.

Another iPhone (3, Insightful)

RogerWilco (99615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401680)

And this is the main reason why my next smartphone will be another iPhone. I have a bit of lock-in because of my existing apps, but that's less than $100, so I would not mind switching to something more free. Currently I'm still on my 2.5 years old iPhone 3GS, for as least as long as it still gets updates and the battery is good.

Stories like this give me very little in Android, Google might lose to Microsoft what it gained the last couple of years very quickly.

Re:Another iPhone (2)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401748)

We're just sheep apparently. Easily led from phone to phone.

Re:Another iPhone (3, Insightful)

mrops (927562) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401888)

People are stupid. They compare any android device to iPhone. If you really want an alternative, stick to the Nexus series. I have had Nexus one and just upgraded to Galaxy Nexus. Carriers have no control, they are not even allowed to lock it. Google is in complete control. Don't go with any other Android phone, stick to Nexus.

Re:Another iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401974)

Stories like this give me very little in Android, Google might lose to Microsoft what it gained the last couple of years very quickly

Ha ha ha ha! It's funny because Microsoft has been historically been worse than Google at providing updates to their Windows Mobile platforms.

The only advantage that Microsoft has over Google right now is that Microsoft just flat out told everyone there was never upgrade path from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7. In many ways, it's better to be told "no" than "we'll try."

(I really don't need fifty people telling me the 50 reasons that the Microsoft Marketing Department came up with to explain why it was a good idea that there wouldn't be an upgrade from Windows Mobile 6.5 to Windows Phone 7. Yeah, yeah, I get it. Slashdot rubes aren't very technical, and get most of their information from marketeers. Techies shouldn't bother to read this site anymore. You don't have to rub it in.)

Re:Another iPhone (1, Insightful)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402148)

I don't know... the lousy Apple III bug with the chips popping out is why I don't buy Apple stuff like the iPhone. I mean, I always judge a buying decision on the worst example within a large class of products, just like you.

Psst... Android isn't a phone, it's an OS available on many products from many companies. Plenty of Android phones are regularly updated and have good hardware. This is about the market of all Android phones, and as you tend to buy *one* phone, rather than the entire market, it doesn't actually apply to any specific individual, but rather the marketplace as a whole.

Impacting my purchasing decisions (4, Interesting)

suresk (816773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401746)

I'm replacing my Droid Incredible next month, and this very issue is steering me towards an iPhone 4S even though I'm generally happy with other aspects of Android.

If I'm locked into a contract for 2 years for a phone, I don't think it's incredibly unreasonable to expect updates (especially ones that relate to security, stability, or performance) for at least 18 months.

Re:Impacting my purchasing decisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402088)

So, you are a Verizon customer based on your DInc. Why not just get a Galaxy Nexus?

also dead: the IBM PC (5, Funny)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401770)

i mean, there are just so many clones! who knows what bus you use, is it ISA? EISA? PCI? what kind of memory does it use, EMS or XMS? which version of DOS do you want, 4 or 5? what about Windows -- windows 3 or WFW?

there are just too many choices, too many options. the X86 based PC platform is dead. and so is the x86 processor.

this is 1986 for crying out loud. people want stuff that is easy to use. not junk that you have to fiddle around with.

Re:also dead: the IBM PC (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 2 years ago | (#38401956)

some users, generally the more technically minded, do appreciate being able to fiddle around with some things. that's the plus side to Android. the minus side is, yeah, we're basically in 1986 now.

coincidentally, i'd like someone to fiddle with my junk, but slashdot might be the wrong site for that.

Re:also dead: the IBM PC (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402090)

The point has to do with broken promises of OS updates not hardware variation.

Re:also dead: the IBM PC (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38402172)

Thus demonstrating one of the most important differences between a PC and a smartphone: you can upgrade your PC's OS on your own, without having to buy a new PC, without having to wait for your PC or OS vendor to do it for you.

Manufactures or Carriers responsibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38401936)

Who is responsible for updating or providing updates, the manufactures of the phone or the carriers? With the iPhone we know its the manufactures job to update the phone, which Apple does for all phones that can run the latests update. This article goes into asking manufactures and carriers what they are going to do specifically for each phone. Ultimately it has to be one or the other that needs to be doing updates for the phones. I would figure it would be the manufactures that would be doing most of the lifting in this case with the carriers adding their interfaces and other stuff later on causing only a small delay in pushing the updates out. I don't think it looks horrible on Verizon, T-Mobile or AT&T when something isn't running the latest OS, but it does on the manufactures in my eye. Because the Carrier in my mind is really only responsible for phone and data on the phone, the software that runs on the phone it is the manufactures responsibility.

Developers not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38402098)

I work heavily with Android devices. I'm not surprised carriers and manufacturers are not keeping their devices up to date. It is a little hard to do that when Google keeps changing the fundamental design of the platform every major release.

Why would you move from 2.x to say 3.x or 4.x if that means that the buttons on your device are now redundant, and the screen real estate has shrunken because of a new application bar that cannot be disabled via apps unless the device is rooted?

Companies are doing exactly what my company is doing, sticking with 2.x and just modifying it ourselves for new stuff we need. It is Open Source, so if companies don't like the horrid design mistakes of 3.x and 4.x, then they are just going to stick with 2.x. Most of the newer additions aren't that impressive anyway.

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