How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

Summary:Everyone seems to agree that Android updates are a mess for owners. Would owners be willing to pay a reasonable price for major updates? I think so.

It is pretty universally felt that Android updates are a big mess. Not knowing which phone/tablet will get a major update, or when, is a sore subject with a lot of folks. I have made it clear how I believe the entire Android update system is broken, and colleague Ed Bott rehashed it beautifully. As screwed up as the update process is for Android devices, there is a brilliantly simple method available to fix it in one fell swoop. It is time for paid updates for the Android world.

I firmly believe that money is at the root of the Android update fiasco. It costs a lot of money for OEMs to update a device, and to support that new OS version going forward. So let's account for that cost up front and charge Android device owners for major OS updates.

I don't think Android phone owners would object to a reasonable charge for a major OS update. I'm thinking $15 would be cheap enough to get owners onboard while generating a lot of revenue for the companies involved. With 700,000 Android activations daily, even a small percentage of owners paying the fee would be worth the effort. Heck, if only 10 percent of Android buyers in one year paid the $15 that would be almost $400 million!

The hardest part of a paid update system would be keeping the new versions away from those who didn't pay. Google could help out with that since each Android activation has a Google Account behind it. A simple check and non-payers could be cut out of the loop.

So what do you think? Would you pay $15 for a major release of Android, such as Ice Cream Sandwich, on your Android phone or tablet? Sound off in the comments.

Image credit: Flickr users DaneHomenick and secretlondon123

Topics: Mobility, Google


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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