The seemingly endless wait for updates

Summary:It's a good thing I love gadgets considering I cover them for a living, but it does have its downside, like the endless waiting for system updates. There is no time that moves as slowly as that spent waiting for updates.

I am addicted to technology, especially that of the mobile variety. If it's small and can go mobile I am all over it. That's a good thing considering I cover it for a living, but it does have its downside. Like the endless waiting for system updates for gadgets. There is no time that moves as slowly as that spent waiting for updates.

In the old days a device maker would tell you that an update would be released on a given date, at which time you would go to the support site and download the update. Once it was safely on your hard drive you would connect your gadget to the computer and apply the update. Providing it didn't brick your device, in just a few minutes you would have the equivalent of a brand new gadget compliments of new system software. The new system might just squash bugs that made it to customers, or sometimes include new features. Those were the good old days.

I am currently waiting (and waiting) for updates on the two newest devices in my possession. The Nexus S 4G smartphone is a great device, but it has some issues that have affected some owners. Sprint has prepared an update to address those issues, and also upgrade the Android system to the latest version of Gingerbread. This is a fairly minor upgrade, but it's the latest and greatest. The update began rolling out a couple of days ago to customers, but it hasn't hit my phone yet.

The modern system of over-the-air (OTA) updates is as convenient as can be, but it has its drawbacks. These updates are often rolled out in tiers to prevent overloading the carrier's servers dishing out the update. That means only a small number of customers get the update at a time, which means that those far down the list might not get it for days or even weeks. The period of time covering an update's release to when it actually hits your device is the slowest movement of time known to man. Between manually (and constantly) checking to see if the update is available for your particular gadget, and the wondering if the update has been cancelled by the issuer for some reason, time seems to stand still.

I am also anxiously waiting a major update from HP for the TouchPad. The initial reviews of the TouchPad consistently complained about its stability and performance. I am finding my TouchPad has settled down pretty well, but I want this update to optimize my experience with the tablet. HP has stated it would be pushed out to owners this month, and as the month is nearly over I am getting increasingly anxious to get it. It's like being told something is coming but you can't have it yet, and that is frustrating to those addicted to this stuff.

I just checked the clock again for the hundredth time today, then picked up each gadget to check if the update was there yet. If there is anything worse than waiting for a device update, I don't know what it is. Oh yes I do, waiting for updates on two devices. Sigh.

Image credit: Flickr user cacophonyx

Topics: Mobility

About

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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