How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

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.

TOPICS: Android, Google

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: Android, Google

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  • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

    No, it isn't good idea. Google must introduce strict certification for Android(tm)-powered smartphones like 18-month updating cycle. If vendor want use Android trademark, they must update OS all this 18 monthes. If they can't update gadgets they must create fork of Android and name it as Sh*t OS or like that.
    • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

      @Adanedhil Greener at 2012 CES. E-reader is charging free from now on. Awesome innovation award winner,
  • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

    Wonderful idea! Wake Up Android.
  • Nuts?

    How would pay get us past the OEM and Carrier roadblocks?

    Definitely a poor idea.
    A path to rapid updates must exist first.
  • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

    I will just change my phone and so will others ( they can jump for the money lol )
  • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

    I would pay uyp to $30 for an update if as long as it was within a week or 2 of the "official" release by Google. Since most people sign up for a 24 month contract when they get a new phone, that would be for 2 annual updates (average). I believe that Android is mature enough now that there will not be major updates as often as there has been, probably getting on a annual basis now.
    • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

      @tgschmidt $30 ?? it's not just update, it's change OS version (like u change windows xp to windows 7) . For apps maybe $30 is much but OS it's just too small
      • You must be confusing Android with an MS Windows

        @unamedyet You can currently get a FULL RETAIL version of Mac OSX for just $30. And that OS includes upgrades to MANY of the tools included by default. So what was that about $30 being to little for an OS??

        I may not be complete against the idea of charging for OS updates, but fact is Android should not even cost $10 for 2 years of guaranteed updates .... because the OS is in eternal Google Beta quality.
        • You must be confusing Android with something not Linux-based

          You can currently get a FULL RETAIL version of Ubuntu for just $0. And that OS includes upgrades to ALL of the tools included by default.

          Just sayin'.
      • @wackoae you are wrong

        OSX is not sold as full retail. the $30 is the upgrade fee from Leopard. All OSX deals you ca find are upgrade packages since no Apple Mac is sold without Mac OS X. That's the reason why you can't legally install OS X on another computer, because retail copies are Upgrades not FULL RETAIL.
  • Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

    For "open" fans, open = free (as in $0).
    • Open != free

      There is no requirement that open-source software (GPL variety) be distributed free. Besides, each carrier adds proprietary "features" to the basic phone and likely won't distribute a variety without it.
  • Does Apple charge for updates?

    So long as Apple charges $0 for their updates, so shall everyone else. THAT is your competition, that is the bar you must strive for.<br><br>More like, "Hey vendors, do you want to continue selling Android phones?" If so, better update them or I will be buying from the next vendor who will. <br><br>Take heed Motorola, LG, HTC and Samsung. If you don't keep them updated for 18 months after they go on sale, then I will jump to the next vendor. Want to be the vendor with all the sales, get with the timely updates. Or I'll say screw you all and go with Apple. Take it or get out of the biz.<br><br>If the overlay is always the issue, skip the overlay and go for other customizations. Launchers update for the next OS in days. I don't want to hear excuses. HTC is starting to get on the right track with Beats. Differentiate on hardware and app software, not GUI overlays. Put in a complete killer software pack like media player, camera software and other "fun" stuff. Ditch the garbage.
  • Another idea... virtualization

    What if Google pushed a virtual machine concept for Android? Run the OS as a VM in a specific format and make the manufacturers deal with the hypervisor. Google releases minimum specs for the VM. Then, if users want to update, they compare their specs to the minimums; manufacturers only have to support their "official" releases, but users could easily try new releases and still rollback without much issue.<br>The only "losers" would be carriers that wouldn't get to install their wares on the phone OS as a permanent fixture.
    • Ridiculous suggestion

      @OrlandoHatch So basically what you want is all private data running thru some random server in some random country and fully accessible by some random admins.

      Seriously, are people so ridiculously clueless about basic security and privacy this day and age???
      • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

        @wackoae <br>do u know what is called vm???
      • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

        @wackoae He was talking about a VM, not "cloud"... And, anyway, all the data is probably in the Google cloud or the company network, if you want to make the most of your phone - just like iPhone users are probably on MobileMe or iCloud and WP7 users on Live accounts.
      • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

        Weird double post error
      • It's not ridiculous

        @OrlandoHatch a VM is the way to go to keep your OS stable and device-independent. This is actually what MS is doing with future Windows Versions. Vendors will only need to provide support for the phone's hardware and the all crapware they usually load on Android phones. Updates to the Hypervisor and/or drivers should only be necessary for bug fixing if the correct design is implemented. Issue here for vendors will be trying to provide specific HW add-ons that are not present on the Hypervisor Layer. For example, Motorola's Atrix is the only phone that has a fingerprint reader. Maybe google could support this additional devices providing special Hypervisor "keys" and evolving every 18 months the Hypervisor to add this "keys" to the VM layer.
  • RE: How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

    if android updates at their own expense, they are incentivized to send out well designed, well tested updates; if each update is a revenue source, android's incentive is to send out poorly designed, poorly tested updates so they can have a reason to send out another update, then another...