New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

Summary: The start of a new year is the perfect time for Google to step up and fix the abysmal Android update situation.

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TOPICS: Android, Google
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Android is probably the fastest growing mobile platform in history, and Google deserves kudos for making that happen. The phenomenal growth shows that Google has pretty much done the right things as the proof is in the heavy adoption of the platform. This year has seen Android continue its course to the top, but it's not all been robots and roses. As the year closes, conversation about the abysmal Android update situation is still a hot topic. It's time for Google to make a resolution for next year to get this update situation under control.

The evidence is clear that Android updates, or the unpredictability of them, has been on people's minds all year, based on this article from January of 2011. My thoughts at that time are unchanged today, and set the stage for Google to step up and take control over Android updates.

If the handset update process is not really that complicated, then Google needs to put mandates on partners requiring a reasonable (to customers) timeframe in which handsets get updated. Just because Android is open doesn’t mean Google can’t put controls on businesses using it. It is time to step up on the behalf of customers and get things right. Partners won’t like it, but they’re making too much money on Android to turn away now.

Google seemed to be listening, and formed a consortium of major players in the Android space to clean up the update process. The effort was announced to define how updates would be handled in the future, and more importantly how long consumers could expect to have updates available for Android devices.

That was over six months ago, and the consortium has done nothing. Not a single action has come out of this effort by Google to address a known problem for consumers. This cannot continue, and the start of a new year is the perfect time for Google to do whatever is necessary to get this update consortium off the ground. As stated earlier this year:

It won’t change things much for end-users if companies continue to hold up updates because they can. The only way this update process will get better is if Google holds the parties responsible, and that means more than a slap on the wrist when updates don’t get to the consumer. No matter what Google may think, good intentions on the part of consortium members is not enough. Consumers deserve to get what they are promised.

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Topics: Android, Google

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  • Not going to happen.

    "The phenomenal growth shows that Google has pretty much done the right things as the proof is in the heavy adoption of the platform."

    No, all Google have achieved is that they have given the manufacturers and the carriers something to compete with free. This is the reason that updates just won't be provided for older phones. It is not in the interest of the manufacturers or the carriers to do this. They prefer to sell you new hardware subsidized by new contracts.
    jgpmolloy
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @john@... <br><br>JK knows that. But since JP got tons of hits on the subject why can't JK?<br>They are in competition for page views, ya'know.<br><br>PS. Android "update problem" appears to be ONLY a situation/problem with bloggers of Iphones.
      Return_of_the_jedi
      • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

        @Return_of_the_jedi Agreed. Most of the users don't know about different versions and don't care.

        A majority of those that do, can install a new ROM. Only a minority of users want the updates, but don't want to root their phone and install a non-official ROM - and these users would be better off buying a "Google" phone, as opposed to an htc or Samsung etc.
        wright_is
  • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

    If Zdnet says it's a situation, it's a situation.

    Milk it for what it's worth JK. JP started it (he said problem), now you get the last word for 2011.<br><br>Have a happy New year JK.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @Return_of_the_jedi

      Now you understand why Ed Bott's Apple Malware posts about a minor trojan irked the faithful. Oh, by the way, where is that great malware threat now? (Oh, BTW, you never bashed Apple consumers over that malware issue, did you "jedi"?)

      As long as a company updates bug fixes and security fixes (when needed) in the released Android OS version, the consumer should be content. Hardware technology advances at such a pace that, for the time being, it is better to update the OS at the same time the hardware is updated, IMO.
      kenosha77a
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @Return_of_the_jedi

      Wp7 is DEAD as KIN.

      Even Samsung Bada Outsells wp7
      Sultansulan
  • it's about time it is worse than child abuse

    All we have been hearing for the last year is how great Ice Cream Sandwich is suppose to be. Google of late has been real good at delivering hype. Where's the Beef? By the time we actually get it, Ice Cream Sandwich it is likely to just be a sticky melted mess. Google seems to have lost it's startup ZEST for the BEST RIGHT NOW.
    a52dragon@...
    • Just like all we heard last year was how great honeycomb would be for

      tablets. That turned out to be nothing more than a bad joke. And now ics is shown to be completely underwhelming for both phones and tablets. I guess lower expectations aer needed.
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

        @Johnny Vegas

        Every major Android release was joined by the same level of hype. Remember how GoogleTV was going to change the world? The future of television?

        http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/google-tv-will-revolutionize-television-once-viewers-understand-it/39996
        dave95.
      • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

        @dave95

        That ZDNet Google TV blog article you cited was authored by Sam Diaz. That would have explained why I didn't see any talkback comments posted by myself. Sadly, Sam usually stated opinions that I found "less" than objective and, more often than not, bore a marked resemblence to a style attributed to "yellow journalism". At least Sam has found an outlet in "Googling Google" uniquely suited to his world view.
        kenosha77a
  • JK is this just click bait or have you mistaken google for a company that

    cares about the android update problem? And yes it's real, it's not just a blogger issue. Android developers have it with their big bins full of "test devices" and the only reason they care about it is because their users have and care about it. However google and the oems and the carriers still couldnt care less. The typical contract length is 2 years which means the average time to end of contract is 1 year. So saying you'll be updated in 18 months was nothing more than a slap in the face. Any agreement that doesnt get the updaates onto the phones in 90 days or so is a joke.
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

    NEW YEARS RESOLUTION... That JK would stop blaming Google if a particular handset manufacturer doesn't want to update their phones! For Most that is not the case, Samsung is a very big part of the problem but HTC and Motorola are much better!

    Reality, you need to stop calling out Google for this and start calling out the likes of Samsung because what you're doing is wrong and is nothing more than an attempt to bash Android yet again!
    slickjim
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @Peter Perry I was just about to write something like this. Until the pundits start calling out Samsung, Motorola and HTC about their bolted on UI's and how they are absolutely unneeded are the REAL cause of the upgrade issues ... these people including the author of this blog post should not be taken seriously.

      AGAIN. GOOGLE has delivered the updated software but the manufacturers insist on bolting on 3rd party UI's into these updates so it takes forever. Until they make these UI's optional and just update Android not "Android 4.1 with Sense UI 4.1" the "problem" won't go away. So James take Samsung to task because they admitted the Galaxy S series could run ICS just fine but the storage can fit both ICS and TouchWiz in it .. TouchWiz is the problem NOT ICS and certainly NOT Google's handling of any of it.
      ben@...
      • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

        @ben@... But even then, Motorola and HTC are miles better than Samsung with updates! Also, Moto and HTC don't break the core of Android like Samsung has been known to do.
        slickjim
      • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

        @Peter Just because Moto and HTC are better by a hair then Samsung is ... doesn't give them any upper hand. I've had a Droid 1, Droid X, HTC Incredible (went to the wife) and an HTC Thunderbolt ... the updates are slow and they bring out features in their new UI's that do not get updated for current phones .. only new phones. These features run fine on current handsets as I used Sense 3.x on my TBolt just fine but the official was 2.1 ONLY when it finally go GB almost a year after it was released. I don't give props to any of these manufacturers. They simply DO not need to bolt on a new UI anymore ... not with ICS. It's why my Tbolt is being sold to a friend and the DInc was retired .. the wife and I both have GN's now and even she agrees with me which ain't often. ;)
        Also, ICS runs great on the Galaxy S line .. upgraded 3 friends already OVER the phone and they were amazed at how simple it was. I mean 3 steps and they could not be happier. All have said their SGS's are running better then they ever have .. even when they were new. It's a 3rd party UI problem ... plain and simple. And until the public and the pundits start blaming the manufacturers and not Google ... it won't change.
        ben@...
  • It is working as planned

    It's never been about the OS, Android is about flooding the market with a new Android OS based device every 3-4 weeks. Who cares how long any model is supported as the next model is less then 90 days away. You can upgrade to a new device which is what OEMS and carriers prefer.

    I never understood the basis for "support my devices for X time". Unless the OS has major issues or a security issue they don't owe you anything.

    Apple, RIM and now Microsoft have taken back control of OS updates and it would be wise for Google to do the same. OS updates (of any type) should not be managed by an OEM or wireless carrier. Google should also focus on a yearly update like Apple and commit all devices in the current year will be supported. This likely won't ever happen as Google doesn't control the OEM hardware and thus the issues with the whole Android model.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @MobileAdmin No, Google has taken charge of updating Android which as of ICS has a better UI then iOS, WM7 or any of the 3rd party bloatware these manufacturers put on top of Android ... the manufacturers need to figure out how to add value WITHOUT adding the bloat of UI enhancements that are bolted on and baked into whatever version of Android they ship. If they want to say ... develop TouchWiz or Sense .. MAKE these apps optional and downloadable. It's like saying HP can't ship Windows 8 because they haven't had timet to rewrite the whole interface. No one would stand for such stupid behavior. End of story.
      ben@...
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @MobileAdmin

      Wp7 is DEAD as KIN.

      Even Samsung Bada Outsells wp7
      Sultansulan
  • What happened to "Buyer Beware"?

    "Consumers deserve to get what they are promised".
    OK, no-one disagrees with that, but what exactly is the buyer of a mobile phone promised in terms of fault-fixing and upgrades? Possibly nothing in some cases.
    peter_erskine@...
    • RE: New Year's resolution for Google: Fix the Android update situation

      @peter_erskine@... If you buy a $50 paygo Android phone ... do you deserve 3 years of android updates? Or if one bought a $99 Droid Eris then one deserves 3 years of updates. I think not. I think that neither HP nor Dell will "push" Windows 7 to your Vista shipped PC and Apple will NOT push 10.7 to a Mac that shipped with 10.6 ... the software maker MAY give updates and security fixes for a while but that's it. People need to learn to upgrade their own devices just as they update their computers. ICS runs smooth on the Samsung S line ... 3 steps and it's updated. OMG! I didn't have the nanny controlled carrier/manufacturers "push" an update to it. HOLY crap. ALL this whining is just headache inducing.
      ben@...