Result of inconsistent Android updates: I no longer care

Result of inconsistent Android updates: I no longer care

Summary: After years of complaining about my Android devices not getting the latest updates, I realize I no longer care. I don't think that's what the Android folks intended.


Owning an Android device has always been the same when it comes to major OS updates. Whether the fault of OEMS or carriers, most device owners don't get major Android updates when they roll out. Heck, many don't get them at all.

(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

That's the situation I have with my two Android devices. I've owned them longer than most gadgets, and neither have the latest version of Android, aka KitKat. The inconsistent Android update situation has led me to realize I no longer care about them.

That's a serious realization as I am a gadget freak and a tech addict. Normally I want the latest and greatest technology which includes both hardware and software. I like knowing that my gear is state-of-the-art tech-wise. Except when it comes to Android.

The abysmal situation has led me to totally lose interest in Android updates, and whether or not I get them.

My lack of interest is a direct result of the way Android works. Most device owners don't get new versions of Android when they roll out, and many never get them at all. The only sure way to get the current version, which is now KitKat, is to buy a new device that ships with it.

That's not always a certainty as many new devices don't ship with the latest. It means buyers have to do a lot of homework just to make sure they get the current version of Android.

Sure you can root your device and put an unofficial version of Android on it, but that's not the way things should be. That means you lose any official updates that happen to roll out for your device, latest version of Android or not.

I've owned a lot of Android devices since the beginning, and I've rarely had the latest version of the OS on them. This situation has directly led me to not care anymore about them. It's no longer important to me to have the latest version, and that's not really what the OEMs nor Google should want. My lack of interest means I have no intention of buying a new Android device to replace my phone nor my tablet, just to have the latest OS.

I just keep on using my Galaxy Note 2 phone and my Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet, each with its old version of Android. I know I likely will never get KitKat for them, or if I do it will be after the next version comes out. Like most Android device owners, I will always be behind.

This has led me to totally lose interest in Android updates, and whether or not I get them. My lack of interest is why I couldn't tell you a single feature in KitKat, nor what is expected in the next update to come.

That is opposite how I feel about all the other platforms. I keep an eye on information about them and how improvements will help me. That's because on other platforms I know I will get the updates.

I look forward to OS updates on iOS and Windows 8 as I know I'll get better use out of my devices that run them. That's the way it should be, especially for a tech addict like me.

That's what makes my lack of interest in Android so significant. The Android system has killed my enthusiasm for future versions of the OS and what they might bring. I can't have them anyway so why should I care?

See related:

Topics: Mobility, Android, Smartphones, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I am the same

    I am a web site developer and ex senior computer techie so yes I am a geek. I have the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7" which is running Android 4.1.2. When I put on Google + about it someone posted you should jail break the tablet. My answer was what is the point? It does exactly what I want, and is fast??

    With regarding my other tech, My PC runs Windows 7 as I hate Windows 8, My Phone is a Nokia Lumia and I can't wait until the 'Black' update is on it.

    Android for me is let down by the device makers. I do have a friend who has the Nexus 5 and some of the features would be nice on the tablet. But I am not going to buy a new device just to get Google Now.
    Jack Geary
    • That's the problem Jack

      He never says why he needs these updates for Android, what it is he wants out of them, or anything.

      Sometimes, one could argue these gadgets are just the beard in this relationship for him.
      • Why do his reassons matter to you?

        Most people buy this type of tech with the expectation that it will be updated, within a reasonable time-frame, over a period of at least two years.

        I have three Android devices, two of which are quite new Samsung devices, and I am damn annoyed that all manufacturers are taking so long to send-out the updates to 4.4. It not acceptable and has certainly turn me off buying any further Android devices.
        • Most Geek, not most people

          Most people buy a smart phone for communication purpose, not because this is a type of tech. Unless the update can bring better call quality or better Facebook/Whatsapp performance, most people don't care about the update.
      • the expectation that updates have to come from vendors

        There is nothing stopping you.
        You can get it for your Android device from XDA or KIES or Samsung Check FUS database or any other source of factory/customised ROMS.
        It's not that hard.
        If you really want to, you can download the source code and compile any version of android for any device. Too hard? No worries, there are thousands of people who have already done it for you. All you have to do is load it onto your phone and try it.
        If you can't find a useful ROM, you are not trying.
        In this sense, Android allows unlimited updates and unlimited possibilities.
        Oh, but I shouldn't have to try to get updates?
        Fine, stick with vendor OSes and welcome to 2 years ago. Be content and blissfully ignorant.
        You will never get the source code to any other mobile OS. You have to rely entirely on the vendor. Good luck with that.
      • How many folk update IOS or Windows for a specific reason? Very Few

        Fact is everyone should keep their OS as up to date as possible for a whole multitude of reasons. Yes some apps/programs might fail after it but that says something about them. We all want the latest updates, or at least some.

        So for me....
        - Android phone? Not worth the hassle till it synchs seamlessly as one consistent android base app; gets updates; and manages to load apps with hitting a pathetic 16Gb warning (I had that with very few apps and all that could be put on the SD were already there)
        - Android Tablet? Still use my Asus tablet, especially on holiday/travel as I love my ports, access, and hdmi out. That said its way past getting updates; never had great battery management. Geting the right spec is getting more difficult now that some dont have slots, some dont have front cameras etc. I really couldnt say what I'd do next, but they all have the same crap synch issues. Why can't Android get something as simple as itunes functionality? Why does my Android tell me it wont synch books in case theres a DRM issue? Its just half baked but at least it plays most AV formats I throw at it.
    • 4.1.2 Has NOW

      You just have to look for it. That said, I disabled almost all of it because the default settings assume that you are a gourmand foodie, social media butterfly, reality show junky, and sports nut that never knows where they are or how to get home but want to know the latest flight schedules to foreign lands.

      Not the information I need and after many frustrating days of trying to get it to actually tell me what I need to know to do business, I disabled it.
    • When Google is tired of this hobby

      They will abandon it with hardly so much as a moments notice. Updates? when did they promise you that?
      • Sure they Are

        Yah, Google's as likely to abandon it as much as Microsoft is abandoning Windows Phone.
        • Google is doing the work, Samsung is making the profits

          There comes a time when FREE doesn't work... unless they have a backdoor ad revenue stream... well that wouldn't really be too surprising... but where is their ROI.
          • Samsung on hardware, Google on services

            Samsung makes money on selling hardware. Google makes money on every platform where you use Google services

          • Right. But when OEM's start stripping out the "Google services"

            what incentive will Google have to continue to work on Android for those OEMs?
          • You strip out Google Services and you got jack..

            Not going to happen. It cost to much and too hard for almost every company to do this. You don't realize how much services people depend on when using Android.

          • Google has and will again shutdown services ... many and often.

            Nick Baum, one of the original Reader product managers who’s no longer at Google, noted that in the early days of the product there were “several millions” of weekly active users.

            In a conversation this weekend, Baum said, ”My sense is, if it’s a consumer product at Google that’s not making money, unless it’s going to get to 100 million users it’s not worth doing.”

            Whether Google is hitting targets that are trackable back to an Android product will determine if Android remains in the fold or not. The more you pour into support the higher the return must be. Support being ... will it run on 2-3-4 or more year old devices or not... will the upgrade work or brick? if there's no expectation of or commitment for support then there's no commitment to keep it going.

            Like privacy, updates are not part of the contract nor is a future guaranteed.
          • Android is a defensive measure for Google

            If Android were primarily a "product" similar to reader, then this might be accurate as Google does indeed shut down underperforming services from time to time. The difference is that Android is a defensive measure by Google to prevent it from being cut/frozen out of the increasingly important mobile space. Were Android to not exist, then Google would be beholden to Apple (or whoever controls the mobile market) for allowing users easy access to Google services.

            If that happened, it'd quite likely turn into something where Apple (and/or others) would extort money from Google to keep it's services default/usable on the platform. Obviously that'd be a huge problem for Google, so they can't allow that to happen.

            In short, Android isn't going anywhere.
          • What are you talking about?

            Android has over a Billion installed devices according to Google! Now, those are likely not all still in circulation but, to assume that they're not at least at 100 Million Users is asinine and really show how little you know about this whole environment.

            You be wise to just stop talking, instead of making stupid arse claims that the #1 mobile OS is about to be abandoned because, it isn't going to happen psycho!
          • You guys are ignorant...

            This whole platform is a delivery system for Google's advertising business and it isn't likely to be dropped anytime soon! You think Google isn't making money by delivering ads and yet that's where they make the most of their money!
          • slickjim that's what I was talking about

            Google makes their money through search ads, ect. What happens if OEMs start replacing that with Yahoo, or Bing? Granted Google can just make deals with OEMs to keep supporting it as long as they keep Google as the search engine, but still, what's the bottom level they will go?
    • Lost interst

      personally, I've lost interest in Android as a result. I won't buy another Android device.

      That said, Apple abandoned my iPhone 3GS before its useful life was over. htc/Microsoft abandoned my Windows 7 handset...

      To be honest, the Lumias interest me, I like the UI, but I'd prefer a Nokia 6210. That was the best phone I ever had.
  • updates are nice but...

    maybe 1/100 users care about them. there's probably more people who hates them because their phones don't work the same after.