Common scenario: Android device gets updated, problems ensue

It is far too common for a major Android update to get pushed out to device owners, only to cause significant problems. Google needs to get a handle on the Android update process.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

It seems like every day brings news that some Android device gets a major update. That's a good thing, as a common complaint about Android is the fragmentation that exists from devices not getting updates. Unfortunately, even getting an Android update is often not a bed of roses, as owners quickly find out the problems are just beginning.

Android smartphones and tablets are complex devices, and the platform is also complex. That's the price of a rounded OS, mobile or otherwise. Android must be more complex than other platforms, as it has become commonplace to hear of one device or another developing major problems after receiving an Android system update. It's as if there is no process in place to make sure updates are good before pushing them out to the masses.

Big updates of any system can create problems, that is not the issue. The issue is how often we hear of an update making it to the public, and having major device failures as a result. A recent example is the Ice Cream Sandwich update for the ASUS Transformer Prime. Owners are now reporting that since updating the tablet it has a habit of locking up. Not just a little glitch, the devices are locking up totally.

ASUS has acknowledged the problem, and that a fix for the problems caused by the update will be out in February. Until then owners just have to put up with the freezes, and keep rebooting the devices. ASUS has some smart folks dealing with this stuff, yet even this problem made it past the QA process.

Since this is not an isolated case, it clearly demonstrates a problem with Android updates in general. Either the OS is too complex to get it right the first time, or worse there is nobody at Google with oversight of the update process. It shouldn't be the norm that Android updates that cause major operational problems routinely get pushed out to the masses. Google needs to be helping OEMs to prevent this from happening over and over. This has to change.

Related posts:

Editorial standards