How to fix the Android update mess: Paid updates

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.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

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

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