Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 29th Jun 2012 20:50 UTC, submitted by fran
Google "Google is making another attempt to fix the Android update problem at the Google I/O conference. The plan is to give smartphone, tablet and chip manufacturers earlier opportunities to adapt their current and new hardware to forthcoming Android versions. Google said that it hopes that this will allow users to receive their updates faster. To achieve this, Android executive Hugo Barra announced a 'Platform Development Kit'." I have my doubts.
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PDK
by 0brad0 on Fri 29th Jun 2012 21:01 UTC
0brad0
Member since:
2007-05-05

Although this is a step forward and having earlier access to be able to develop device drivers or porting/updating pre-existing device drivers helps it is not enough and I doubt this will help enough especially with "older" devices using Android. The device drivers need to be apart of the OS just like any other OS.

Reply Score: 2

Nice but ...
by demosthenese on Fri 29th Jun 2012 21:05 UTC
demosthenese
Member since:
2011-02-01

Do the manufacturers really want updates that reduce your incentive to buy the latest shiny shiny?

Reply Score: 6

RE: Nice but ...
by steampoweredlawn on Fri 29th Jun 2012 21:40 UTC in reply to "Nice but ..."
steampoweredlawn Member since:
2006-09-27

They could just pull an HTC and cripple it with an extra-heavy skin that makes the new version look and work like the old. Then the new one still looks shiny and enticing.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nice but ...
by 0brad0 on Fri 29th Jun 2012 21:52 UTC in reply to "Nice but ..."
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

Do the manufacturers really want updates that reduce your incentive to buy the latest shiny shiny?


Without updates it drives customers away and not want the new shiny shiny.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nice but ...
by WorknMan on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice but ..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Without updates it drives customers away and not want the new shiny shiny.


Exactly. When it comes to Android phones, I am pretty much Nexus-only, for this very reason. Hell, I can already get Jellybean for my Galaxy Nexus. I haven't updated yet, but a couple of my friends have.

If the other vendors want to skin the hell out of their phones and the carriers fill them up with bloatware, they can sell their phones exclusively to those who care more about how the phone looks than how it functions.. Either give me the option to run stock Android, or kiss my ass.

When it comes to tablets, it's mostly the same story, but Asus is pretty quick with their updates, and they're pretty close to stock anyway, so I tolerate them.

Edited 2012-06-29 22:07 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nice but ...
by Nelson on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice but ..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

The Nexus S took months to get ICS. The "Nexus" branding is no guarantee.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice but ...
by Fergy on Sat 30th Jun 2012 05:30 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice but ..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

The Nexus S took months to get ICS. The "Nexus" branding is no guarantee.

I read 6 weeks.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Nice but ...
by Nelson on Sat 30th Jun 2012 22:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Nice but ..."
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

You're wrong.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice but ...
by WorknMan on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice but ..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The Nexus S took months to get ICS. The "Nexus" branding is no guarantee.


True. For us Verizon Galaxy Nexus users, it'll probably be 2013 before we get an 'official Jellybean update, but once Google releases the build to GSM phones, hackers will have it ported in no time ;) Don't wanna unlock your bootloader? Then go buy an iPhone. Nothin' wrong with that.

Edited 2012-07-02 01:03 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nice but ...
by broken_symlink on Sat 30th Jun 2012 02:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Nice but ..."
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that for the general population of people using android who don't know any better don't really care. I'm talking about people like my brother and friends, for who android was their first smartphone. They are all happily running 2.3 or 2.2 completely oblivious of the fact that ICS even exists. Heck, my brother thought he was getting all the updates because the google play store keeps installing "updates". Honestly, outside of the people who visit osnews, the general population just doesn't care.

Edited 2012-06-30 02:22 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Nice but ...
by 0brad0 on Sat 30th Jun 2012 03:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nice but ..."
0brad0 Member since:
2007-05-05

Except that for the general population of people using android who don't know any better don't really care. I'm talking about people like my brother and friends, for who android was their first smartphone. They are all happily running 2.3 or 2.2 completely oblivious of the fact that ICS even exists. Heck, my brother thought he was getting all the updates because the google play store keeps installing "updates". Honestly, outside of the people who visit osnews, the general population just doesn't care.


A lot more users than just OSNews users feel this way about updates. Also what you've said is irrelevant since said users are NOT going to rush out and buy new shiny shiny hardware anyway.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Nice but ...
by broken_symlink on Sat 30th Jun 2012 03:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Nice but ..."
broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

What I'm saying is that the lack of updates isn't going to drive customers away, because a lot of customers don't know they aren't getting updates in the first place. My brother and all my friends using 2.3 and 2.2 are perfectly happy with their HTCs, Droids, Galaxies, and what not, and by the time their two year contract is up, many of them will be using phones running the same os it had the day they opened the box two years ago. Whats to stop them from buying a new phone from the same company when they are up for renewal, when they had a good experience in the past and are oblivious to the fact that they weren't getting something that they should have been, ie updates?

Even my parents, who both have iphones and ipads, don't know and don't care that they aren't running the latest version of iOS, and they are both perfectly happy with their devices.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Nice but ...
by unoengborg on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 22:59 UTC in reply to "Nice but ..."
unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

Do the manufacturers really want updates that reduce your incentive to buy the latest shiny shiny?



Apple provide fast updates for their phones, and they still have no problem selling the latest shiny shiny. In fact I would say the upgradeability of iOS devices are one of the main reasons people buy them. If Apple can do it, so can Samsung, LG and others.

Reply Score: 2

rklrkl
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a classic issue that mobile operators want to support each new model of Android phone for as short a time as possible. Part of this is cost, but the ludicrous number of Android models they release per year (HTC anyone? Surely the worst offender here) doesn't help either.

With an enormous number of barely-different models in their range, the easiest way to cut support costs is to only selectively upgrade a few models in a timely fashion and leave the others on a dog slow timetable or not upgrade at all.

I think Google is missing a trick here - the fastest way to get upgrades to end-users is surely to ship a virtually unmodified (apart from maybe a custom boot screen and custom background image/live wallpaper) Android release?

However, foolish mobile operators think that layering on their own custom UI with a trowel improves things - maybe Google should incentivise them to not do that? E.g. Pay each mobile operator a big bonus if they ship as close to a vanilla Android as possible (the closer they get, the bigger the bonus)?

It's a win-win for the mobile operators - they have to do less work for each upgrade, they get money from Google for the less work and they get the near-vanilla release out quicker to the public, which in turn encourages earlier/faster sales = profit.

Oh and Google should enforce a rule that if any device is released with a new authorised Android version (call that V+1), then all future new Android models from any company must ship with either version V or V+1. The fact that we're still seeing brand new Android 2.3.X models being released just as 4.1 is coming out really gets my goat.

Edited 2012-06-29 22:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Oh and Google should enforce a rule that if any device is released with a new authorised Android version (call that V+1), then all future new Android models from any company must ship with either version V or V+1. The fact that we're still seeing brand new Android 2.3.X models being released just as 4.1 is coming out really gets my goat.

There should be only 1 simple rule from Google: Give each phone the option of running vanilla or chocolate fudge with sprinkles and salt at boot.

Reply Score: 2

This is what happens
by Nelson on Fri 29th Jun 2012 22:27 UTC
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

When you let OEMs and Carriers have free reign over the platform.

Google sold its soul for Android dominance. This is just the pains of that blood pact.

One day we'll realize that these people are the enemies and stop letting the wolves into the hen house.

I'd expect Google, of all companies (even moreso than Apple) to be actively trying to give at least Carriers the go around and bypass the middle man. Nexus was a nice try, try again.

Reply Score: 2

RE: This is what happens
by Johann Chua on Sat 30th Jun 2012 07:00 UTC in reply to "This is what happens"
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

Google had a soul?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This is what happens
by Delgarde on Sun 1st Jul 2012 23:31 UTC in reply to "RE: This is what happens"
Delgarde Member since:
2008-08-19

Of course. Doesn't everyone know that corporations have souls? Why else would there be laws treating them as people?

Reply Score: 2

"Skins" are not the root of all evil
by ins0mniac on Fri 29th Jun 2012 23:26 UTC
ins0mniac
Member since:
2008-10-01

I see people bashing around the "skins" manufacturers add over standard Android. For me Sense is the reason I had almost only HTC phones since the WM times. I did actually try a Nexus S last year but I hated it and after not even a month I've got the Sensation. At some point I installed a "Senseless" ROM for the promise of a snappier phone, but again I couldn't stand it for more than a day. Maybe a lot of people think Sense is just an oversized clock with a weather widget, but it actually has the best contacts & dialer application I've seen on any phone and It also has full support for my language. There are other things as well, but those are the most important for me and I am willing to wait a couple of months or more for an update, but the cool thing is that I don't actually have to as the guys at XDA usually port new versions in a matter of weeks.
Sure, Sense adds some bloatware and that's why the first thing I do when I get a new phone is to install a custom ROM which is cleaned and optimized, without removing any useful functions.

Reply Score: 1

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

This, my friends, is what is known as Technology Stockholm Syndrome.

Reply Score: 1

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

This, my friends, is called a person that has issues with other people's preferences.

Reply Score: 5

Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

I get called a fanboy, but you defend HTC Sense? Okay, just providing a little context here.

HTC, almost more than any other OEM, should never, ever try to do software.

It is wildly amazing that people continue to settle for less.

Reply Score: 2

JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

I get called a fanboy, but you defend HTC Sense?

I'm not defending it. In fact I think that Sense 4 is worse than TouchWiz Nature(or whatever it's called)

Reply Score: 2

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

There were/are nice extra functions in Sense. I just wish they could provide those extra functions in single apps without weird skins.

Reply Score: 2

Re:
by kurkosdr on Sat 30th Jun 2012 11:20 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

"The Nexus S took months to get ICS. The "Nexus" branding is no guarantee. "

Exactly. Without a defined architecture (aka not "any ARM SoC will do") and a stable ABI, the upgrade mess isn't really going to be resolved.

As i 've said before, I am an Android fan, but the mess with upgrades even on Nexus models makes me appreaciate the effort MS has put into defining architectures, kernel archtectures and keeping ABIs stable for 6 years at least.

Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; U; Android 2.2.2; el-gr; LG-P990 Build/FRG83G) AppleWebKit/533.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile Safari/533.1 MMS/LG-Android-MMS-V1.0/1.2

Reply Score: 2

RE: Re:
by Nelson on Sat 30th Jun 2012 22:20 UTC in reply to "Re:"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

Be careful. This is OSNews where dissent is severely downvoted.

Reply Score: 2

Step One:
by crhylove on Sun 1st Jul 2012 07:38 UTC
crhylove
Member since:
2010-04-10

1. Demand open drivers.

Step 2. Cyanogenmod, KANG, Literally dozens of options for consumers.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Step One:
by crhylove on Sun 1st Jul 2012 07:44 UTC in reply to "Step One:"
crhylove Member since:
2010-04-10

Of course that would never work though, since then last year's product would more openly compete with this years product, since the hardware doesn't improve as quickly as the software does.

Picture this:

Truly open software and hardware on platforms that are flexible with VM technology. Game over.

Reply Score: 1

Right move but way too late.
by dsmogor on Sun 1st Jul 2012 21:38 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

They mustn't treat their platform seriously not to announce such a deal in 1.6 times.
This action will be as effective as retirement bills to country budget: only in next generation.
Android is still growing, but how long?

Reply Score: 2

And more is needed.
by dsmogor on Sun 1st Jul 2012 21:45 UTC in reply to "Right move but way too late."
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Google should accept the fact that skins do and will exist and instead of producing useless gimmicks such as face unlock, focus on working out stable api to support both OEM and carrier customization while making the core *separately* upgradeable. Effect: stable, easily upgradeable products.
They are not consumer product company and should focus on what makes Android strong (app api, core services, google apps) while fixing stuff where it's weak (UI performance, modularity).

As for HW variances, they should work with both OEMS and carriers to cluster the whole hw zoo into several manageable chunks (say, around soc baseline platforms) that function identically on lowest level, and push exactly the same kernels to carrier validation for each of them. The point is, it's really not a carrier job to validate, say a camera, LCD or accelerometer so why should it increase overall phone variation?

Edited 2012-07-01 21:53 UTC

Reply Score: 2

My tiny hope
by dsmogor on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 06:37 UTC
dsmogor
Member since:
2005-09-01

is that one of the smaller but ambitious OEMS (Sony, I'm talking to you) will see the opportunity to warm in the Google IO sunlight and implement a policy of announcing availability of updates just after next Android releases. Getting the message their phones are as good as Nexus devices in that regard may mean benefits worth the effort.

Reply Score: 2