Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 9th Aug 2016 22:38 UTC
Android

It's time for a new version of Android, and that means I also get to make my yearly predictions about updates. Fun times!

Now, to be sure, unless a manufacturer has already committed to updating an existing phone, these are simply (mostly) educated guesses. We base them on a company's track record, the capabilities of the phone itself, and the number of phones a company makes. It's sort of like a blogger version of reading tea leaves and calling the bookmakers. And it's fun. Even when we get it wrong it's fun.

Since we're here because we are interested in Android, and most of us like to have a little fun, let's jump right in and answer the million dollar question - will my phone get updated to Android 7 Nougat?

These articles are depressing.

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Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Tue 9th Aug 2016 22:50 UTC
kurkosdr
Member since:
2011-04-11

These articles are depressing.


No they are not. For the billionth time: No Android manufacturer has an obligation (moral or otherwise) to upgrade anything to the latest version. The Android ROM your phone runs, although partially based on open-source code, is actually a proprietary piece of software whose vendor has no obligation to upgrade it to "Nougat" or anything else.

And anyone who wants the newest version for as long as possible has already bought a Nexus (I did). But again, your Nexus Official ROM is a proprietary piece of software and the vendor (whoever it is) has no obligation to upgrade it beyond what has been promised to you, the customer.

The real problem is the lack of security patches for old Android versions. IMO everyone who sells an unpatched, security-holed Android device should be held liable for selling a defective product. That's the thing you should be demanding Thom, not unrealistic upgrades to Nougat or whatever. In fact, when Android javascript exploits inevitably become a serious problem, I expect Google to do something about all those old Android versions, instead of looking the other way around, if they don't want their OS to get the same reputation as IE6 (although the reason IE6 became a security problem was the fault of users turning off windows update despite the warnings).

PS: I actually like Microsoft's model, having an OEM-independent update/patching mechanism and not letting OEMs mess with it, and then just drop the security patches to everyone. Also, I think we should give credit to Microsoft for establishing strict compatibility requirements early on, requiring "100% PC compatible" and not letting OEMs mess with the core OS since the very early versions. Right?

Edited 2016-08-09 22:57 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by WorknMan on Wed 10th Aug 2016 03:32 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13


And anyone who wants the newest version for as long as possible has already bought a Nexus (I did).


Yup, which means there are one or two Android phones a year that are actually relevant for people who give a damn about software support, and anyone who wants a smaller flagship (the Nexus 5x is mid-range at best) is basically stuck choosing between iPhone, iPhone, and iPhone.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by zdzichu on Wed 10th Aug 2016 07:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
zdzichu Member since:
2006-11-07

No when the manufacturer "promises" upgrades and then do not deliver. This is depressing.
My Moto G2 will not receive update, and it's not even 2 years old.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by r00kie on Wed 10th Aug 2016 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
r00kie Member since:
2009-12-10

I am on the same boat as you. It would be nice to keep receiving updates to newer android versions but they never really promised that. In fact android 6 removed or limited useful functionality - read and write access to files on a usb flash drive (very useful to backup photos taken with a proper camera while traveling).

What really irks me is that there have been no security updates and each month there are news about serious security flaws being corrected. What irks me even more is that in the particular case of the moto g2 motorola/lenovo actually broke functionality, in their minuscule wisdom they have decided to swap the left and right channels in the headphone jack - great QA they must have there. I'm sure there are other small annoyances that by now they are very well aware of but can't be bothered to correct.

They should be required by law to provide fixes and security updates at least a full two years after they have sold the last device (speaking from europe where warranties last for two years).

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by grahamtriggs on Wed 10th Aug 2016 08:23 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
grahamtriggs Member since:
2009-05-27

And providing security patches on an ongoing basis is easier if the OS is upgraded to the latest release.

I agree about the Microsoft model. Android has modularised the components to a degree that OEMs shouldn't need to mess with the OS - provide a new launcher, keyboard, etc. if you want, but distribute via the Play store.

Leave OS upgrades to Google, OEMs only need to certify drivers and their own apps. Upgrades can then roll out automatically providing there are no hardware / software incompatibilities, and this whole issue of manufacturers updating their phones goes away.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by segedunum on Wed 10th Aug 2016 13:27 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

For the billionth time: No Android manufacturer has an obligation (moral or otherwise) to upgrade anything to the latest version.

When you are leaving users on systems you know to be insecure that are barely two years old then yes, they do have an obligation.

This is why the whole 'Internet of Things' nonsense causes so much concern. When you sell a device you have made an obligation, whether you know it or not, to update them come hell or high water for years to come.

So for the quadrillionth time, yes they f--king do.

Edited 2016-08-10 13:27 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by darknexus on Wed 10th Aug 2016 14:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

So for the quadrillionth time, yes they f--king do.


I think you meant they should. At the moment, whether they should or not, they have no obligation to update your device whatsoever. That's an undeniable fact. Whether they should have such an obligation is the question. I think it falls somewhere in the middle; it's unreasonable to expect OEMs to constantly update old devices, but I do think there should be a required time frame in which security updates at the very least are absolutely required. The two year warranty sounds about right to me.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Wed 10th Aug 2016 14:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by kurkosdr"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11


When you are leaving users on systems you know to be insecure that are barely two years old then yes, they do have an obligation.

So for the quadrillionth time, yes they f--king do.


It seems to me you have confused security updates with upgrades.

When geeks like Thom whine about "Nougat" finding its way to existing devices, by definition they mean upgrades, not security updates.

Whining for free upgrades for proprietary software is a fool's errand, you should instead be whining for security updates.

Edited 2016-08-10 14:43 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr
by laffer1 on Thu 11th Aug 2016 01:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by kurkosdr"
laffer1 Member since:
2007-11-09

You are technically correct, but I think the problem is that android is often compared with iOS. Apple does give out free upgrades to new OS versions during the life of a device. Apple users get new, shiny features and performance hits with each update!

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by kurkosdr
by meme on Fri 12th Aug 2016 10:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by kurkosdr"
meme Member since:
2006-04-03

Apple users do not get new, shiny features with OS updates. Just because the new iOS does support new features does not mean that the same iOS version for their older device supports that too.

Apple users get API bump, new GUI designs, some updated apps and slower devices. With no way to downgrade.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Artopal
by Artopal on Wed 10th Aug 2016 01:06 UTC
Artopal
Member since:
2010-05-12

They're just depressing if you get depressed by first world problems.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Artopal
by judgen on Wed 10th Aug 2016 02:41 UTC in reply to "Comment by Artopal"
judgen Member since:
2006-07-12

What does being part of NATO has to do with anything in this context? (1st world=NATO, allies and puppets. 2nd world is former warsaw pact+china with allies and puppets and 3rd world is everyone else, or NaN/Non alligned countries/non-alligned movement as defined by Nasser and Suharto wchich includes for example Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Indonesia, Gabon and so on)

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Comment by Artopal
by amrothery on Wed 10th Aug 2016 03:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Artopal"
amrothery Member since:
2011-08-26

"First world problems" is a shorthand way to dismiss someone's complaints about something that bothers them, because other people elsewhere have things much worse.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Artopal
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 11th Aug 2016 15:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Artopal"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, yes, it can be used dismissively, but it can also be useful when people are hyperventilating about a relatively minor issue. Like Joel vs Mike. or Vim vs Emacs.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by Artopal
by joekiser on Wed 10th Aug 2016 12:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Artopal"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

Bruh, it's just a phrase:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/oct/02/why-phrase-first-world...

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/11/whats-wrong-w...

Really, I could care less, but I think it's uber ironic that people who use the phrase #firstworldproblems don't pacifically know what the first world is. Irregardless, for all intensive purposes, the original meaning has fallen by the waste side.

Reply Score: 3

Nope
by Soulbender on Wed 10th Aug 2016 02:13 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

will my phone get updated to Android 7 Nougat


Mine won't and, just like most people, I don't care.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Nope
by Troels on Wed 10th Aug 2016 07:06 UTC in reply to "Nope"
Troels Member since:
2005-07-11

"will my phone get updated to Android 7 Nougat


Mine won't and, just like most people, I don't care.
"

Mine will, but i still don't care.

I kinda wish they would start releasing new versions every 2-3 years instead because then MAYBE the updates would start mattering again. But seriously, today they contain so little improvements that you could give me a kitkat device and i would be happy, everything important is received as updates from the play store anyway.

And this is the reason i bought a Samsung flagship device instead of a nexus device, only the hardware really matters.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Nope
by ahferroin7 on Wed 10th Aug 2016 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Nope"
ahferroin7 Member since:
2015-10-30

From the perspective of an end user with little to no knowledge of how these things actually work internally, yes they don't matter. From the perspective of someone who cares about security, they really do.

Not many people realize this, but a significant percentage of the security features that have been added to the Linux Kernel recently have in some way involved either ChromeOS or Android (or Brillo, but almost nobody seems to know what that is). Android 5 and 6 provided improved security relative to their predecessors, and it's looking like 7 will too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Nope
by moondevil on Wed 10th Aug 2016 15:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Nope"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Here are some Brillo related presentations at ELC 2016, apparently Google is still quite quiet on their own Brillo website.

http://elinux.org/ELC_2016_Presentations

Basically Android without Java (might change in the future), with its own IPC mechanisms instead of UNIX IPC.

There is also the possibility that they will eventually have a minimal set of C++ Frameworks similar to the Java ones.

Reply Score: 2

Lenovo
by nicubunu on Wed 10th Aug 2016 06:45 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

My phone probably won't get it, and if even this may happen somewhere in late 2017 and there is potential to be more like a downgrade than an upgrade (introducing issues and missing features). But it is a ~150$ Lenovo, so I won't cry much about that.

Reply Score: 3

alternative roms
by Risthel on Wed 10th Aug 2016 11:52 UTC
Risthel
Member since:
2010-12-22

That's why whenever I change my Android phone(one each 3,5 years) I try to get one that i will have the chance to use an alternative firmware(Cyanogen, DU, PAC, ParanoidAndroid) even if it's not "official" alternative...

But again, the "average" user at my country don't even know the version of Android running, so far this user can install WhatsApp and FB apps it's ok.

Reply Score: 3

simple solution
by unclefester on Thu 11th Aug 2016 03:51 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Just buy a cheap prepaid phone every 12-18 months and stop complaining.

Reply Score: 5

Comment by Sidux
by Sidux on Thu 11th Aug 2016 08:38 UTC
Sidux
Member since:
2015-03-10

Google's business is keeping their user base in their own services.
Apple and Microsoft's business is to also sell their devices and support them on the long run.
OEM's business is to sell new devices and cover the market needs as much as they can.
Expecting Google to spend budget on hadrware that it does not control or OEM's to update software when they could just sell you a new product is nice on paper but not very legible budget wise.
Do users care about this? Apparently not, considering how well Google is doing these days. This will come soon to the "desktop" market as well.
Cheep devices with "ok-ish" functionality and you have a happy market supporting you to the end.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by SaschaW
by SaschaW on Thu 11th Aug 2016 13:16 UTC
SaschaW
Member since:
2007-07-19

I think most people don't care. I look at Android phones more like PCs. Most people get a new Windows when they buy a new one, and stir to what was pre-installed at time of purchase.

Reply Score: 1