Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2012 23:36 UTC
Google Forget patent trolling - Android's biggest weakness, and most daunting obstacle to overcome, is its complete and utter lack of updates. Motorola has detailed its upgrade plans for Ice Cream Sandwich - and it ain't good. If the company Google just bought can't even update its phones properly, what can we expect from the rest?
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ICS is a big change...
by yokem55 on Thu 16th Feb 2012 00:01 UTC
yokem55
Member since:
2005-07-06

For what it's worth, the jump from Gingerbread to ICS is a big change. Big api changes, big changes in the kernel with how the cameras and gpu & graphics stack work. Big changes in the the settings apps, the notification bar, etc.

The CM/AOSP folks are having a heck of a time getting devices brought up to snuff driver wise, and a lot of the extra features, functionality and tweaks they developed for GB have to be forward ported one by one. And their changes are pretty light weight.

The manufacturer's and carriers? Well, their problem is even larger. All the extra skinning, tweaks, extra apps, etc., all have to be either ported or heavily tested to make sure they work right under ICS.

Even Asus, who had the gold metal of Honeycomb updates for the original Transformer is having a hard time getting an ICS release fully stabilized and released.

I'm not saying that things couldn't be better run, they certainly can. But in this particular case, the level of change from GB to ICS is a big leap compared to previous upgrade iterations (Donut to Eclair, Eclair to Froyo, Froyo to Gingerbread) and additional time should be expected...

Reply Score: 6

RE: ICS is a big change...
by kragil on Thu 16th Feb 2012 00:12 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

100% agreed. AFAIK most vendors just got ICS when it was released and expecting your phone to get it in a few months is just very naive. Software change management is hard.
An upgrade from 2.3 to 4 is going to take a while. My guess is Q3.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

most vendors just got ICS when it was released


There's yer problem.

Reply Parent Score: 4

broken_symlink Member since:
2005-07-06

Also, it hasn't been 4 months. Its only been 3. According to wikipedia, the ics sdk was released october 19th, but the source for ics wasn't released until november 14th.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ICS is a big change...
by WorknMan on Thu 16th Feb 2012 01:08 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The manufacturer's and carriers? Well, their problem is even larger. All the extra skinning, tweaks, extra apps, etc., all have to be either ported or heavily tested to make sure they work right under ICS.


Or they could just leave out the bullshit bloatware and release ICS as stock.

Google could probably also help the situation by releasing beta versions a few months in advance like Apple does, so at least then everyone could get started coding earlier, instead of having to wait for the next Nexus phone to be released.

But because Google releases the source at the last minute, even having a Nexus phone kind of sucks, because not every app is compatible with the latest and greatest out of the box, and there's still some things that don't work. So, it's kind of like Linux in a way... just stick with your phone/distro of choice and enjoy some stability, or go with the latest and greatest and live with the growing pains ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: ICS is a big change...
by phoehne on Thu 16th Feb 2012 05:36 in reply to "RE: ICS is a big change..."
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

You know, I wish they would leave the crap ware off the device, but they don't, so this is the situation users are in. Makes you kind of feel like being third in a human centipede.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ICS is a big change...
by boxy on Thu 16th Feb 2012 04:22 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
boxy Member since:
2011-06-20

I have to agree that it is a big change. The Honeycomb release was very short-sighted and should really be considered an experiment.

I used a few different Honeycomb tablets demoed in Best Buy and they were always incredibly slow on graphics transitions. Of course, this doesn't mean the systems themselves were slow, but it certainly gave the appearance that they were. This was even more apparent when demoed side-by-side with the likes of the iPad which was arguably the impetus for the rushed Honeycomb release.

As was said, Google wanted to clean up/consolidate many parts of the system, and the ICS release was just the way to do that. In fact this was Google's justification for not releasing the source code for Honeycomb until ICS was complete - they didn't want anyone else trying to build Honeycomb because they knew it wasn't going to be maintainable.

However, I think that Google ultimately would've faired a lot better had they published all updates to the source in an experimental branch as it was being updated. They just needed to make it very clear that anyone basing their work on that branch risked their work being broken or abandoned by upstream changes.

Also, this would've let anyone track the changes as they were happening and keep continuous integration of their own products going based off the latest experimental branch source. If said organisation's software broke because of a change upstream, at least they'd know precisely which changes broke their software, so that they could have some idea of what caused it.

As it turned out, by dumping the finished product, Google certainly maintained strict control over how the final ICS product evolved (though they could've done that anyway albeit with a greater potential for negative - and positive - feedback along with way). However the price they paid was an almost certainly increased time to market of ICS builds/updates from manufacturers to support already existing hardware.

All that said the community has come out with some pretty compelling ICS releases so far. I personally switched to using the ics-evo-deck alpha 5 release for my EVO 4G sometime around the new year, primarily because I had heard amazing things about it increasing battery life (side note: it did - I went from 7 hours between charges to 2 days). Yes, it's somewhat rough around the edges (anything that uses the GPS ends up needing a Force Close) and there's no working 4g driver yet, but for me it was worth it.

Unfortunately for me, it appears that no more updates are going to come out for the ics-evo-deck image (apparently the author got tired of the 'kiddies' on the XDA forums complaining), so I'll have to make due until CM9 is finished for the Evo 4g (though they've said it might be difficult because of the graphics drivers).

So I guess my point is that, yes, I too wish I could get an official ICS release for my phone from the manufacturers (especially since I already know the hardware can handle it). Unfortunately, that's probably not going to happen for a very long time, if ever, because hardware manufacturers have little incentive to keep software current on old hardware. In their view, it means that less people will be buying new hardware, which probably has more than a few grains of truth to it. After all, ICS on the Evo 4g makes it "feel" like a new system, even though the hardware is already "old" by mobile phone standards.

I personally think this stance is ridiculous and just plain wasteful (since phones are difficult for consumers to re-purpose for other computing needs after their perceived end-of-life). But that's just my opinion. Yours probably differs.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: ICS is a big change...
by kaiwai on Thu 16th Feb 2012 06:02 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

For what it's worth, the jump from Gingerbread to ICS is a big change. Big api changes, big changes in the kernel with how the cameras and gpu & graphics stack work. Big changes in the the settings apps, the notification bar, etc.

The CM/AOSP folks are having a heck of a time getting devices brought up to snuff driver wise, and a lot of the extra features, functionality and tweaks they developed for GB have to be forward ported one by one. And their changes are pretty light weight.

The manufacturer's and carriers? Well, their problem is even larger. All the extra skinning, tweaks, extra apps, etc., all have to be either ported or heavily tested to make sure they work right under ICS.

Even Asus, who had the gold metal of Honeycomb updates for the original Transformer is having a hard time getting an ICS release fully stabilized and released.

I'm not saying that things couldn't be better run, they certainly can. But in this particular case, the level of change from GB to ICS is a big leap compared to previous upgrade iterations (Donut to Eclair, Eclair to Froyo, Froyo to Gingerbread) and additional time should be expected...


I'm going out on a limb here for a second but how about not include all that additional crap that isn't required; ICS is perfectly fine out of the box and doesn't require additional tweaking - port the drivers, compile the damn thing and provide it to end users via an internet enable win32 front end that bypasses carriers altogether.

Quite frankly it is the same crappy excuse that Samsung used to justify not bringing ICS to Samsung Galaxy S (apparently it doesn't have enough ROM space on the device) - could they provide a vanilla version of ICS for Galaxy without TouchWiz? sure they could but god forbid the end user seeing a phone without all their crapware preloaded onto it!

Sorry but once again we have phone companies selling their phones cheaper than Apple only to find that they don't have the resources at the other end of the equation, namely customer support, to adequately develop and support Android when future updates and upgrades arrive.

There is a reason why I advocate Windows Phone 7 and iPhone's but I guess people on this forum (I'm not directing this observation at you btw) will never learn in favour of believing that being an Android fanboy is 'sticking to the man'.

Edited 2012-02-16 06:22 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: ICS is a big change...
by _txf_ on Thu 16th Feb 2012 08:48 in reply to "RE: ICS is a big change..."
_txf_ Member since:
2008-03-17

There is a reason why I advocate Windows Phone 7 and iPhone's but I guess people on this forum (I'm not directing this observation at you btw) will never learn in favour of believing that being an Android fanboy is 'sticking to the man'.


To me as an engineer, it isn't about sticking to the man. It is about being interested in the device I use. WP7 and iOS are appliances, Android is what I consider to be an real operating system (guts exposed).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: ICS is a big change...
by r_a_trip on Thu 16th Feb 2012 11:07 in reply to "RE: ICS is a big change..."
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

There is a reason why I advocate Windows Phone 7 and iPhone's but I guess people on this forum [snip] will never learn in favour of believing that being an Android fanboy is 'sticking to the man'.

Wrong assumption. Why is using Android "sticking it to the man"? Google is "the man". Most techies using Android are choosing to use a phone that:

A.) Isn't locked out the wazoo.
B.) Works well with alternative systems.

Windows Phone 7? I might be wrong, but my guess it being an MS phone, it ties in heavily with Windows. I don't use Windows and I'm not planning to.

iPhone? I've experienced the activation process and it ties into iTunes. Which either requires Windows or Mac OS X. I have neither. So seems to be a no go too.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: ICS is a big change...
by DeadSuperHero on Thu 16th Feb 2012 11:05 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
DeadSuperHero Member since:
2010-11-03

"The CM/AOSP folks are having a heck of a time getting devices brought up to snuff driver wise"

You're partially right, but even the supposedly "unhackable" devices like the Droid X have a mostly-working ICS port for CM9 these days. Not everything works, but considering it's a community effort, the results have actually been really surprising. I think, if anything, CM is going to be very pivotal in breathing new life into Android phones that "aren't supported" for ICS.

You're definitely right about the API changes though. The amount of changes in ICS gives the impression that they reached a few years into the future and brought a phone platform back with them.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: ICS is a big change...
by Lennie on Thu 16th Feb 2012 13:45 in reply to "ICS is a big change..."
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Yep there is the real problem:

All the extra skinning, tweaks, extra apps, etc., all have to be either ported or heavily tested to make sure they work right under ICS.


And no or hardly any budget or dedicated time to work on it.

Reply Parent Score: 2