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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RE: ICS is a big change...
by boxy on Thu 16th Feb 2012 04:22 UTC 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.

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