Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 8th May 2012 17:55 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless This is fun. The number one iOS carrier duking it out with the company behind the world's most popular smartphone operating system. Last month, Google's lead for the Android Open Source Project, Jean-Baptiste Queru, more or less blamed carriers (see comments) for Android's upgrade woes. Yesterday, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson retaliated, blaming Google for the delays. And yes, Google already responded to that, too.
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Excuses, excuses
by WorknMan on Tue 8th May 2012 18:31 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

You know, it's funny... while Google is busy whining and blaming the carriers as to why it can take 6 months or longer for Android phones to get updates, Apple doesn't seem to have this problem.

Of course, one can point out the obvious fact that Android has 9 million devices vs Apple's few, which is like Linux Evangelists blaming developers and vendors for lack of certain software and hardware drivers.

But in the end, all of this posturing and bullshit doesn't matter to end users like me. What DOES matter is results, and Google needs to find a way to FIX it. As it stands, the only Android phone I would ever consider is a Nexus, for this very reason. Apple has proven that it IS possible to work around the carrier issue, and they manage to ship without crapware all over their devices too.

Disclaimer: Before anybody labels me an Apple fanboy, I would like to point out that my phone is a Galaxy Nexus ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Excuses, excuses
by kwanbis on Tue 8th May 2012 20:11 in reply to "Excuses, excuses"
kwanbis Member since:
2005-07-06

What do you mean "apple few"? As far as i know, apple controls 30% of the smartphone market, while android controls 50%.

Obviously is apple vs samsung+htc+motorola+lg+whatever.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy S2 running AOSP 4.0.4. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: Excuses, excuses
by rjamorim on Tue 8th May 2012 20:14 in reply to "RE: Excuses, excuses"
rjamorim Member since:
2005-12-05

Few different models, obviously. That makes development much simpler.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Excuses, excuses
by Neolander on Wed 9th May 2012 00:09 in reply to "Excuses, excuses"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, as you point out yourself, Google have shown that the very strategy that Apple is using (focus on one phone per year) can work in the Android ecosystem, through the Nexus family of phones.

I'd like to see this happening to every Android phone out there too, but this would require a significant change in the way the ARM ecosystem works, so that OEMs don't have to work on updates on a per-phone basis as much as they do today. Right now, the fact that the Cyanogenmod team cannot provide equally good support for every device due to a lack of high-quality drivers and major differences between SOCs highlights the biggest problem of Android IMO.

An alternative option could be to use the "one single family of SOCs" approach of Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, but well... we can see how well it works in practice.

Edited 2012-05-09 00:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Excuses, excuses
by dragos.pop on Wed 9th May 2012 10:03 in reply to "RE: Excuses, excuses"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

While I do feel that some OEMs do create too many smartphones I don't believe this is the real problem.

The problems phone manufactures have are in theory:
1) Too many different hardware components between phones (different SOCs, cameras, GPS chips....)
2) Customisation

But this have solutions already implemented (in PC word)
1) Drivers provided by component manufactures - this means once a phone with a chip gets an update, all phones have access to that. So drivers needs to be modified only for exotic components, very custom to a phone, like camera. This code is generic enough anyway, only small adaptations need to be made when an upgrade is available.
Complex components like SOC and GPS are shared anyway.

2) I don't really understand the problem here. I use Go Launcher EX and there are a lot of other launchers that update really fast to new android releases.
And they work on a lot of phones. So why is so problematic with producer customizations?

You (Samsung,Htc,Sony...) have to do the modifications anyway for the new phone, what is the problem to port them to other (older) phones.

Now there is still a problem: just because it is easy to make the drivers and the customizations portable (PC proved it), it is not 100% reliable (also PC proved it). For this test are important.

Now I am sure that if I thought of this, the phone producers also did so I think the real problem is the testing part and interests. From experience a nokia phone (not smart) bought free got updates, while under contract didn't (only small customizations, like default settings were made carrier.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Excuses, excuses
by phoehne on Thu 10th May 2012 11:29 in reply to "RE: Excuses, excuses"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

See my comment above for a phone specific analysis, but what you're suggesting won't work. The economic model is called 'monopolistic competition.' The phones are slightly different, but 95% the same, like laundry detergent. If you walk down a laundry detergent aisle you see "new improved" on several products with very minor differences in formulation or packaging. If you like, it's the physics of the market and the manufacturer that didn't come out with a model every few months would be seen as "stale" by the market. They would only lose market share.

Reply Parent Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

My Nexus got the OS update the day it was available from Google.. how long after that did non-Nexus devices start getting ICS 4.0.4?

But hey, if believing the vendor/carier posturing helps you sleep at night.. don't let facts get in the way

Reply Parent Score: 3

Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09

Sure, I would not expect Google to be able to pull a MS that is able to manage putting enough drivers and other binary blobs ;) on the installation medium of choice to allow almost any user to take that CD/DVD and install it on the vast majority of PC or Notebooks out there and update straight from Windows Update from there on...

Reply Parent Score: 2

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

My Nexus got the OS update the day it was available from Google.. how long after that did non-Nexus devices start getting ICS 4.0.4?

But hey, if believing the vendor/carier posturing helps you sleep at night.. don't let facts get in the way.


Oh, I'm not saying that it isn't the carriers' fault - I'm saying I don't give a shit who's fault it is. If Google can only manage to get one brand of phone updated in a timely manner, then that phone is the only Android phone that should be released. There is absolutely no valid excuse as to why customers should have to wait months for new updates, esp when their phones are nearly identical hardware-wise to people who already got the update.

Of course, considering that I had to wait to get the 4.04 update on my Verizon Galaxy Nexus, it appears that Google can't even get that right on their own phone. In this respect, they're still lagging behind Apple.

In regard to the delay issues, it probably wouldn't hurt if Google started releasing beta builds of new versions of Android months in advance like Apple does with iOS, instead of waiting until their latest Nexus phone is released. That would at least give vendors a few months to start testing new builds with current phones.

Reply Parent Score: 3