Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 5th Dec 2013 09:51 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

About 2 years back, I read this article on Michael Degusta's personal blog. It was a revelation. Michael ripped the Android ecosystem apart with a simple chart. The chart converted me from an Android user to an iPhone user. I hope this chart helps other folks make an informed decision when their next smartphone upgrade is due.

Charts like this do great in certain areas of the web, but it's too simplistic. First, it does not take into account that many core aspects of Android are updated through Google Play, such as Chrome, Gmail, Maps, the keyboard, and so on. Whereas iOS needs an entire update to fix a small bug in, say, Maps - Android does not. Many core parts that require an entire OS update for iOS are updated weekly on Android.

Second, it does not mention that even though older iPhone models get the latest version of iOS, some functionality of these latest versions is disabled due to marketing, and in some cases due to hardware constraints (if you were to believe Apple, that is).

Third and foremost, though: I'm betting each and every one of those devices has at least an Android 4.2 or 4.3 release (and some have 4.4 too, like my Find 5) from, for instance, CyanogenMod - and countless other ROM makers. Installing a custom ROM is one of the strengths of Android, and not nearly as hard or difficult as some make it out to be. If your iPhone becomes unsupported or really slow due to iOS7 - you're screwed. You have no other options. If Samsung's TouchWiz crap makes your Galaxy slow, run out and get a quality phone install a custom ROM.

I see this all the time: people ignoring core strengths of Android because they don't understand them or because they don't belong to their interests - "this is just for nerds and geeks, so it's irrelevant!" Take discussions about application on iOS and Android, for instance; those arguing in favour of iOS routinely ignore that Android has access to types of applications iOS users could only dream of. If you leave those out, it's easy to make Android's application offering look weaker. The same happens when looking at Android and updates.

All this doesn't negate the fact that updates are by far Android's weakest link, although not nearly as much of an issue as it used to be during the gingerbread days. Moving more and more parts of Android to Play will eventually all but solve the issue completely.

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Does it matter ?
by Treza on Thu 5th Dec 2013 21:02 UTC
Member since:

My Nexus7/2012 got updated recently to KitKat and I do not see much worthy enhancements.
There were actually regressions, like the Google localisation tracking, and details like the whitening of some UI elements or the terrible new alarm clock, or an app which was incompatible (finally updated yesterday).

People used XP for 10 years, without complaining, now that Google apps are updated independantly, I am not sure lack of OS updates really matters.

Android is becoming like iOS, minuscule enhancements to avoid disturbing current users.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Does it matter ?
by olejon on Fri 6th Dec 2013 05:35 in reply to "Does it matter ?"
olejon Member since:

People used XP for 10 years, without complaining, now that Google apps are updated independantly, I am not sure lack of OS updates really matters.

XP came out in 2001, and is still widely used, so that is 12 years, but during those 12 years XP has gotten security updates and bug fixes on a montly basis. Mobile OS' stop getting security updates as soon as a newer version of that OS is available, with some devices always being left behind, in some cases with huge security holes. That's a huge difference between desktop and mobile OS' that needs to be fixed.

The fact that Google can update many of the Android apps through Play Store is great (getting updates to Google apps on a weekly basis, much more exciting than my iPad that way...), but it doesn't help an Android 4.1 user if a security hole is found in the core OS itself, let's say in the way the OS handles SMS, calls or mobile hotspots.

Lack of OS updates will always be a security problem.

Edited 2013-12-06 05:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2