Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 18th Jan 2014 20:00 UTC
Google

To be sure, it's no magic solution to the gargantuan task of moving the entire Android ecosystem forward. And the update situation for non-flagship devices remains something of a crapshoot. But it's a start, and a big step in the right direction. And as we move from Jelly Bean into the KitKat era, it's enough to give us some hope for the future of Android updates.

Read on to find out why.

Still Android's biggest weakness. Baby steps are made, but a solution there is not.

Thread beginning with comment 580991
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: This shouldn't be a problem
by moondevil on Sat 18th Jan 2014 23:33 UTC in reply to "This shouldn't be a problem"
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

Android is pretty modular, the problem is called diferentiation.

OEMs want to make their offering feel distinct, as they have been doing since the dawn of computing.

Carriers prefer to offer you a new handset against a contract renewal than free OS updates.

Any other OS will suffer from the same issues. Carriers won't let anyone else play an Apple move on them.

Reply Parent Score: 4

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

Push an OTA update that leaves /system mounted read/write and that problem solves itself.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Luminair Member since:
2007-03-30

It's a good point that companies don't care if your phone gets updated, as long as you keep buying cell phone service and new phones.

Reply Parent Score: 6

BenGildenstein Member since:
2013-09-20

It's a good point that companies don't care if your phone gets updated, as long as you keep buying cell phone service and new phones.


Then it's a good thing that Google (who most certainly does care about devices being updated) is in control of the Android OS.

Reply Parent Score: 2

BenGildenstein Member since:
2013-09-20

Android is pretty modular, the problem is called diferentiation.

OEMs want to make their offering feel distinct, as they have been doing since the dawn of computing.

Carriers prefer to offer you a new handset against a contract renewal than free OS updates.

Any other OS will suffer from the same issues. Carriers won't let anyone else play an Apple move on them.


I disagree..

Simply put, the idea that carrier/OEM differentiation prevents updating ignores that Google states the terms of what can and cannot be done in the terms of an Android license with Play services. They would only have to state that certain libraries/modules would have to remain untouchable (just like Play applications). It's entirely possible to have a skinnable UI, custom applications/launchers, custom backgrounded services, unique windowing display system, and device specific kernel modules/drivers and STILL allow the core OS to be updated modularly directly from Google.

In short, there's no good reason why an Android device cannot be significantly differentiated (in all of the ways that matter: look, feel, function), and still get fast updates. It simply comes down to the design of the system.

The problem of carrier differentiation is, in the larger scheme, a trivial problem.

And planned obsolescence is still entirely possible, with a timed support window (eg. 2 years) at which time a device will no longer be eligible for updates.

Reply Parent Score: 2

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

Again, the problem is not technical. It is just business as usuall.

Reply Parent Score: 5

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

Anyone that came into contact with the Nokia Maemo project learned to loath the word differentiation.

It is what lead to various binary blobs being in charge of power management, and so making it virtually impossible for the community to maintain and upgrade the software.

Reply Parent Score: 2