Thursday, 20 January 2011 14:56

Android could be killed off by suppliers

Written by Nick Farell
android_froyo_logo

Customer service you are joking
While Android is one of the best things to hit the mobile phone industry it could be killed off thanks to some bad behaviour on the part of the mobile phone makers.

Everyone in the industry is moaning about the operating system fragmenting because phone makers are not upgrading the versions of the operating system. Some of phones are running on versions of Android which are early versions which were best left forgotten.

While HTC appears to be ahead of the game at getting new updates to uses, some outfits, particularly Motorola are developing a jolly bad name for themselves. You could upgrade yourself but he problem is getting your paws on unlocked boot loaders. Motorola's upcoming phones have locked bootloaders.

But the blogsphere got its knickers in a twist when someone asked a Motorola employee about custom roms and was told “If you want to do? custom roms, then buy elsewhere, we'll continue with our strategy that is working thanks.” That answer alone would be good enough to get many people buying their Android somewhere else.

However it looks to us like Google is going to need to put its foot down fast before the suppliers start killing off its operating system. The last thing people want is to get an Android phone and find it can't do something that has been advertised because some phone maker could not be bothered upgrading.

Part of the problem is the cost. Mobile phone makers appear to be waging a campaign to get the Telcos to front up for the upgrades. This is expensive and the telcos don't really want to. However the manufacturers don't either because they have already sold the phone and don't want to spend money on expensive upgrades.

Another part of the problem is Google shunting out upgrades to Android too often. While it would be a good idea to release a more tablet friendly version, it would be a good idea to sit back a bit and wait for the Android market to establish itself before releasing another smart-phone version. Otherwise the Android boom could be throttled by the people who are supposed to support it.


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Comments  

 
+12 #1 Naterm 2011-01-20 15:16
An inaccurate article. While no one likes Motorola's eFUSE equipped phones, they're far, far from the worst when it comes to updating their phones.

Motorola is actually in second place behind HTC when it comes to providing end users with OS updates. If you want to see really bad behavior with Android updates, just look at Samsung. They're holding back an OS update to the Vibrant because they want people to buy the Vibrant 4G. The latter phone is almost identical except for the fact it ships with Froyo.
 
 
+14 #2 muziqaz 2011-01-20 15:38
Nick, there is an update to that motorola story. Motorola apologised to everyone for that comment:
http://www.androidcentral.com/motorola-disavows-youtube-comment-says-its-working-bootloader-compromise

And yes, Samsung, Sony need to be slapped hard for avoiding to update their devices.
 
 
+4 #3 froot 2011-01-20 16:30
I agree with the Samsung update issue. I recently purchased a Samsung Epic without knowing their track record for updates. I know there is no incentive to update a phone from the manufacturer or carrier...yet it's good to keep users happy and your OS up-to-date. It's sad we see right through the sales tactic of selling us an upgrade that is free to them from Google in the form of a "new" phone. Google, please fix the market fragmentation with your OS.
 
 
0 #4 Dribble 2011-01-20 16:57
Part of the problem is the makers all customise their phones copy of android, and hence any updates require them to update all their customisations first.

Hopefully future versions of android won't need to be customised as much to look pretty. That said I suspect the makers want customisation so they can make their phones look different - at least those who are good at it (HTC) anyway.
 
 
+3 #5 muziqaz 2011-01-20 17:20
Quoting Dribble:
Part of the problem is the makers all customise their phones copy of android, and hence any updates require them to update all their customisations first.

Hopefully future versions of android won't need to be customised as much to look pretty. That said I suspect the makers want customisation so they can make their phones look different - at least those who are good at it (HTC) anyway.


HTC has a custom version with their Sense UI. And that doesn't stop them from updating their phones. Samsung minimally customises their Android version, yet they are still bad in updates.
 
 
+3 #6 The_Wolf88 2011-01-20 17:56
Agreed !

Samsung also they are bad in updates especially Galaxy S which some people didn't get Froyo update yet !
 
 
+6 #7 Exodite 2011-01-20 19:27
Part of the problem is no doubt the US situation with carrier lock-ins etc.

Both Samsung and SE, who've taken a lot of flack for their lack of timely updates, had updates out in Europe quite some time earlier.

Anyway this impacting the platform as a whole is FUD at best.

People posting on tech blogs, myself included, are tech geeks and always want the latest stuff yesterday but the majority of users don't care. The handsets that sell the most volume, cue HTC WildFire/SE X8/ZTE Orange etc., do so because they're cheap and accessible.

The owners of said handsets often aren't even aware of what version of the OS they're running.

And why should they, as long as their services work?
 
 
-4 #8 dicobalt 2011-01-20 20:10
Of course it's fragmenting, Android is based on Linux. By design Linux based systems are supposed to be unwieldy and non standard. Linux doesn't permit using binaries that aren't made specifically for the system you are using. What did they expect would happen?
 
 
+5 #9 DazzXP 2011-01-20 20:52
Well i am using Gingerbread 2.3.1 on my Galaxy S, custom rom. At least the boot loader is not locked. I think the problem with Samsung with their American Phones is they are all capacitive touch keys. They can't be used intill they boot up. Meaning if a problem happens during an update your phone is bricked with no recovery at all.

People would complain alot more if they have to take them in to service with loss of all data yes?
 
 
-3 #10 Fud_u 2011-01-20 23:13
Some people just doesn't realize that Android devices are made by "many" companies. Most of the phone came with customize skin and driver so updated them will require the company to cooperate with both Google and carrier alike (not to mention hardware supplier). Also, some people expected their Pentium 3 machine to run Windows 7 which is impossible (you should see a psychologist immediately to evaluate your reasoning skill).
 

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