Unlike iOS, Android Users Play Upgrade Roulette: Maybe you get it, maybe you don’t

Some of the cause for the updates is likely to be HTC, which only said 2010 phones would be updated. As such, the only HTC phones on Sprint to carry Android 2.2 are likely to be the Evo 4G and possibly the Legend. Samsung hasn’t explained any of its plans for the Moment, but the company has developed a pattern of declining to upgrade phones beyond one revision.

Only phones from 2010? Only one revision? Wow. That’s some harsh upgrade terms right there. And don’t think other hardware manufacturers and carriers will think any different.

For all the good press Android 2.2 has received, little has been written about the tiny percentage of phones that are actually going to run it. The vaunted Evo doesn’t have it yet. Even unreleased phones like the DroidX will debut with 2.1.

Notice that there isn’t just one upgrade villain. Various manufacturers and carriers will have their own rules about what’s happening. Too bad for the user who wants to upgrade but realizes the decision is not his.

Still, this is what Google wrought by design. Their goal is to get as many “Androids” out there as possible. Version consistency is not a priority because they all display Google’s mobile ads, which is the entire point of Android in the first place.

Though disappointed by this, I’m not surprised. I’ve compared the Android distribution philosophy to Windows Mobile before, and this is more proof of it.

Sure, Android is better than WinMo, but saying you run “Android”—unless you’re a geek—doesn’t tell us much because of the many hardware/software iterations. Typical users will be running the original version that came on the phone two years later when they buy a new one because upgrading was too much trouble, or they didn’t know they could, or it wasn’t an option. The more Android devices sell, the more this will be true. The carriers and manufacturers are too busy with the latest spec sheet-based offering (10 megapixels, anyone?) to worry about the user who bought one three months ago.

Compare this to the iPhone. Much is made of Apple’s yearly iOS introductions, with critics claiming it’s all hype or they’re just catching up. I disagree, but none of that matters. What matters is that every year iPhone owners get an upgrade that significantly improves their existing phone and it costs them nothing. They just plug into iTunes and click Install. Further, only with iOS 4 has Apple finally dropped a device. But that original iPhone is three years old, and was already “made new” twice; we’re not talking about an HTC phone bought seven months ago. 

The reason iPhone owners watch Apple’s new iOS announcements closely is because they know their phone can upgrade to it. Meanwhile, Android users excited by 2.2 a month ago are still waiting, most likely to be disappointed. 

Dear Verizon and Sprint Customers: Welcome to Hell

The Bold 9650 is the successor to the BlackBerry Tour that is currently on Verizon and Sprint. It adds Wi-Fi and RIM’s new optical track pad, which has been seen on newer BlackBerrys, like the Bold2 and Curve 8520.

I’ve been using the Bold 9700 (aka the Bold2) for over a month. It’s crap. Yes, I know it’s RIM’s flagship QWERTY model — and even better than what they announced for Verizon and Sprint — but it’s still crap.

Honestly, in the age of modern smartphones (iPhone, Nexus One, Droid, Palm Pre, etc.) it’s hard to imagine anything as out of place as a Blackberry. It’s like buying a brand new PC with Windows 98 on it.

Palm Could Sell Phones For An Entire Quarter Off Carrier Backlog Alone

The company shipped 960,000 smart phones to stores and distributors in the quarter that ended Feb. 26, 23 percent more than in the previous quarter. However, the number of phones that were actually bought by consumers was 408,000

The bad news isn’t that Palm only sold 408,000 phones (well, that’s actually horrible news, but nothing compared to what’s next). No, the bad news is that a backlog 552,000 shipped phones is sitting on carriers’ shelves.

Think about it. Though trending downward, let’s imagine Palm has 10% better unit sales in the coming quarter than the one just passed. They’d still have 100,000 phones in inventory without having shipped a single phone in the quarter.

Ouch.