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. 

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

  1. Owned a 3G Iphone. Sure, I got all updates :))But dam, my poor 3G started to run like a grandma.Multitasking? Get real. maybe on the latest 4G.So, no one is perfect. But at least, I got rid of the rotten apple.Thank God (or whoever you wish)

  2. … or you could just install the cyanogen rom instead of the one from your carrier. That’s a big benefit of andoid being open source. Anyone can make a rom, not just your carrier.

  3. iNot, In case you haven’t looked (and obviously you haven’t) there are PLENTY of fart apps in the Android market place. And, frankly, YOU “give a hoot” about this blog or you wouldn’t take the time to comment. Thanks for reading.

  4. Wonder why Android sales numbers are blowing past the iPhone numbers…Maybe we need more iFart apps out there.Speaking of which…why do you persist with this miserable blog? Not too many people give a hoot about your two-bit Apple apologist blog.

  5. wow I can’t believe that is all….3G users can upgrade and still get a lot of features….come on now! surely you can to do better than that

  6. What Android users do isn’t called “Upgrade Roulette”. They’re really playing “Russian Roulette” any time they buy an Android smartphone. Lord Google arbitrarily decides what company gets what Android upgrade. I think it’s decided by CEO Schmidt flipping a coin. Nexus One wins the coin Flip, Droid Incredible loses the coin flip.I gotta laugh when someone is praising themselves for buying the latest Android handset only to find out six months later than their Android smartphone has been relegated to “upgrade limbo” or “no new Android 2.x for you, sucker”. No Android 2.1, no 10.1 Flash, EVER! Of course, that might be considered a mixed blessing, seeing how buggy mobile Flash is.For those that swear that their particular smartphone will be upgraded to the latest and greatest OS, we’ll have to wait and see that Google doesn’t change their mind and try to get you to upgrade to a newer Android handset. Or Adobe might say that they’ve decided to have Flash only work on Android 2.2 since it runs “better”.Still, who cares what happens to the Android platform. It’s open and Google is free to do anything it wants with it.

  7. Peter,That’s all you’ve got? 3G users can upgrade and still get plenty of features. Now let’s talk about the 7-month old HTC phone that gets nothing. Heck, for that matter let’s talk about 99% of Android phones that so far still don’t have access to 2.2.An Android supporter will NEVER win an upgrade argument with comparisons to the iPhone. Ever. Android loses the upgrade argument every time. Today, tomorrow, and in perpetuity. That’s the way it is. Deal with it. That doesn’t mean Android upgrades couldn’t be better. But if you want that, mentioning a few features a 2-year-old iPhone doesn’t get isn’t the way. You need to complain to the carriers and hardware manufacturers of Android phones. Maybe even ask Google to help. Whining about Apple or their supporters is pointless.

  8. This versus Apple where everybody with two-year old hardware can upgrade to iOS 4!Of course, you don’t get background processes if you’re using an iPhone 3G. Of course, you don’t get wallpapers if you’re using an iPhone 3G. Of course, you don’t get movie editing unless you have iPhone 4.But, hey, you can say, “See! I got iOS 4!” That’s very important.

  9. The summer issue of 100% You from T-Mobile states that Android 2.2 will soon be available to myTouch 3G owners.So get your nose down out of the clouds, AdamC.

  10. Just too bad for goog fanbois but one thing you can say about them is they like living with hardwares that can’t upgrade and yet feel smug to tell the whole world they like using second gen software and hardwares.

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