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Android Cellphones Operating Systems Sony

Why Android Upgrades Take So Long 226

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-getting-distracted-by-delicious-names dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Last month Google released the Android 4.0 'Ice Cream Sandwich' code base to the general public and manufacturers but it may be a while yet before it's actually rolled out to existing phones. In an attempt to explain why it takes so long, Motorola and Sony Ericsson shed some light on the process. Motorola described the long testing process involved in getting the new code out there, whereas Sony focused on explaining the time-consuming certification process."
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Why Android Upgrades Take So Long

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  • Compared to what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:09PM (#38317662) Homepage Journal

    I know I am going to get flamed for being an apologist, but you know that until about a year ago Dell was selling computers preloaded with Windows XP, right? Windows XP, which made its debut in 2001? They were selling (and people were glad to get) a computer with 9 year old software on it. Now we have Android OS from Google and the turnaround can be anywhere from 4 months to a year before it is running on a good portion of the install base, and we complain about it? Why? If the phone doesn't do what you want it to, don't buy it thinking that some software release will come along next week and make it all better (even if the retailers want to insist that)...

    Learn from history: buy the phone that does today what you want your phone to do today. For a crowd of computer dorks who know all too well the ups and downs of the software development lifecycle, we here on /. sure do like to play dumb...

  • Re:tl;dr (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:10PM (#38317674)

    Exactly. If the manufacturers/carriers just gave us plain-old-Android, all they would have to do is get their drivers installed.

    Samsung is the worst. Their software sucks so bad, it makes their phones unusable. And of course, Verizon loads their crap, too.

    Google needs to drop the hammer on that bullshit. They should say "Look, quit loading up our OS with your crap, or we'll delist you from our search engine and block your networks from accessing our sites".

    In one of the interviews(with TheVerge.com) Matias Duarte, the chief designer of Android said that he encourages OEMs to come up with a modified OS of their own. He believes this fosters creativity and helps tackle the issues of every phone looking like the same thing..

  • Re:tl;dr (Score:4, Interesting)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:12PM (#38317712)

    OEMS: I takes time to integrate our own buggy, irremovable software into the kernel.

    Dude, this isn't like upgrading hardware on a computer; There is no no plug and pray. Every device is a blob of different hardware, along with dozens of assorted interfaces baked into the silicon. Motion sensors, GPS, transmitter/receiver pairs, the call stack, etc. It's less like a computer and more like a minature network inside your smartphone, and your phone might look the exact same as the next one on the shelf when you buy it, but the hardware inside might be very different.

    It's not just about integrating their "buggy, irremovable software" into the kernel... it's also about integrating a dozen different peripherals together, and then holding it together with bailing wire and duct tape and praying for a miracle.

    y'all really need to stop looking at this from your comfortable Everything Is A Computer(tm) mindset. It's not. There might be a microprocessor embedded in there, but that's about where the similarities end.

  • Re:I see... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@cCOWornell.edu minus herbivore> on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:26PM (#38317876) Homepage

    And the fact that it takes people on XDA a matter of days to find and fix many of the issues in manufacturer releases.

    Two words that the mobile industry doesn't seem to understand:
    Beta Test

    Users would not be so angry about delayed upgrades if we were allowed to test betas. Also, if carriers ran beta tests properly, users would be less unhappy with carrier firmwares. (For example, the data-eating AP Mobile widget on AT&T-originated Samsung devices would either be fixed or gone.)

    I can understand carrier certification delays for network interfaces to a small degree - but the truth is that nowadays on any properly designed phone, the radio baseband firmware and the applications processor firmware are well isolated from each other. You don't HAVE to go fucking around in the radio baseband every time you touch the applications processor - the usual end result of this is lots of regressions.

    Wi-Fi - utter bullshit. The PC industry has no problem deploying driver updates without recertification of all devices targeted by the driver.
    Bluetooth - utter bullshit, same deal as with WiFi - the PC industry has no problem with this.

  • Re:tl;dr (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rabbit994 (686936) on Friday December 09, 2011 @02:54PM (#38318246)

    Google needs to drop the hammer on that bullshit. They should say "Look, quit loading up our OS with your crap, or we'll delist you from our search engine and block your networks from accessing our sites".

    You obviously don't understand why Android is out there. Android is out there simply to drive traffic to Google Services. Google was scared that iOS could/would cut them out of picture. As long as people are still using Google Services via the phone and getting all Ad revenue that represents then Google is happy. They would be more likely to drop the hammer on Verizon doing Bing thing more then anything else.

  • A kernel does not an operating system make.

    Yoda, is that you?

    Yoda would more likely say "Make an operating system, a kernel does not."

    There's a difference between Yoda-speak and German-speak. Yoda-speak is OSV (object subject verb; "a fine mess this is") or VOSv (verb, object, subject, helping verb; "help you I will"), in contrast with the SVO or SvVO order of English (and presumably of standard Galactic Basic). The "X does not Y make" pattern is SvOV, as commonly used in German and Dutch and occasionally in English until the early modern (17th century) period. It's an allusion to a Richard Lovelace poem [wikipedia.org].

    The Moar You Know ...:::*

  • Re:Say what? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cereal Box (4286) on Friday December 09, 2011 @03:35PM (#38318706)

    Uh yeah, I agree. You abstract away as much hardware as possible. The point is, if Android has a standardized HAL, i.e. standard interfaces for various pieces of hardware like the CPU, GPU, camera, sound, etc. why does Sony feel like they need to replace the HAL *itself* rather than just plug their drivers into the existing HAL?

  • by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday December 09, 2011 @05:24PM (#38319994)

    And how many of them were NOT T-mobile branded, but nevertheless capable of HSPA+?

    The only non-Tmobile-branded phones I'm aware of that are capable being coaxed into doing 1700/2100 plain-vanilla (non-HSPA+) UMTS at all are Samsung's GSM Galaxy-S phones (AT&T Captivate & international i9000). I'm sure there are a few others, but they're rare. Likewise, most foreign phones can now limp along and do 1900MHz plain-vanilla UMTS on AT&T, but very few that can also do 850MHz UMTS. I don't think there are ANY non-AT&T-branded phones that can do HSUPA on AT&T.

    As a practical matter, if you care about getting the fastest data speeds possible, America's two nominally-GSM networks are almost as de-facto proprietary as Sprint and Verizon. And the tragic punchline is that when AT&T, Verizon, and (now) Sprint roll out LTE, they're going to be equally incompatible with each other and everyone else on earth despite LTE nominally being a global standard.

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