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Android Cellphones

Android Update Alliance Already Struggling 364

Posted by Soulskill
from the actions-speak-louder-than-words dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Earlier this year many Android phone vendors and U.S. wireless carriers made a long-awaited promise, which was to push timely OS updates to all new Android phones. Seven months in and especially with the release of Google Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), PCMag decided to reach out to all those vendors and wireless carriers to see how things were coming along. Brace yourselves Android fans, you're not going to like the responses."
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Android Update Alliance Already Struggling

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  • Re:Netcraft confirms (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toadlife (301863) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:16PM (#38401572) Journal

    Should've used a bsd kernel as the base instead of a linux kernel. The stable driver ABI would make upgrading kernels (which is sometimes required when moving to new versions of Android) easier.

    I say this half jokingly and half seriously.

  • Why do you think.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GrBear (63712) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:17PM (#38401592)

    Why do you think Steve Jobs pushed to hard with AT&T and demanded full control over the OS? So shit like this wouldn't happen with the iPhone platform.

    Money grubbing cell carriers would rather have your device locked down, so if you want the latest features, you buy a new phone.

    And yet people are still surprised that Android is becoming more fragmented every day. The drawing has been on the wall since the launch of the the OS.

  • by suresk (816773) <spencer@uresCHICAGOk.net minus city> on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:30PM (#38401746) Homepage

    I'm replacing my Droid Incredible next month, and this very issue is steering me towards an iPhone 4S even though I'm generally happy with other aspects of Android.

    If I'm locked into a contract for 2 years for a phone, I don't think it's incredibly unreasonable to expect updates (especially ones that relate to security, stability, or performance) for at least 18 months.

  • Re:Netcraft confirms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toadlife (301863) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:38PM (#38401866) Journal

    Irrelevant. The kernel isn't the issue,

    Oh really?

    Then why are most of the bugs I see with new Samsung releases kernel related[1] bugs?

    I understand the crapware that vendors integrate into ROMs takes time, but to dismiss the kernel as irrelevant part of the process is naive. Samsprint started working on their Gingerbread update for the Epic 4G early this year (I think around May) and barely released it in November, and due to issues are now working on a new update.

    [1] I say this as someone who has had to patch my own kernel [xda-developers.com] to prevent the broadcom chipset driver from spontaneously rebooting my phone.

  • Re:Netcraft confirms (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes (730264) on Friday December 16, 2011 @02:43PM (#38401962)

    Not really. The lack of a stable ABI *is* a major problem, because it means that every time a new version of Android gets released that needs a newer kernel than the latest "official" one available for the phone, every proprietary loadable kernel module (for things like 4G data on carriers like Sprint) ends up breaking. As far as I know, not even the Nexus S 4G has buildable driver source available for its wimax interface, which is why every guerrilla ICS ROM for it has broken 4G. It's even worse for HTC phones, because they don't even release their drivers as proper loadable kernel modules -- they just compile them straight into a monolithic binary blob, then rip out the proprietary bits and dump the unbuildable kernel source on the curb.

    This is the #1 problem Google really needs to solve -- binary driver breakage every time the kernel gets upgraded. Maybe they could create a stable thunking layer that allows a .ko built for a 3.(n+X) kernel to keep working on a 3.(n+Y) kernel, so every new Android release won't subject us to the usual cycle of 4G data that's instantly and semi-eternally broken. Or maybe just force the phone makers to blindly compile and release new unsupported proprietary .ko files for drivers with the latest kernel within 5 days of Google's official source drop, with the usual disclaimers that the new .ko files are untested, unwarranted, will cause birth defects, and might make you hunting for chocolate at 3am.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:20PM (#38402510)

    Yes. Thats why Apple release Siri for older phones. Its because they dont want you to buy the latest iProduct.

    No, that's because Siri is beta and they want to tune the thing with a reasonable amount of load before they push it out to all iOS5 owners.

    I'm sure there's some degree of marketing behind the choice as well, but the fact is that it's a technically sound choice with a good reason behind it as long as Siri eventually makes it to all iOS5 owners.

    I expect we'll see that mid-year, though it may not support the 3GS (that may lack the CPU to handle the audio encoding fast enough to get it to the server in a reasonable time).

  • Re:Another iPhone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rich0 (548339) on Friday December 16, 2011 @03:48PM (#38402944) Homepage

    If you really want an alternative, stick to the Nexus series. I have had Nexus one and just upgraded to Galaxy Nexus.

    You mean the Nexus One that received what is likely to be its last update one year and two months after they stopped selling it, and only one year and six months after it was first announced? That is the phone that is already one major version behind the current release?

    The Nexus One is the longest-supported Android phone to date (certainly it received better support than the ADP which was the previous Google-branded phone and it stopped getting updates before they even stopped selling it). However, I'd hardly hold it up as an example of long-term commitment. I'll have to see what the Nexus S updates look like a year from today - I won't be holding my breath.

    The guy you responded to was talking about updates 2.5 years after buying the phone. No android phone has gotten an official update 2.5 years after the phone was even publicly announced, let alone discontinued.

  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday December 16, 2011 @04:53PM (#38403854)

    My friends who bought Droid phones about 2 years ago as early adopters (about a dozen I know) have all switched to the iPhone. The none-techie ones had the main reason being is the iPhone is what they wanted 2 years ago, only they wanted Verizon instead of AT&T which wasn't an option. While they were "happy" with the Android phone it still wasn't what the wanted.

    The techie friends have come to realize that Android just isn't being supported like they thought it would with the latest and greatest available to all. And while some found it fun to hack a while, the bottom line is they found that they didn't want to spend their time messing with their phone. They just wanted it to work.

    Now with sprint as a carrier I imagine the next batch will be the same. I've known one or two that have opted to go from iPhone to Android phones, but one of them swears Android will dominate the phone land scape just like he predicted Gentoo would rule the Linux landscape about 8 years ago...

  • Re:Netcraft confirms (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Friday December 16, 2011 @05:24PM (#38404230) Journal

    It's even worse for HTC phones, because they don't even release their drivers as proper loadable kernel modules -- they just compile them straight into a monolithic binary blob, then rip out the proprietary bits and dump the unbuildable kernel source on the curb.

    Isn't that a clear-cut GPL violation?

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