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Android Canada Cellphones Handhelds Open Source Upgrades

LG Arbitrarily Denying Android Lollipop Update To the G2 In Canada? 131

Lirodon writes: Its funky rear-mounted buttons may have left critics divided, but the LG G2 is still a pretty capable Android device. While it has gotten an update to Android 5.0 "Lollipop" in some major markets (including the United States, of course), one major holdout is Canada. Reports are surfacing that LG's Canadian subsidiary has decided not to release the update for unknown reasons. But, what about custom ROMs? Well, they handled that too: they have refused to release Lollipop kernel source for the Canadian variant of the device. It is arbitrary actions like this that cause Android's fragmentation problems. A curious note, LG has not specifically made reference to the bugs other users have been having with the update.
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LG Arbitrarily Denying Android Lollipop Update To the G2 In Canada?

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  • Stingy move by LG. Is there a difference between the US version and the Canadian version? I remember using the ATT ROMs for the i727 phone when I had the Rogers i727r. Never had any issues with that (that I remember).
    • only differences are the radios and that there's a 3 in the model number. Oh, and the lack of kernel source. Last major OS update we got was KitKat 4.4.2, followed by the Knock Code patch.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can blame your screwy Canadian carriers for this.

        • by ArmoredDragon ( 3450605 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @11:50AM (#49822621)

          Don't know if parent is trolling or not, but I had a similar thought. I've heard that Canadian carriers are even worse than US carriers when it comes to device freedom (and pricing, and reliability, and just about everything else) and a thought occurred to me that there may be carrier pressure to force the end users to buy a new device.

          If so, it wouldn't be a narrative I hadn't heard before. I was on Sprint about 2.5 years ago and they were rather vicious when it came to that kind of thing.

          • by Lirodon ( 2847623 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @11:58AM (#49822685)
            ever since they've been legally mandating two-year contract maximums, the on-contract price of new phones have gotten much more expensive. When the Galaxy Nexus first came out on my carrier, it was $159.99 on a three-year plan with data (later $99.99 when I bought it). The G3 is only $49.99 right now and there's no listing for the G4 yet, but the One M9 is $199 and the S6 is $249.99. But then, the Galaxy Nexus: that one got screwed over real good in Canada too: they forced this model on us that did not get updates right from Google. I was angered: when 4.2 came along, I shifted to custom ROMs instead and got up to 4.3 before I got the G2. At least they learned their lesson with the Nexus 5; it does get Google updates at least.
            • I have a G2. I love the way it feels in my hand (although it's super fragile and will chip easily). I love the button in the back (I never have to guess where it is, even when I'm setting the volume from my pocket). And I love the knock-knock feature (although, that only works about 70% of the time).

              And I love the guest feature that's better than anything Samsung, Apple, or Google has. It basically logs you in as a guest depending on the unlock pattern you give it. And if you leave most of the apps availabl

          • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:02PM (#49822723) Homepage

            "You can blame your screwy Canadian carriers for this."

            Don't know if parent is trolling or not, but I had a similar thought.

            As a Canadian, I will 100% concur this has a good chance of being the carrier.

            My HTC Desire has a lot of stuff which was put on it by the carrier (Rogers) -- some of which I can disable but not delete.

            It may well be that LG has decided they don't want to muck around with carrier specific crap. Which is why I think it should be illegal to have carrier specific crap in the first place.

            A decade or so ago a co-worker did some testing with his Motorolla Krazr. It turns out the way Rogers had done the internet stuff was to push you through their proxy (with a lot of extra overhead), and which had the net effect of about doubling your data usage so that they could measure you and bill you for it. And this was when data usage was in KB.

            Rogers are complete greedy bastards who put a lot of crap on phones to benefit themselves.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward

              https://mobile.twitter.com/zr239/status/604339474009571330

              https://mobile.twitter.com/zr239/status/605094322497822720

              It looks like Roger and Telus have publicly claimed that LG is denying the update - obviously we dont know how the politics work, but LG is not issuing a public denial.

            • It may well be that LG has decided they don't want to muck around with carrier specific crap. Which is why I think it should be illegal to have carrier specific crap in the first place.

              So why not release the kernel sources then? I hate carrier specific crap as much as the next person but at least if the kernel for the device is available then someone can hobble together firmware from another country. I regularly ran British or eastern European ROMs on my Australian handset. Currently running ROM from some German carrier on my device.

            • I really doubt it was an arbitrary decision. I also have no doubt it is carrier specific and nothing to really do with "Canadian Versions" other than that particular carrier exists in Canada.

              Likely reasons for the move:
              1) They want to sell more phones. Planned obsolescence.
              2) Introducing new OS onto old phone may have support issues they would have to address.
              3) They are not making any more money (or as much anyway) off those old phones.
              4) Training and support expenses to have staff in call centres to handl

          • Don't know if parent is trolling or not, but I had a similar thought. I've heard that Canadian carriers are even worse than US carriers when it comes to device freedom (and pricing, and reliability, and just about everything else) and a thought occurred to me that there may be carrier pressure to force the end users to buy a new device.

            If so, it wouldn't be a narrative I hadn't heard before. I was on Sprint about 2.5 years ago and they were rather vicious when it came to that kind of thing.

            Canadian carriers are concerned about maintenance costs and skills that their telephone support people need to have. Ergo, they want you to use their products that their support staff know and love.

      • Oh crap, I forgot about the radio updates. That would probably put a damper on the custom ROMs for the Canadian variant.
      • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:09PM (#49822789) Journal

        Fun question - what if a Canadian bought an unlocked GSM phone off of Amazon, Newegg, or etc?

        I just happened to have bought an LG G2 GSM phone just last week, albeit I bought it here in the US off of Amazon (brand new for $210, why not?), and to be honest, it is a *very* capable device in spite of its relative age and lack of a MicroSD slot (and to be honest, I actually like the rear-mounted buttons). I have yet to scrounge the time to root and upgrade the thing just yet, but outside of the carrier, it seems fairly trivial to do ( rooting [webtrickz.com] , upgrading to lollipop [webtrickz.com] ).

        Anyrate, at least with an unlocked GSM phone, you're not tied to the carrier, Canadian laws, etc... at least I don't think so. I've always went the GSM/WorldPhone route specifically to avoid being tied to the arbitrary BS of a single carrier, or even nation. It costs a bit more up-front, but at least I'm not paying off a high-interest loan on it (more commonly known as a subsidy) or stuck in a contract.

        • Your comment can't be any more on point. I have a One Plus One purchased outright and I don't deal with contracts anymore. I'm on a promo plan noone can kick me off of, and virgin mobile keeps calling me to seeing if I'll re sign a contract somehow. You have much more clout when you aren't in contract and in this day and age, with unlocked phones being sold a reasonable priced, why would you even?
        • I'm rocking a purchased-outright Moto G 2014. Works fine, no hassles, on a cheap no-data prepaid plan that does everything I need.

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        If the difference is only in the radios, no need for Canadian kernel source.

        Usually the international source for most devices is the least mangled.

        Before anyone rants about GPL violations - they only have to release source if they released a binary. They haven't released a binary.

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          They haven't released a binary.

          If they haven't distributed a binary to the public in any form, then what software is running on the phones?

          • by jonwil ( 467024 )

            They have released binaries (and presumably kernel source) for previous versions of Android on the Canadian G2. What they haven't done is released any binaries for Lollipop on the Canadian G2 and are therefore not required to release any source for it (which may not even exist if they have decided not to port Lollipop to the Canadian G2)

          • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

            Outdated software - which they have released source for.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              Thank you. Then I guess the next step is to take a diff between the KitKat kernel source as shipped by Google and the KitKat kernel source as shipped by the phone manufacturer and port that patch to the Lollipop kernel source. Or how would that fail?

    • Motorola did the same thing with the upgrade for the Moto G. They rolled it out at very different times in different markets. The obvious explanation is that they are understaffed. Not a good sign in either case — when corporations can't or won't staff, I assume they are circling the bowl.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:06PM (#49822759) Homepage

        The obvious explanation is that they are understaffed.

        My "obvious explanation" is the Canadian carriers added their own crap, and now we're not considered a big enough market to fix it.

        I don't need to blame LG. My first thought on reading that was "yeah, that's entirely due to carriers putting their own shit on the phones".

        Some devices are carrier locked. Some have crapware put there by the carrier.

        This isn't the first time I've seen this with phones here.

        • by jrumney ( 197329 )

          My "obvious explanation" is the Canadian carriers added their own crap, and now we're not considered a big enough market to fix it.

          Not so much that Canada is not a big enough market, but if the carriers are demanding modifications that are low level enough to affect the kernel (as opposed to just adding a few branded apks on top of a standard international image), then LG is going to want them to pay for the maintenance of those modifications. So it is back to the carriers again.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      Probably because it sucks.

      Lockscreen widgets were removed, and background apps close when inturupted.

      I've had two moto X's, and under 4.4 there were fine, but with 5.0 when I play music or a podcast with navigating, about 50% of the time and instruction is voiced, my music/podcast app closes. Other notifications can do similar, but much more rarely.

      I can prevent this by putting the music/podcast app in front when I lock the screen, but then navigation arbitrarily shuts down.

    • every provider has a custom ROM build. that's right the ROM is provider specific. so the difference is a port of all the customizations to lollipop and of course a new, separate QA cycle on a different major version of android. also, don't forget the user guides, support staff, etc. all to be staffed and trained on android 5 + this device.

      so yeah, the effort is actually pretty huge. i'm not excusing it, but to dismiss it as grabbing AOSP and dumping the LG music service APK on it is not correct.

      also, what's

  • by danbob999 ( 2490674 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @11:33AM (#49822471)

    They told me it wasn't their fault if my TV was broken and they didn't have any replacement available, because my TV was made by LG Korea.
    I bet they will use a similar lame excuse again.

  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @11:34AM (#49822483)
    We should be able to get the latest software, and uninstall bloatware without having to root our device and invalidate our warranty. As it stands I have an old version of Android filled with Samsung crapware. Not surprised to learn LG is pulling crap also - just disappointed there aren't real alternatives for when I upgrade to a new phone.
    • AFAIK telecom companies don't have much power over the iPhone.

      • Verizon puts software (and bookmarks) on their phones you cannot remove - and they control when you get updates.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          My Verizon iPhone has no software from Verizon on it, nor do they control when I get updates. The iPhone seems to be the only exception to the rule. Apple was able to force the carriers to play by their rules.

          I suspect that the other hardware manufacturers are happy to let the carries control the software, most likely in exchange for a share of the revenue.

        • What version? My iPhone 5 never had Verizon branded software installed at the firmware level. Aside from it saying "Verizon" in the upper left corner, there's nothing Verizon installed on it.

          Speaking of OS updates, the iPhone 5 will most get iOS 9 this Fall.

    • If you wait to buy a phone until it has a working recovery, and maybe an AOSP port, then you won't get into this situation. Motorola failed to bring out the upgrade for my Moto G in a timely fashion, but I was able to download and install SOKP because the phone has a proper bootloader so there's a community around it.

      If you make intelligent purchasing decisions, you will have better results than if you buy LG, which is shit and has always been shit. I forgot this and bought a Nexus 4, which turned out to be

    • by Windowser ( 191974 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:31PM (#49823047)
      Just do as I do, buy a Nexus phone. No crap, no lock and pure Android
      • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

        US Carriers can now hold up the over-the-air updates for Nexus. I'm on StraightTalk, an MVNO over AT&T, and AT&T managed to keep my Nexus 6 from getting 5.1 for months. You can pull the SIM and reset or sideload the updates at least, but it's lame that they were given the ability to override the OTA updates. I'm not even AT&T's customer, so I don't see how it's even legal.

        • Canadian carriers could hold up OTA updates for the Galaxy Nexus too.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          US Carriers can now hold up the over-the-air updates for Nexus.

          Then buy the phone from someone other than a cellular carrier, and remove the SIM card when checking for updates over Wi-Fi. If neither the carrier-customized firmware nor a SIM card is present, what connection does the phone have to any carrier that would give the carrier power to hold up updates?

          • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

            It's a new "feature" for Android. My Nexus 6 was purchased from Google's Play Store. Same thing happened to people thought bought directly from Motorola. Yes, you can take the SIM out and get the update over wifi, but you have to be willing to reset your phone to do it. I assume it's reading something off the SIM or on the network, or the carriers are intercepting the "is their a new update" query.

            Nexus 6 owners got different versions of the same update depending on which major carrier they were on.

            • by tepples ( 727027 )

              I assume it's reading something off the SIM or on the network, or the carriers are intercepting the "is their a new update" query.

              Try this: shut down the device, pull the SIM out, turn it on, connect to Wi-Fi, and manually check for updates. Or is it actually storing what it finds through the SIM?

              • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

                I waited for the OTA from the carrier, but during that time I saw many discussions where the update won't happen even with the SIM removed unless the device was reset. It's remembering something about the cell network it was on. It would be a non-issue if not for the reset.

                • by tepples ( 727027 )

                  By "reset" do you mean in the sense of pressing the Reset button on a game console? Because if so, turning the device all the way off to eject the SIM is like that. Or do you mean a different kind of reset?

        • by Windowser ( 191974 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @02:33PM (#49824165)
          The first thing I do when I get the phone is download the official image from Google and put it on my phone, that way I am confident that I don't have a firmware screwed by the carrier. I've been burned by Rogers with my first Nexus.
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            It seems like you can't just buy an unlocked phone and use it in Canada. Is that correct? Otherwise I can't understand why so many people buy the phone from the carrier, considering what a terrible reputation they have.

            • It seems like you can't just buy an unlocked phone and use it in Canada. Is that correct?

              Yes yoou can, in fact, most carrier will give you a 10% rebate on your plan if you bring your own unlocked phone

              Otherwise I can't understand why so many people buy the phone from the carrier, considering what a terrible reputation they have.

              Because most people are idiots

      • So, my only option is to buy a 6 inch behemoth, since the Nexus 5 is now being discontinued [ndtv.com]. Another great move by Google. I have a 5 inch phone and it just barely fits in most of my pockets. I couldn't imagine carrying around anything larger on a daily basis.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Not a Canadian, but I think it's time that we require phone companies to provide reasonable updates for X years, or release the source code. One major concern is the environmental impact from e-waste.

    Now, go ahead, mod me down.

    • by ne0n ( 884282 )
      Or just realize that idiots who buy carrier-polluted devices deserve the shit they end up with. We have bazillions of bootloader- and carrier-unlocked phones to choose from, from cheap Nexuses and Onepluses to Moto G's and more. There's no reason to get an iPhone or LG or Samsung these days.
      • Non-technical people don't even know what a "bootloader" is, just like you probably don't know that you can use pure ethanol or methanol in your current car with a simple firmware update.

        • by ne0n ( 884282 )
          Non-technical people don't need to run custom roms either. Buyers of LG's G2 got what they paid for and probably inspected it first in most cases. I'm quite certain there was no Lollipop at that time so there was no reason to expect Lollipop years later.
          That leaves the technically informed who run custom roms. They knew better. It's a problem that solves itself: ignorants keep buying LG, not knowing any better and no worse for it; technophiles learn a lesson and move on to better options next time.
  • Battery life is notably shorter since Android Lollypop update was sent. With moderate use my G2 could easily make it through the day when I had Jelly Bean.

    • I also own a Verizon G2, still on KitKat. Are you using the stock Lollipop? Can you give actual numbers on the battery lifetime?

      Although Cyanogenmod doesn't seem to have support for the G2, there is a third-party ROM that a lot of users seem to enjoy. I haven't switched to it because of the minor installation problems that many have noted. I'm not as skilled as they are in fixing those types of problems, and I would prefer to wait for a sanctioned 5.1 or better kernel.
      • by Picass0 ( 147474 )

        Android 5.0.2 build LRX22G

        Usage on battery 5h 34min
        Estimated time remaining 16h 41min (This is optimistic. It will not last this long)
        Last 3 hr in use 11% Use

        Android OS 17%
        Google Services 13%
        Screen 13%
        Cell Standby 9%
        Android System 8%
        Chrome 7%
        Themer 4%
        Phone Idle 3%
        Phone 3%
        Amazon app suite 3%

  • by Anonymous Coward

    they got request
    "Hello. Place the source code please Lollipop for D803"
    and they answered with:
    "Unfortunately D803 model has no plan for upgrading to Lollipop.
    So We cannot upload the source code."
    Since they are not releasing new version there is no code for it - IMO pretty normal. If he requested source code for current version of sources I suspect they would comply.

  • by samjam ( 256347 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @11:53AM (#49822647) Homepage Journal

    Are you complaining that LG Canada holding back what others have complained of being a buggy update?

    Is this good or bad?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If you want regular updates get a Google phone or a Cyanogen phone. Otherwise you take a chance, and accept that the manufacturer may lose interest or decide to hold updates back until bugs have been resolved.

      Also, the summary is inaccurate, Lollipop is available as an unofficial 3rd party ROM: http://forum.xda-developers.co... [xda-developers.com]

      They don't need source, they just use binary blob drivers.

      • There's also the option of getting an iPhone or Windows Phone. Both those options seem to be much more likely to get updates. Windows 10 is coming out, and it looks like just about every handset that runs WP 8.1 will run WP 10. Microsoft is working with hardware manufacturers to make sure this happens.

        This is the reason I switched away from Android. My last phone (LG G2X aka P999) came with Android 2.2 and was released 6 months before Android 4 came out. As a Canadian, I never saw any updates at all. I was

      • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

        You're not guaranteed regular updates with Cyngn phones either.

        They burned their first hardware partner even more than they burned OnePlus with the MicroMax exclusivity mess - the Oppo N1 didn't get a KitKat update from Cyngn until November 2014.

        Cyngn corporate is "just another OEM" - same BS.

    • Verizon is forcing Lollipop on me in the US. I know I'm mad about it. Maybe some middle ground would be to offer a disclaimer like, "this software is buggy, update at your own risk." Of course, no one reads those anyway. People just click "Ok".
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:00PM (#49822697)

    When Android OEMs are making shit for profit compared to Apple and probably even Blackberry on their phone sales?

    If a smaller OEM were smart, they'd sell an extended warranty for $50 that explicitly says they pledge to continue providing security patches and upgrades for a 3-4 year period. Most people would never even bother using it; they'd switch phones before then.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      > Most people would never even bother using it

      99% of the effort is in creating the update, doesn't matter how many people use it as long as you are required to create it.

  • It is arbitrary actions like this that cause Android's fragmentation problems.

    One more:

    It is arbitrary actions like this that contribute to companies running out of business.

    But let me ask: How can a [reputable] company like LG think that vitriol, that could potentially be a consequence of action like this will, be positive to its image? How?

  • Now I own numerous Sony android devices, all of which were given the Lollipop treatment over the last few months. One doesn't want to charge fully and another now has extremely high battery use from "Android OS".

    Honestly I wish Sony had waited just like LG until the updates are actually stable for basic functionality. Kudos to LG...
    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      I haven't heard too many issues about Sony LP... That said, right around when they deployed LP to the Z3 is when I finally unlocked the bootloader and started running Omni on it.

      That said - 5.0 was in general a steaming pile of poo, which is why so many OEMs are just skipping to 5.1 now. 5.0 was such poo that Google changed the version number to get away from the stigma, in reality, 5.1 was more like a 5.0.3... But it was important in that it fixed the biggest issues with 5.0.x

  • Anyone have an adblock signature to get rid of this annoying "video bytes" section that appeared today?

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Tuesday June 02, 2015 @12:26PM (#49822987) Homepage Journal

    Lots of people keep posting about how rude LG is.

    This is a carrier problem. Plain and simple.

    Rogers is accused of bad support regularly, so I'm not surprised.

    • by phorm ( 591458 )

      Not supplying the files for modders to build their own ROM's wouldn't be a carrier issue, but unless the Canadian hardware varies greatly I'm not sure why the US variant wouldn't work?

      • First, the radio will be different. Is only for provisioning.

        Second, it is always a carrier decision in North America to actually deploy

        Third, manufacturers may not offer the upgrade if they believe it is technically unfeasible, usually due to performance issues.

  • The kernel is GPL. They can't refuse the sources. Someone with one of these phones (i.e. somebody with standing) ought to reach out to https://sfconservancy.org/.

    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      If they never published Lollipop binaries for the Canadian G2, they are under no obligation to publish sources.
      If someone asked for the Jellybean (or whatever the current version is) sources for the Canadian G2 or asked for the Lollipop sources for a different G2 variant that did get Lollipop, I am sure LG would be happy to comply.

  • It could be as simple as LG Canada being influenced not to do so because of their new device sales, for a market that has tendency to refresh hardware more often (I'm guessing here but it sounds like a reason). Not shipping new software is the best way to discontinue a product and compel clients to get the new stuff.
    • by Andy Dodd ( 701 )

      More likely it is the carriers and not LG.

      This is why I refuse to buy carrier-branded phones nowadays.

  • I'm confused. I have an LG G2 (p999) that I got back in 2011. It doesn't have any rear mounted buttons. I'd love to be able to update the OS, though. There are some apps I'd like that refuse to download because they want a newer OS.
    • uhh, that's actually an LG Optimus 2X, which is basically ancient by Android standards. (T-Mobile called it the G2-x)
      • I guess I dropped the -x somewhere along the line (or maybe Wind Mobile did). I thought it was kind of odd that Slashdot was hosting a story about a relatively old cell phone.
  • I'm looking forward to a world where there are more open devices like the One Plus One. Which is on sale for 300 bucks for the 64GB version this week.
  • Probably because you have to release a french version as well and they do not want to pay the additional expense...
  • It is arbitrary actions like this that cause Android's fragmentation problems.

    I know I'm in minority, but this is plain bullshit.

    Google continuously pumping "releases" is what causes the fragmentation.

    There are just too many "releases" of Android.

    It is fine to pop 2-3 releases a year - if you are niche player targeted at geeks. But it is not, if you want to serve near billion users of several thousand different device types.

  • This reminds me of buying the LG G2 outright from Wind Mobile when I started with them years ago.

    LG refused to give us any updates in North America at all despite there being updates for the v4 series of OSes in Korea for the same phone.

    No amount of hacking could get Jellybean to work WELL on the phone, and the Nvidia chipset was completely unusable - locking users out of using the camera, or when the camera worked video didn't, etc.
    Perfectly capable phone, owned for 6 months before LG dropped support
    • To clarify, I bought the X2 when it was brand new and the very first and only dual core phone on the market. Wind was demoing it by showing video games with 3D graphics on big screens (it had HDMI out).

      Turned out to be a shit phone because of the aforementioned reason and the fact that since it was stuck on an old OS, the flash slowed WAY down after a bit of use due to no TRIM support.

      After a while typing became a chore as it would just hang while using the keyboard.

      Gave it to a friend when someone st

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