The Android Platform Still Has A Big Update Problem

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kenjitamura

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I think a LOT of the blame for this situation lands on the chinese android manufacturers. They can't be forced to comply with the licenses so they don't and as a result many devices are without open source code and drivers for other developers to be able to integrate them into newer android builds for those devices. Additionally, most of these chinese android manufacturers completely stop releasing new software after a few months so all of these devices are left to rot on stagnant older releases. I heard this is on purpose so that these manufacturers can limit the lifetime of the devices and customers are forced to buy newer devices to be able to get newer software support.
 

therealduckofdeath

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I think a LOT of the blame for this situation lands on the chinese android manufacturers. They can't be forced to comply with the licenses so they don't and as a result many devices are without open source code and drivers for other developers to be able to integrate them into newer android builds for those devices. Additionally, most of these chinese android manufacturers completely stop releasing new software after a few months so all of these devices are left to rot on stagnant older releases. I heard this is on purpose so that these manufacturers can limit the lifetime of the devices and customers are forced to buy newer devices to be able to get newer software support.
Google doesn't count any device without Google Play.

In regards to this being a "big problem", I just say: It's never been a big problem on PC.
The fact that so many people hare hanging on to legacy devices running pre-jelly bean Android is a pretty good indicator that backwards compatibility works, because if it hadn't those people would have stopped downloading apps from Google Play and they would automatically disappear from these stats.
 

freiheitner

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The difference with old OSes on PCs is that you can still get security fixes from the OS vendor regardless of who built the PC. I cannot get security fixes made in Android on my Galaxy S3 until both Samsung and my mobile carrier make an update available (which at this point they most likely never will for a device which is just now going on 3 years old). I expect to be stuck with Android 4.3 until i buy a new phone, which may very well be an iPhone (Apple Pay in particular interests me).
 

therealduckofdeath

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That's a huge exaggeration, freiheitner. Manufacturers maintain the phones during their expected lifetime on phones, too. Yes, the way the Open Handset alliance is set up it's all up to the network providers to push full firmware updates, but but both Google and Samsung has proven that they won't hesitate bypassing the network providers when a critical update is needed. Also, the way Android works today, most parts of the operating system is actually nothing more than apps in Google Play. These gets regular updates as long as they're kept alive on Google Play.
 

knowom

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It's not a big deal for more users to be honest. If I felt like trying Lollipop now I probably could find someone that's developed a custom rom for it by now even on a very old Samsung Captivate. If not now maybe in a few more months. The fact that I even have Kit Kat on a Samsung Captivate says a lot considering it shipped with Android OS, v2.1 (Eclair) which also isn't on that chart.
 

gggplaya

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"kenjitamura , January 9, 2015 4:34 PM
I think a LOT of the blame for this situation lands on the chinese android manufacturers. They can't be forced to comply with the licenses so they don't and as a result many devices are without open source code and drivers for other developers to be able to integrate them into newer android builds for those devices. Additionally, most of these chinese android manufacturers completely stop releasing new software after a few months so all of these devices are left to rot on stagnant older releases. I heard this is on purpose so that these manufacturers can limit the lifetime of the devices and customers are forced to buy newer devices to be able to get newer software support."

It's not really their fault, the chinese government blocks google servers, so they can't even access it the correct way. They have to get other people in other countries to download what they need and fileshare with them, or do some work arounds, it makes things much more difficult to work out many of the bugs.
 

kenjitamura

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Google doesn't count any device without Google Play.

In regards to this being a "big problem", I just say: It's never been a big problem on PC.
The fact that so many people hare hanging on to legacy devices running pre-jelly bean Android is a pretty good indicator that backwards compatibility works, because if it hadn't those people would have stopped downloading apps from Google Play and they would automatically disappear from these stats.
Chinese manufactured tablets come with the google play store. I've got both an Ainol and Zenithink tablet that came pre-loaded with the google play store.
 

kenjitamura

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I'm not sure how refusing to comply with the Android license and releasing the source code on the websites they have that are accessible form the U.S. relates to your point. These companies are willfully refusing to comply with every developers request sent to them to release the source code as is required by the license for developing on the android platform. A few of them have responded outright with statements that they don't have to even though that is 100% false.
 

Sanjirox

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If android updates were less buggy, there'd probably be a bigger uptake of the latest version. I'm sick of the latest updates on my nexus phones breaking something or ruining my battery life. Got the oneplus one as my daily driver and I won't touch any lollipop updates until I'm sure it's decently stable.
 

slyu9213

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I know I'm planning on upgrading to a Note 3/4 or a iPhone 6 Plus but I'm not really happy with My T-Mobile S3 being stuck with Jelly Bean while the International and some other American carriers getting KitKat. Not a huge deal anymore but I hate it when the OEM gets lazy and makes up excuses that it won't work for a particular piece of hardware.
 

ivyanev

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I don't think that the open nature of the android is to blame of the slow addoption. If the manufactures work close with google it could be that several devices recieve the update at the date of the release(if they use stock android of course). But there should be the will to update the devices as long as the hadware is complient. This cannot be done when you release 100 or more devices per year. In any case its in to manufactures hands to provide strong support and with it - a recommendation.
 

sicom

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I was promised prompt Lollipop update with my Droid Turbo, lo and behold almost 3 months later I'm still waiting.
 

SonSon1

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You forgot to mention how some manufacturers plainly refuse to update devices that are more than capable to run an updated version, say, 4.1 vs 4.4, and most people won't spend $200 and upwards thinking they will change it in a year or so.

Samsung comes to mind, they have announcing Lollipop only for their top end devices, it's no wonder the adoption rate of newer Android versions is so damn slow.
 

Mike69Hunt

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Android customization is much more than just theming and adding a theming engine would make little difference.
The main complexity of customization is where OEMs extend the platform, such as air gestures, custom cameras (although camera2 api should do away with the need to write customer cameras in the NDK tailored to specific hardware), multi-screen, tap to wake (also now included), secure containers like Knox (also now included), finger print scanners, always on voice recognition (now also being integrated).
The list goes on an on.
Google is slowly integrating these extra features into the OS, but vendors will constantly push the platform to add when they perceive as value. That;s the beauty of it being an Open Source Platform, vendors can colour round the edges and really innovate. Unlike Windoze Phone or Apple, where innovation has to come from the top.
 

soliloquist

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You have left out one of the key offenders in this process: THE PHONE CARRIERS!!

After Google releases the latest version of Android, the OEM's have to re-skin it and add their proprietary apps, then it needs to b presented to AT&T so that they can add their bloatware and then finally approve it. The slowest moving part in this chain is the phone carriers by far.

I own a Nexus phone, and I will NEVER go back to using a carrier specific phone!
 

everygamer

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What does it matter?

Anyone that has developed for Android in the last few years knows that from OS version to OS version there are not many major changes to the SDK. They do add new features, but for the most part, the majority of software out there doesn't leverage most of these new features. As such, they are written using older SDK versions. This means those application are compatible with 98% to 99% of the android ecosystem. Fragmentation only becomes an issue when you need to leverage something in the newer SDK's, and these days most of the time this is newer hardware features that the older devices don't even have. Each time a new version comes out, it supports running software built for older versions, its backward compatible.

Apple has its own fragmentation issues, the only difference is that Apple doesn't advertise it with nifty pie charts that everyone can see on the web. There are plenty of older Apple hardware that cannot support iOS 8, just go back a few iPhone (original, iphone 2, iphone 3), iPad (oringial) and iPod Touch anything before 5G) versions. The difference is Apple just states the hardware can't support it, says its old stuff and out of support, and urges you to upgrade to something better. So if you have an iOS 7 device and try to run an app built for iOS 8, its not going to work, aseptically if it needs some hardware feature that doesn't exist on the iOS 7 device. This is the same fragmentation as seen in Android. The scale is smaller because Apple is one company, selling a small inventory of devices, and it doesn't advertise a pie chart showing the breakdown of active device iOS statistics.
 

falchard

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I see I see, Cortana please note this as another reason Windows Phone OS is better.
In reality, its not actually a problem. There are a number of companies that use android as a base to their hardware. They develop their software to a particular build. Its not a wise choice to update the OS, since it may cause bugs in a stable environment. Its one of the main reasons Windows XP has hung around for so long, the software for some businesses was built for it.
 

nebun

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Google is lazy, and so are the 3rd party phone developers....i made a mistake and wend back to using an android smartphone...can't wait for the next cell from apple...hope they will make a larger battery
 

Christopher1

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I'm not sure how refusing to comply with the Android license and releasing the source code on the websites they have that are accessible form the U.S. relates to your point. These companies are willfully refusing to comply with every developers request sent to them to release the source code as is required by the license for developing on the android platform. A few of them have responded outright with statements that they don't have to even though that is 100% false.
Not 100% false by CHINESE law. You are forgetting that Chinese law differs from American law and on this subject? Google's restrictions are not enforceable in China, unfortunately.
 

tigerwild

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I have been using several Android devices and have rooted, custom OS installed and manually updated them all to newest latest versions available. The biggest issue has always been trying to find someone to take the time to build a version of the OS that I actually want. My Note II is still a top of the line phone running android 4.4.4, and I will not replace it until I see a technology implementation that I can actually take advantage of in my home town.

I have always hated the bloat that the carriers add, it is typically locked into place un-removable without excessive technical knowledge. Also there are the trojan apps that act as backdoors for government and carriers to take over your phone.

The default loads that Google generates are typically perfect, and the more default features they add, ie things that can be simply toggled active/inactive by the user, THE BETTER! Standard drivers for hardware by generalized type, rather than individual drivers that require recompiling every build are GREAT. In the end I continue to expect and get rewarded with a better build, better OS every time I upgrade it. The only issue with updates is they haven't come up with a method of keeping the standard OS separate from any feature implementations and integrations so that the OS can be upgraded completely separate from the carrier and manufacturer integrations. Well, that and the fact that the end user has to be a little more tech savy to pull off the update should one not want to wait for or use the one from the carrier.

The only disappointment I have had to date is that there isn't a great solution to using larger than 32GB cards on the Cyanogenmod builds. This is because Microsoft has stonewalled them from using exFAT or NTFS which results in lowered performance and no large file support. It is a horrible pain.
 

shovenose2

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Apple does not have this problem nearly as much for a few simply reasons:
1. They don't allow any customization bu the carriers
2. It's one company that makes a very small range of devices and they have complete control over the software and hardware.
3. Apple just ditches old devices rather than trying to keep them up to date. Fragmentation on the iOS platforms is a problem, but it's just not advertised.
 

domdymond

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The software you download and use can still receive updates for the entire life of an Android device. But the core software can only receive security updates in til a certain point. Unless you take matters in you're own hands and install a rom like cyanogen. I personally think it's best to pass you're phone on to someone who can't afford to replace there own and get yourself a new one of you can afford it after a few years. It's the equivalent of the trickle down effect. Eventually everyone will have stepped forward a version but just like people still running windows xp machines, often people just can't afford to upgrade even if the replacement is used. Plus with android the older devices might not be cutting edge tech but they do a ton of great service to the user. Frankly I think it's awesome that these devices are still running.
 

yhikum

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Not 100% false by CHINESE law. You are forgetting that Chinese law differs from American law and on this subject? Google's restrictions are not enforceable in China, unfortunately.
Chinese law would only be applicable if contract has been established in China. What you are referring though is to abide by policies and contracts (copyright of foreign company) by Chinese manufacturers. We have country borders for that particular reason.

See the action by Chinese fabricants as a positive side. They are churning out new phones with Android system helping spreading OS developed by Google. They are THE competition to western companies. Without them Android would still be behind Apple OS in terms of hardware and software.

People tend to mis-understand creativity (and I mean being creative) of Chinese makers for their ability to take a design and improve it. Very little innovation occurs in west now due to patents (take a look WHO is manufacturing phones you can buy in US and how many of them) Software is surely blooming, but without Chinese help of affordable hardware we would still be incapable of running it on older hardware.
 

vidfreek

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The problem isnt so much android and google, its the manufacturers and the carriers, for some reason the carriers dont like Android updates, plain and simple, it takes FOREVER for them to release updates, not to mention the next step up also taking their sweet time converting all of their bloatware to work with their version of the OS. Lollipop is out now and I have an LG G3 on Sprint and I probably wont be seeing an official update to my phone for months yet and I have one of the top rated devices on most top lists from last year, phone is only 6 months old and it cant get a fast release of the latest OS?

Why does it have to take so long for everyone to get all of their ducks in a row here? I've been an android fan for years now, had the first Droid on Verizon and havent looked back, but my next phone will most likely be an iPhone, 1. to try it out and see what its like as I've never had one and 2. because I'm starting to like their streamlined process, when an update comes, I know I'm going to get it and be capable of getting it for at least 2 years.

Too many android phone and tablet makers simply dont care about updating their devices. Take my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, its about 3 years old now but its running specs that can easily support Lollipop but its not even getting KitKat and its a huge joke and the same applies to so many phones as well. Apple comes right out and tells you what can be updated and for how long, Everyone else its a crap shoot and their shouldnt be almost 50% of people still on Jellybean, thats 2 versions of the OS back now....those devices could easily support KitKat but the manufacturers of those devices dont want to do it. But now that Google is stuck with this way of distributing its OS and how its used by OEMs, I dont think it will ever get better unless some direct relationship is setup and all of this OEM and Carrier crap stops. Vanilla Android is great, especially Lollipop and too many people are stuck with all of the crap that comes from the OEMs that they really dont need
 
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