Motorola, Sony Ericsson explain to customers why they won't get the new Android 4.0 for months

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Unlike Apple, which immediately released its new iOS 5 on the same day for all its current devices, including models that are now over two years old, Motorola Mobility and Sony Ericsson are offering their customers excuses as to why the latest release of Google's Android 4.0 won't be available to them for many more months, if ever.



Motorla Mobility and Sony Ericsson have issued lengthly explanations offering various reasons why their customers won't receive updates anytime soon to Google's Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which was made available in a generic form three weeks ago.



The explanations highlight a major difference between Apple's integrated iOS software and Google's broadly licensed Android platform.



Open like Windows, if it were only launched by Dell



"Like you, we are excited to see that Google released the source code to Android Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)!" Motorola stated in a blog posting.



"There are many steps and processes that go into Ice Cream Sandwich in a way that works for the carrier and for you," Motorola states, adding, "once source code is released from Google, it doesn?t automatically update to your device."



Both Motorola and Sony Ericsson are members of the Open Handset Alliance tasked with developing Android, and therefore might be understood to be privy to the development of the latest Android release before its final appearance. However, Motorola explains that "each new version of Android launches with one device partner, in what is called the 'Google Experience Device' or GED, the showcase device for a new Android release."



A very short list of Motorola's Android 4.0 updates



Outside of the launch partner, other members of the Android community only gain "access to the Android source code as its [sic] made public shortly after," Motorola explains. Now that has happened, the company says it is "currently assessing this source code, and over the next month we will be determining which devices will get the upgrade and when."



Android licensees' lists of supported devices that will get updates to the latest release of Android typically only involve very recent, new devices. In Motorola's case, it only notes the Droid RAZR, Droid Bionic and Xoom tablets as its current targets for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.



This excludes the once highly touted Motorola Atrix 4G that was launched alongside Apple's iPhone 4 last year, along with the also relatively new and widely sold Droid 2, Droid X and X2 models, all of which will be stuck with last year's Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The original Droid/Milestone, which arrived a few months after Apple's iPhone 3GS, is stuck on Android 2.2 Froyo, an even older release.







Sony Ericsson similarly noted that the release of Android 4.0 "meant the start of an intensive period for the engineers at Sony Ericsson, in order to create a working, stable and certified software release of Ice Cream Sandwich for our 2011 Xperia? phones."



That excludes support for Sony Ericsson's Xperia X10, released in the US last fall with specs similar to the iPhone 4. It will be stuck with Gingerbread, but as Wikipedia notes, "Since the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) update the phone has suffered a stuttering in play or streaming of music regardless of file association. The only solution currently is to root your phone and apply a patch located on the XDA developers forum. Sony refuses to acknowledge the problem and have as of late offered no solution to this bug."



This fractionalization of the Android platform means that developers have few reasons to incorporate support for features in the latest version of Android, because most Android users are still using a version that's over a year old (according to Google). As of December 1, half of the traffic visiting Android Market is still using last winter's 2.3.x Gingerbread, while more than 45 percent is using an even older version.



The long road to releasing Android 4.0



For the few models it chooses to support with an update, Motorola says it must spend some time incorporating support for unique hardware involved in its products, including the specific processors, GPUs and other chips that are not natively supported in the generic Android release.



"This is also the time when we begin integrating all of the Motorola-specific software enhancements into the source code," the company adds. " Features like MotoCast, Smart Actions, and our comprehensive enterprise solutions are integral parts of our device experiences, and we want to make sure we continue delivering differentiated experiences for our consumers with these software upgrades."



Some of Motorola's additional software has had the side effect of breaking Android's permissions-based security system, although not nearly as bad as HTC and Samsung's additional software, which researchers note has opened up the ability for rogue apps to steal private, data, track users' precise locations, wipe the phone entirely, or record calls and send paid SMS messages.







Carriers add more months to Android rollouts



Once an Android licensee has finished working out release bugs to an acceptable level, it releases its hardware-specific updates to the mobile carriers, which have to test and certify the updates, something that Motorola says can involve "a two-month preparation cycle to enter a carrier lab cycle of one to three months."



"Contrary to what people may think," Sony Ericsson states, "it is not the Bring up phase [adding vendor hardware and software customizations], but the Certification and approval phase that is the most time consuming process when it comes to getting a new software release out on our phones.



"This is one of the major tasks that are legally required from us as phone manufacturer, but is a task that the custom ROM community doesn?t have to take into consideration. Furthermore, by putting all this efforts into testing and certification, we ensure that quality and conformance is at a top level, in benefit for all consumers worldwide."
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Comments

  • bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,719member
    How dissappointing! I read through specifically to see the complaints about DED only to find out that I got to the party too early...
  • inkswampinkswamp Posts: 337member
    "Motorla Mobility and Sony Ericsson have issued lengthly explanations offering various reasons why their customers won't receive updates anytime soon..."



    The hidden cost of "free."
  • flash_beezyflash_beezy Posts: 239member
    Cue the fan boi's in 5....4...3...2...oh wait you'll still have to wait
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,234member
    Good article!



    Android is a freaking mess and a complete nightmare, and this is just one more reason why. I doubt that their user base really cares though.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,115member
    It makes sense. Google is not as vertically integrated from silicon to the UI as Apple is. Just releasing ICS means handset makers and carriers get to start their integration work, and they can decide which handsets will officially get support for ICS. It's a different ecosystem. I'm sure those able to root their phone enjoy being first to load ICS on their non-supported handset, more or less for geek bragging rights. Meanwhile, ordinary users (non-geeks) wonder what all the fuss is about.
  • gwlaw99gwlaw99 Posts: 134member
    Does anyone else wonder why Apple Insider hasn't published anything on the biggest Apple story in recent weeks? Apple lost its trademark on "iPad" in China.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...-6BILLION.html
  • winstein2010winstein2010 Posts: 401member
    I wonder how the carriers are involved with iOS. Does Apple just timed with various carriers perfectly, or does Apple have a totally difference process for releasing the IOS upgrades?
  • apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,234member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gwlaw99 View Post


    Does anyone else wonder why Apple Insider hasn't published anything on the biggest Apple story in recent weeks? Apple lost its trademark on "iPad" in China.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...-6BILLION.html



    Maybe you're blind, but I remember reading about that here. It seems as if you're trying to imply that it was deliberately avoided. You're wrong. Do you use an Android phone by the way? I ask that question since you don't have any comments on this topic, but you are eager to talk about some other topic that has already been discussed, lol.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...k_lawsuit.html
  • redbarchettaredbarchetta Posts: 149member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Good article!



    Android is a freaking mess and a complete nightmare, and this is just one more reason why. I doubt that their user base really cares though.



    They have options. If you want the latest updates, they have the option of getting a Nexus. If they want something else, they have that option too. As long as you know what you're buying into, this news shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.



    Would it be ideal if every carrier updated? Sure. But that's the choice you make when buying a specific model.
  • gwlaw99gwlaw99 Posts: 134member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Maybe you're blind, but I remember reading about that here. It seems as if you're trying to imply that it was deliberately avoided. You're wrong.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...k_lawsuit.html



    I am bind. Was just curious. I missed it.
  • scottmcp432scottmcp432 Posts: 3member
    Hahahahahahahahahaha..............................
  • hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 751member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post


    They have options. If you want the latest updates, they have the option of getting a Nexus. If they want something else, they have that option too. As long as you know what you're buying into, this news shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.



    Would it be ideal if every carrier updated? Sure. But that's the choice you make when buying a specific model.



    Yep, the Nexus One, which is newer than the iPhone 3GS, won't be getting ICS officially. The Nexus S, which is newer than the iPhone 4, won't be getting ICS until later. In contrast, Apple gave iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 owners iOS 5 the same day they had it on their brand new flagship phone, if not a day or two early (I can't remember if they released it a day early or not this time, I know they did with iOS 4.)



    The point is, Apple always has and always will support their devices better than any other company out there. Motorola, Sony, Samsung, HTC, etc. couldn't care less about updating their old phones, they'd rather you buy a new one to get the new software. Apple supports you from the birth of your device to its dying breath, and believes you will come back again for another phone in a couple years because you were satisfied with the device, sure, but also the support of the device.
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,218member
    It's even more of a mess than people know. My neighbor bought a cheap tablet several months ago and installed Android on it. But, it wasn't an "official" Android tablet. A few months later, he was unable to access the app market due to this. Only recently was this policy apparently rescinded.
  • correctionscorrections Posts: 1,142member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post


    They have options. If you want the latest updates, they have the option of getting a Nexus. If they want something else, they have that option too. As long as you know what you're buying into, this news shouldn't come as a shock to anyone.



    Would it be ideal if every carrier updated? Sure. But that's the choice you make when buying a specific model.



    Want a software update for a "free, open" OS? Buy a new smartphone! Screw your contract, it only costs a few hundred bucks to get a new phone that is supported!



    That's how Android saves people so much money... er. wait. How is begin screwed an advantage?



    Further, if you mean "you should buy Google-branded Android phones if you want updates," recall that Google's own iPhone 4-speced Nexus One won't be getting ICS either. You need a brand new phone to get it. So much for free and open. It's a platform worse than Windows.



    At least when Microsoft pushed out XP or Vista you could still install it on your reasonably new PC (a year or two old). With Android, you need a brand new phone, and many brand new models won't even ship with ICS for another 3-6 months! Insanity.



    Meanwhile, iPhone 3GS users from 2009 can still install the newest iOS 5 the same day it came out for Apple's newest models.
  • mbarriaultmbarriault Posts: 237member
    I'm just going to point this part out



    Quote:

    it is not the Bring up phase, but the Certification and approval phase that is the most time consuming process when it comes to getting a new software release out on our phones.



    and remind people that iOS updates reach every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on the same day at the same hour for every carrier in every country.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    It makes sense. Google is not as vertically integrated from silicon to the UI as Apple is. Just releasing ICS means handset makers and carriers get to start their integration work, and they can decide which handsets will officially get support for ICS. It's a different ecosystem. I'm sure those able to root their phone enjoy being first to load ICS on their non-supported handset, more or less for geek bragging rights. Meanwhile, ordinary users (non-geeks) wonder what all the fuss is about.



    Don't forget the geeks that are too busy doing other things that they just want their phone to work right and well.



    I got back into Macs as an adult because I just didn't want to deal with Windows BS after dealing with it all day. I just wanted something that works.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Maybe you're blind, but I remember reading about that here. It seems as if you're trying to imply that it was deliberately avoided. You're wrong. Do you use an Android phone by the way? I ask that question since you don't have any comments on this topic, but you are eager to talk about some other topic that has already been discussed, lol.



    http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...k_lawsuit.html



    I don't know gwlaw99 but this type of comment is common, usually from Hagger or MacTripper (or whatever his new handle is). Whenever there is an article that paints a competitor to Apple in a negative light there is always a comment questioning why AI is ignoring such-and-such. Usually they already have, or the story is too new and the article is still being written. Something that differentiates AI from other tech news is AI isn't a blog site posting Twitter length articles. They could use some better proofreading at times, but they are a great site for news. The Verge is also great and showing the world the future of tech news. I hope AI staff will taking some formatting clues and following suit.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    I'm just going to point this part out







    and remind people that iOS updates reach every iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch on the same day at the same hour for every carrier in every country.



    Seriously this takes a huge burden off the carriers. Apple does all the hard work and if there are problems the carriers forward customers to Apple.
  • mbarriaultmbarriault Posts: 237member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    Seriously this takes a huge burden off the carriers. Apple does all the hard work and if there are problems the carriers forward customers to Apple.



    And this is exactly the responsibility that Motorola et al should be taking, and getting the updates to users quicker. None of them do. Seriously, not even a single exception, which indicates that Apple is the (sole) exception in willing to take on that burden to give users a more timely experience when getting new software.
  • jensonbjensonb Posts: 508member
    It amazes me that supporters of the Open Handset Alliance can discuss the preposterous Google Experience Devices initiative without a hint of irony. Apparently "Open" is now a word meaning "Beholden to Mountain View".
  • scottyoscottyo Posts: 45member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    And this is exactly the responsibility that Motorola et al should be taking, and getting the updates to users quicker. None of them do. Seriously, not even a single exception, which indicates that Apple is the (sole) exception in willing to take on that burden to give users a more timely experience when getting new software.



    Other makers' profit margins are much slimmer than Apple's, and they probably can't afford to emulate Apple's relatively open-handed support policies.
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