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Android users not upgrading their OS to the latest version

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
Unlike the rapidly deployed updates Apple posts for the iPhone OS through iTunes, Android users are unlikely (and often unable) to apply the latest updates to their phones, according to new information published by Google and its AdMob subsidiary.

As is the case with most other alternative smartphone platforms, Android users appear to often remain stuck with the firmware version their phone shipped with originally. This is primarily due to fragmentation problems that require the hardware maker, software platform vendor, and the mobile provider to work together to create and deliver custom updates for each model.

According to Android OS ad traffic figures published by AdMob, there was an initial migration from Android 1.5 "Cupcake" to 1.6 "Donut" last fall, followed by another shift to Android 2.x "Eclair" during the holiday season. But rather than being the result of user's software upgrade cycles, it appears that the shifts were largely the result of new hardware being sold with the new version already installed on it.

"In November 2009, Android 2.0 (Eclair) gained momentum with the launch of the Motorola Droid," AdMob reports, adding that "The Motorola Droid continues to generate the vast majority of requests of Android 2.0/2.1."

In March, AdMob pointed out that the ad traffic it was monitoring remained "divided relatively evenly between the three primary versions of the OS: Android 1.5 (38%), Android 2.0 / 2.1 (35%) and Android 1.6 (26%)."

The reason for that is that users of earlier models in many cases simply can't upgrade because there's no easy to install update for their phone. Many Android phone models do not get the latest operating system updates for months after the official update is completed, due to delays by the provider or hardware maker, either of which may want or need to address layers of customization they've made to the generic Android distribution.



Two weeks ago, Google published its own stats based on Android users visiting the Android Market software store, which reflected active users who download apps, and presumably would be more likely to be up to date.

Its figures indicate that only 27.3% of Android Market visitors are running the latest version of the Android OS, while nearly 70% are still using Android 1.1, 1.5 or 1.6. That prevents those users from being able to download the latest apps, including Twitter's new client for Android, which requires the 2.1 firmware version.



Apple manages OS updates and security patches for iPhone OS users as easy to install firmware updates that are available immediately through iTunes. The company has also historically alerted users of significant new updates via a text message. Apple has also pushed its third party developers to rapidly update their apps to ensure compatibility with major new releases, as it did last year with iPhone 3.0.

Apple's interest in broadly rolling out software updates to iPhone OS clients is largely to help developers target a single, unified installed base of users. This also encourages developers to make full use of the latest operating system features. The delivery of regular updates also head off issues related to bugs or security flaws.
post #2 of 142
Wow. Huge difference from Apple. Must suck to have Android and be unable to upgrade to the latest OS when your phone may be brand new.
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post #3 of 142
This is the down side of Android. Too many phone to support. Once again, the service providers have to do the legwork to provide an update. They don't want to. They only want to support new phones.

Apple has it right. Periodic, consistent updates, dropping support for models that haven't shipped in 2+ years (that way, few people are stuck in a contract with a phone they can't update).

Go Apple. Suck it, Android. You might do some things better, but on updates, you suck.
post #4 of 142
Is this not similar to what happens with the multitude of hardware driver fixes required so Windows can run on the PCs?
post #5 of 142
iDroid Dont update
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Get A Mac.
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post #6 of 142
This is going to hurt in the long and short run and does not bode well for the platform. Plus, Google failed to get a new phone to market a week or so ago, right?
post #7 of 142
Clearly Android's strength is in serving a diverse user community. Android is also the #1 platform for developers who appreciate multitasking--coding and debugging for many platform configurations simultaneously.
/sarcasm
post #8 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

This is the down side of Android. Too many phone to support. Once again, the service providers have to do the legwork to provide an update. They don't want to. They only want to support new phones.

Apple has it right. Periodic, consistent updates, dropping support for models that haven't shipped in 2+ years (that way, few people are stuck in a contract with a phone they can't update).

Go Apple. Suck it, Android. You might do some things better, but on updates, you suck.

It's not the service providers that need to do the legwork, it's the phone manufacturers. They need to update the base Android source with the specifics for each device, as well as update the source with customizations to the UI they may have added to 'differentiate' their device from other Android-based devices. And doing all this work for free [as they have already received all the money for the phone they will ever get] AT BEST just makes the end-user more likely to buy another phone by that manufacturer down the road [except now, it's further down the road, as the user has new features on their existing phone]. The only reason for the user to upgrade to a newer phone is for some significant hardware upgrade, which is MUCH more expensive for the manufacturer to create.

If, on the other hand, the manufacturer follows the existing, longstanding pattern of NOT providing updates to phones that have already been sold, they have WAY more upside. A user is MUCH more likely to upgrade to a newer cell phone, sooner, when they know their current phone WON'T get an update, and the newer phone will only need to have changed hardware to compete with other phones in the market and not with the existing phone the user has, because they ALSO get the newer version of Android with it.

The carriers also aren't interested in making updates to existing phones available, because it means more tech support [how do I upgrade this phone], qualifying the new version of the OS, making the version customized for their carrier. Except this also doesn't financially benefit them, as then the customer doesn't upgrade to a new phone as quickly, signing a new contract extension [particularly in the US], and they don't get their cut of selling a new phone, and they get no direct financial benefit from the update either.

And both manufacturers and carriers would need to do this for all the different Android phones, greatly increasing the amount of work they need to do, essentially for free.
post #9 of 142
Stupid question: Are there security updates (for example in the form of 1.5.1, 1.6.1 etc.)?

I know, security updates for the iPhone (all updates containing security fixes, not just pure security updates) are noticeably less frequent for the iPhone OS than for Mac OS (certainly justified by a completely different permission system, aka, sandboxing).

There were eight updates for 1.x, five for 2.x and four for 3.x, within three years there where thus 20 updates (including the x.0 updates), thus roughly 1.8 months between updates. Or 1.3 months during the first year and 2.2 months for the second and third year. This a very rough measure as the updates weren't exactly evenly spread.
For Android that is five updates over about 20 months (assuming a June release of 2.2), or 4 months between updates (except naturally that a lot of Android users could get only few if any of these updates).
post #10 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiles77 View Post


Must suck to have Android and be unable to upgrade to the latest OS when your phone may be brand new.


I agree. It's a huge problem that they still sell phones with old versions of the OS.

So long as people know that they may or may not ever be able to upgrade, it's fine. Otherwise, I hope they figure out the problem in the first 30 days so they can return the phone.

This is like the old days of home computers, when you needed to check the System Requirements to see if you would be able to run a new OS or to install the cool new software. Except that everything is changing much faster now.
post #11 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Android's strength is in serving a diverse user community. Android is also the #1 platform for developers who appreciate multitasking.

Right - I guess you speak for all developers who "love" multitasking. Sure you do.
post #12 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

This is the down side of Android. Too many phone to support. Once again, the service providers have to do the legwork to provide an update. They don't want to. They only want to support new phones.


Wouldn't the device manufacturers do the updates? So that their product stays competitive? Or decide not to, on older devices, so that they could sell them more cheaply?

It seems that like the older iPhones, people are holding on to their legacy Android devices. I wonder how many current sales are devices with a legacy OS. Few, I hope.
post #13 of 142
I don't think there has been a single phone that was sold with 1.5 or 1.6 that has been updated yet...

The Moto Droid on the other hand was sold with 2.0, and has already been updated to 2.1
(so the person above with the "DROID IDon't update" comment, you are flat out wrong)

The Samsung Moment and HTC hero are scheduled to get there update very soon, Moment is due to get 2.1 in the next 48 hr's or so, and hero with in the next week. As reported by the "Android and me" web site.

The G1 may not get 2.1 due to hardware requirements, then again i am running 2.1 on my G1 thanks to Cyanogen.

The Moto Cliq is going to get an update per an announcement by Moto.

Will there be some phones left behind because one of the 3 partners decides not to update? Probably, but that is a business decision.

Apple controls every aspect of the iPhone, even down to the applications you can install. This control does allow for a smother update process, but limits the amount of personal freedom you have on our device. Android on the other hand needs to have the hardware manufacture and the provider work together to bring you an update, so updates are more cumbersome and take longer. There is an advantage to this... Customizable UI's, personal freedom to install anything you like, and variety between different Android devices.

I am an Android guy and like my freedom of choice.
Apple will always make a great innovative product, but the amount of control they wield over the device is almost scary.

Anyway, i am sure i will get flamed here considering this is an Apple fan site, but i think Android will become the defacto OS for smart-phones in the next few years.
post #14 of 142
this is the reason i left moto for htc winmo then to apple. I go with what makes life easy. I had a 1st gen iphone for 3 years and was able to upgrade with no prob. I had winmo for a year and coudnt upgrade for 3 different versions and for moto i coudnt upgrade once. they all wanted me to purchase a new phone. I like apple and micro. To tell you the truth i like all platforms BUT IN THE END I CHOOSE APPLE FOR ITS EASE OF USE. People need to stop that mac pc crap and choose what doesnt make them upgrade for a point upgrade. Thats crazy. you should at least get a few years out of a device before being forced to upgrade to a new device at the price these toys cost.
post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by superman9740 View Post

Right - I guess you speak for all developers who "love" multitasking. Sure you do.

What's not to love about Android, if you enjoy coding for a gazillion platform configurations at one time?
post #16 of 142
Isn't this kind of crap why Apple invented the iPhone in the first place? Phones were antiquated in a short amount of time, left supportless, and often were crappily made? Apple's fix was to come up with their own phone - one that had a longer support life and was well made. I think they succeeded. Apple's central control is something that works, and works well. Leave it to the OEM and the consumer to update, and not the carrier. Verizon is one of the worst in terms of control. They're the Comcast of wireless communication.
post #17 of 142
"I am an Android guy and like my freedom of choice."

Not meant to be a flame, just curious. What choices have you made on your Android that you could not have on an iPhone?
post #18 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekeefe41 View Post

.. Customizable UI's, personal freedom to install anything you like, and variety between different Android devices.

You can do this on the iPhone as well, by jailbreaking....
post #19 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaadktda View Post

"I am an Android guy and like my freedom of choice."

Not meant to be a flame, just curious. What choices have you made on your Android that you could not have on an iPhone?

Yeah, I'm curious about that as well. I'm stuck with crummy ol' 1.5. The list of 2.1 apps will continue to grow and I'll continue to wish... VZW promised an upgrade end of Q1 and it didn't happen and now it's too late to return this piece o crap and they want $375 to kill my contract... Completely bogus.

Gotta love android.
post #20 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

I wonder how many current sales are devices with a legacy OS. Few, I hope.

I wish that were the case, but judging by the number of handsets with older OS's on them, I doubt it. I don't have any hard numbers, but let's count the phones running Android 1.5 here in the U.S.:

HTC Hero, Samsung Moment, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Cliq, Motorola Backflip, MyTouch 3G, Sony Experia X10

To my knowledge, these are the only ones running 2.0/2.1:

Motorola Droid, Nexus One, HTC Incredible

That's quite a difference, especially considering the Nexus One isn't sold in any stores and basically is unknown outside of the tech community.
post #21 of 142
Wow. What a fundmental flaw to the whole model. There is all this complaining about apples control, but it looks like Android, under this model is out of control.

One platform with unified update that covers all devices (regardless of model) vs. an update that needs to be filtered through and patched by each manufacturer and then each provider. The Android idea was nice, but the actual execution is not. Google opened this up to too much fragmentation that as the years go by it will get worse and worse.

Oh, well. I have a 3GS so it's not an issue here. It will do what I bought it for, and more soon, until the 5th Generation version comes out.

I have to say Apple may not give you the whole thing up front, but when they give it to you it is usually a better way of doing it than others can come up with.
post #22 of 142
Android is certainly a worthy competitor to iPhone OS but not being able to get the latest update would frustrate me to no end.
post #23 of 142
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG
I wonder how many current sales are devices with a legacy OS. Few, I hope.
I wish that were the case, but judging by the number of handsets with older OS's on them, I doubt it. I don't have any hard numbers, but let's count the phones running Android 1.5 here in the U.S.

HTC Hero, Samsung Moment, HTC Droid Eris, Motorola Cliq, Motorola Backflip, MyTouch 3G, Sony Experia X10

To my knowledge, these are the only ones running 2.0/2.1:

Motorola Droid, Nexus One, HTC Incredible

That's quite a difference, especially considering the Nexus One isn't sold in any stores and basically is unknown outside of the tech community.

Yep, If the update for a device is't in the field it's also not going to be on store shelves. Year old Android phone will likely have the same old OS, on the shelf or off.
post #24 of 142
What google should be doing is as follows: making Android have a compadiblity layer which makes it easy to upgrade the phones. It should make it so that android would automatically detect the architecture in the phone and then upgrade accordingly. If Google does this then i could see people upgrading their phones much easier. Also, Google should have come up with some interface guidelines so that some phones wouldn't have had a UI that would break when there is an update, such as HTC's touch sense. This would have essentially left the updates to Google, and not the handset makers who want to make money.
post #25 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaadktda View Post

"I am an Android guy and like my freedom of choice."

Not meant to be a flame, just curious. What choices have you made on your Android that you could not have on an iPhone?

Reality check. I would guess that for people who want "choice" it is the underlying principle that seems to count. In reality that means that they would want apps that are politically, morally, or technically questionable (in the eyes of some - granted, likely including my eyes). In reality that also means that you have access to a couple of thousand apps that Apple does not want, BUT you miss a 100 000 apps that Apple currently has over the Android, PLUS their regular upgrade system (both of app and OS). Some choice.
post #26 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMan View Post

Reality check. I would guess that for people who want "choice" it is the underlying principle that seems to count. In reality that means that they would want apps that are politically, morally, or technically questionable (in the eyes of some - granted, likely including my eyes). In reality that also means that you have access to a couple of thousand apps that Apple does not want, BUT you miss a 100 000 apps that Apple currently has over the Android, PLUS their regular upgrade system (both of app and OS). Some choice.

Umm lets see tethering, multitasking would be two things that currently come to the top as things android can do iphone can't (don't attack that multitasking is on the horizon as its just as on the horizon for AAPL as its just as much on the horizon as the android updates for legacy devices that this whole article bases itself from)...well that and also save me $40 a month not paying the apple premium for sub-par at&T service v another provider...I also love the app comparison saying iphone has soooo many more apps...guess what; apple's model is built off the idea that 99% of people use the same "apps" so the fringe apps are a cute idea but if you really plan to hang your hat on those thats great but when ~5 people are using an app I don't consider it a "must have" like lots who seem to imply they couldn't live without all 150k apps...I ditched my iphone; love my IPAD wouldn't ever go back for cell svc but like I said I'm fair love my ipad it is sick...Also nice to see Steve is your moral compass on things and whatever he allows/disallows into the app store including "political cartoons" are way too objectionable for you...maybe you shouldn't open that NY Times app for fear of being offended by the cartoons... All hail Chairman Mao err Steve. PS Lemme know how you like Steve pushing iAds to your mobile phone wasting your time while charging a premium to have ad subsidized svc...not saying GOOG isn't headed in this direction, just expect apple's integration to be more "in your face"
post #27 of 142
Maybe the Android OS is so awesome out of the box that users don't see a need to update.

Hey, i've been wrong before.
post #28 of 142
I'm surprised that this article doesn't delve into Android v2.2 (aka Froyo) and how it attempts to tackle fragmentation.
post #29 of 142
The handset manufacturers are probably very happy with the difficult upgrade process. They would rather sell you a new phone every year or two anyway.

The problem with that line of thinking is that there is zero brand loyalty. Who cares if the most recent Android phone is an HTC, LG, Samsung, or whatever? The latest Android phone on the market will have the most recent version of the software. And if it happens to be on a user's carrier, they'll buy that instead of whatever brand their old phone is.

There's your "choice". Android owners can choose between current or obsolete Android 1.x or 2.x versions, on any number of generic Brand X phones. As long as it's on their carrier. LOL.

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post #30 of 142
Yea when you gotta swtich carriers to get a new version of the phone, and a month later have another phone on another carrier come out with a way better OS you know you picked the wrong mobile OS.

Apple has done an increadible job of running basically the same software on iPhone 2G, 3G, 3GS, iPod Touch 1, 2 and 3. Yes some apps are slower, some are faster and some don't work on some of the older devices but most apps and even OS 3.0 works on all the devices so far. I guess there will be a break with 4.0, but that will kick out the oldest devices basically and will probably be supporter by another 3 generations of iProducts.

And you don't have to switch carriers to get the latest phones
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post #31 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekeefe41 View Post

Anyway, i am sure i will get flamed here considering this is an Apple fan site, but i think Android will become the defacto OS for smart-phones in the next few years.

Android users are mostly childish who are ideological in their view of life. "I love freedom. I love options. I love free stuff. Free stuff are created by saints who live frugally. I hate rich people. Rich people are crooks. People who loves money are bad."

Apple users are practical people who simply choose gadgets that help them do their work. These people do not care about the childish criticisms that is spreading across the world. They just do their work with the best tools available.

Android may be the defacto OS for smartphones, but iPhone will be the defacto smartphone.
post #32 of 142
... edit: I read "have" instead of "haven't" so my entire reply was moot. deleted.
post #33 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

The handset manufacturers are probably very happy with the difficult upgrade process. They would rather sell you a new phone every year or two anyway.

The problem with that line of thinking is that there is zero brand loyalty. Who cares if the most recent Android phone is an HTC, LG, Samsung, or whatever? The latest Android phone on the market will have the most recent version of the software. And if it happens to be on a user's carrier, they'll buy that instead of whatever brand their old phone is.

There's your "choice". Android owners can choose between current or obsolete Android 1.x or 2.x versions, on any number of generic Brand X phones. As long as it's on their carrier. LOL.

This is so true.

Ironically, the carriers and phone manufacturers are just shooting themselves in the foot with this strategy anyway though. Almost everyone I know who got the first iPhone (me included) has upgraded every single year to the new model just because they love it so much and Apple is so cool.

If you offer a fantastic product, people will line up to buy it and buy a new version every year, If you just want to shovel crap out the door, be an Android manufacturer.
post #34 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greggae512 View Post

Umm lets see tethering, multitasking would be two things that currently come to the top as things android can do iphone can't ...

Not true about the tethering. iPhone has had tethering for ages and it's used every day around the world.

AT&T won't allow it in the USA, but that's a different thing altogether. iPhone tethers just fine and pretty much every market it sells in allows it *except* for the USA.
post #35 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by aaadktda View Post

"I am an Android guy and like my freedom of choice."

Not meant to be a flame, just curious. What choices have you made on your Android that you could not have on an iPhone?

Not going to lie, and if your male you should be honest with yourself

PORN
post #36 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaypres View Post

Android users are mostly childish who are ideological in their view of life. "I love freedom. I love options. I love free stuff. Free stuff are created by saints who live frugally. I hate rich people. Rich people are crooks. People who loves money are bad."

Apple users are practical people who simply choose gadgets that help them do their work. These people do not care about the childish criticisms that is spreading across the world. They just do their work with the best tools available.

Android may be the defacto OS for smartphones, but iPhone will be the defacto smartphone.

I think with every release cycle the iPhone will probably take the top spot in the world of SmartPhones.

Then again, who knows. I wonder if the next iPhone will out perform the HTC EVO? Who knows.

Oh yea, thanks for painting all Android users with a broad and insulting brush. You once again prove the prejudice that Apple users are elitist, self righteous, closed minded jerks too be completely false. You sir are a tribute to the Apple community, A community... i might add i was once a part of, Duel core G4 tower FTW!

At least back then the false belief i had that Apple had superior software AND HARDWARE could be justified by the fact that they actually used DIFFERENT HARDWARE.
Things are much clearer now.

Did you happen to see this?
http://www.fastcompany.com/1630554/a...mobile-web-use

have a nice day
post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ekeefe41 View Post

Not going to lie, and if your male you should be honest with yourself

PORN

Thanks for painting all male users with a broad and insulting brush. You once again prove the prejudice that porn users are male.

Actually, not all males like "porn" and as far as I heard, teh Internets are full of porn so there's no reason that you can't have porn on your iPhone if you want that.
post #38 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdUcAtE View Post

Yeah, I'm curious about that as well. I'm stuck with crummy ol' 1.5. The list of 2.1 apps will continue to grow and I'll continue to wish... VZW promised an upgrade end of Q1 and it didn't happen and now it's too late to return this piece o crap and they want $375 to kill my contract... Completely bogus.

Gotta love android.

What do you have the Droid Eris?
What did you pay for that? 99 with a contract? Or was it free?

Not to be too combative, but you did pick the cheap DROID...

Anyway, if you don't want to wait for the official update there is always rooting your phone.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f=554
The how to
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=647707

I have 2.1 on my G1 and it runs great, lave wallpapers and all. You have superior hardware to mins so i assume your custom ROM's will run even better. Then again i have Cyanogen coding my stuff He rocks.
post #39 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

Thanks for painting all male users with a broad and insulting brush. You once again prove the prejudice that porn users are male.

Actually, not all males like "porn" and as far as I heard, teh Internets are full of porn so there's no reason that you can't have porn on your iPhone if you want that.

Have you ever watched porn?
Have you ever watched porn on your iPhone?

Let he who has never enjoyed a little porn cast the first stone!
I think Jesus said that, he was awesome.... or was it Mohammad.... (Support South Park)
post #40 of 142
most people are paying $x up front plus $y per month in a 2 year contract that actually "buys" their phone. and once the 2 years are up, you don't automatically get a monthly rate reduction, although you could shop around maybe.

given that, you think that updating to better new hardware and the latest version of an OS every two years costs you just that $x. your monthly $y stays the same anyway. although with Android you will probably have to also buy all your old apps again to work with the latest OS version. so that costs you an extra $z every 2 years too. if you have a good number of apps, $z will probably be as much as $x. so ok, this two year cycle costs you about $2x every 2 years.

if $x = $100 or less, people don't really care. which is where most Android phones will likely wind up being priced anyway. but there will be resistance to spend more once people realize the problem in the next year or so.

iPhone owners are paying more for $x, and probably most will try to wait 3 or 4 years to replace an iPhone when there is a big hardware difference from their old model. Apple's annual updates and longer term app compatibility is a big plus for them. for them paying $400 every 4 years is as good a price as a new cheaper Android phone every 2 years. and much less hassle.

it's the differene between a premium product and a cheap commodity product.
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