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

post #1 of 68
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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 doesnt 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 doesnt 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."
post #2 of 68
How dissappointing! I read through specifically to see the complaints about DED only to find out that I got to the party too early...
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post #3 of 68
"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."
post #4 of 68
Cue the fan boi's in 5....4...3...2...oh wait you'll still have to wait
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post #5 of 68
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.
post #6 of 68
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.

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post #7 of 68
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
post #8 of 68
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?
post #9 of 68
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
post #10 of 68
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.
post #11 of 68
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.
post #12 of 68
Hahahahahahahahahaha..............................
post #13 of 68
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.
post #14 of 68
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.
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post #15 of 68
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.
post #16 of 68
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.
post #17 of 68
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.

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post #18 of 68
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.
post #19 of 68
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.
post #20 of 68
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".

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post #21 of 68
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.
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corrections View Post

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

You can't screw the willing. As I said, if updates matter, get a Nexus (even if they're not released day of--that shouldn't even really matter). If having an outdated phone updated outside of a contract period is important, get an iPhone. Nexuses are updated for roughly 2-years, which is when most people's contracts are expiring, thus most would get a new phone anyway.

And at least the Nexus updates don't cripple one's phone like iOS4 did to my iPhone 3G and made it very nearly unusable (and is partially what drove me to Nexus).
post #23 of 68
Interesting. I have read a number of reviews about ICS on the GED phone and it was all roses, in particular about how Google has closed the gap between iOS and Android in features, polish etc.

Reality is that ICS won't really be the Android OS for another 2 years as owners cycle through contracts and get new phones, or worse since out of all the devices you could buy now only one has it and the rest will still be on sale for 6 months. Could be as long as 3 years.

But by then I suppose Android will have cycled through custard tart and fluffer nutter versions. So even in two years it will only be a small segment that even could have ICS, effectively those in a 1 year window starting in about 6 months and some lucky stragglers.

The contrast is huge.

Another interesting story in all this that I have not read about is what happens at the release of a new model. With Apple on that day you can no longer buy the previous models, the telco/apple store etc has no "sale of the old stock" (I suppose some tiny resellers may still and don't know how Walmart etc work in the USA).

In the local telco at the moment there are phones with different versions of android for sale alongside each other and I'm not even sure if there is an ICS version because the phones get named differently over in Oz so you the reviews never match up with what is in shop.
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post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post

Interesting. I have read a number of reviews about ICS on the GED phone and it was all roses, in particular about how Google has closed the gap between iOS and Android in features, polish etc.

Reality is that ICS won't really be the Android OS for another 2 years as owners cycle through contracts and get new phones, or worse since out of all the devices you could buy now only one has it and the rest will still be on sale for 6 months. Could be as long as 3 years.

But by then I suppose Android will have cycled through custard tart and fluffer nutter versions. So even in two years it will only be a small segment that even could have ICS, effectively those in a 1 year window starting in about 6 months and some lucky stragglers.

The contrast is huge.

Another interesting story in all this that I have not read about is what happens at the release of a new model. With Apple on that day you can no longer buy the previous models, the telco/apple store etc has no "sale of the old stock" (I suppose some tiny resellers may still and don't know how Walmart etc work in the USA).

In the local telco at the moment there are phones with different versions of android for sale alongside each other and I'm not even sure if there is an ICS version because the phones get named differently over in Oz so you the reviews never match up with what is in shop.

Some of the features seem to be closing the gap but the overall feel of Android is still inelegant. It feels like it was designed by children for children.

Check out this video. This is not something Apple would ever release: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=-F_ke3rxopc

And there are more than the options to blatantly copy Apple or create a crap UI. Just like at WinPh7. It's excellent from the ground up. It's unique. It's beautiful.

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post #25 of 68
Unlike Google, Apple have a 3-4 month beta period of their OS. During this time carriers can test the OS.

If Google also had an open beta, they would not have as much problems as they have.

How is it with backups and Apps on Android?
I have backups from my original iPhone that I can read into my phone. Handy if I need a special SMS or call list. Can an Ericsson phone read the backups from a Motorola phone? I doubt it.

How is it when people change phones? Apple: Sync your phone: all SMS, contacts, layout, apps are synced.
I bet that is not the same with Android. I can't just plug in my new Nexus and have all my contacts, layout and so on transferred.

How about Apps? If I buy 100 Android apps on my HTC and change to a Motorola: will the apps automatically transfer? Will they even work? How do people sync their stuff? Dragging folders in explorer?

The sad thing with Android is that most Android users never have/will use iOS. They believe its natural to have malware, that stuff won't work with a new phone and so on.

I think Apples strategy is great. Supporting 2+ year old phones. I bet that many do the same thing as I do: when I get the latest iPhone, someone in my family gets the old on. That is one more person liberated from fragmented systems.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

How dissappointing! I read through specifically to see the complaints about DED only to find out that I got to the party too early...

Does this mean you don't read the articles before the comments?? I on the other hand always read the entire article before I start going through the comments, which I read all or I don't bother with the topic.
post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by shompa View Post

How is it when people change phones? Apple: Sync your phone: all SMS, contacts, layout, apps are synced.

Actually, it's even easier on Android for some things. Contacts and mail are synced the moment you login--no PC or cables are required. Same is true for SMS if you use Google Voice.

Apps, as far as I know, do not have a built-in sync function, though there are third-party programs available to do so. Hopefully this too will be off-set by the cloud soon.
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyo View Post

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.

So? From a consumer perspective, does it matter what their excuse is?

The fact is that with iOS, you'll have access to new versions as soon as they're available. With Android, you'll get new versions when the carrier gets around to it. Someday. Maybe.
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post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyo View Post

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.

naaah It just takes these carriers longer to get the root kits working right
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Check out this video.

I probably would have thought that that was a cool commercial, if it were released 25 years ago when the Tron arcade game was still hip.

I remember playing the lightcycles on that arcade game, I fed plenty of quarters into those machines.
post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flash_beezy View Post

Cue the fan boi's in 5....4...3...2...oh wait you'll still have to wait

What, the Android fans here, you mean?

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post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

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.

Well said. And that's why I love my Apple products so much.
post #33 of 68
Google is looking more and more like Microsoft.
post #34 of 68
That makes a lot of sense. What is the #1 response I get when someone asks me for an opinion of which computer or smartphone they should buy and I suggest an Apple product? "It's too expensive!"

There is a saying that "you get what you pay for." Yes, I could've bought a much cheaper Android smartphone (perhaps even free with some contracts) when I purchased my iPhone 3GS. Guess what? I'm two cycles behind the latest and greatest (iPhone 4 and now 4S are out) but running iOS5 smoothly with no need to do some crazy hacker stuff!

This is just my opinion: "Apple's relatively open-handed support policies" are made possible because we bought it at time of purchase by paying a higher but still reasonable price. Everyone has their own priorities but in my opinion it was worth it! The Android rallying cry seems to center on it being "free." Peace of mind comes at a price - and it's not free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottyo View Post

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.
post #35 of 68
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.

Agreed! I was just shopping at Target and I was thinking most of these people just want cheap stuff...crappy tv's, crappy phones, etc., etc.

...for a variety of socioeconomic reasons! E.g., Kids, divorce, low paying jobs, debt, education, or a combination of all of the above. Sad.
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

Agreed! I was just shopping at Target and I was thinking most of these people just want cheap stuff...crappy tv's, crappy phones, etc., etc.

You know a lot of Androids are as much as your iPhone...
post #37 of 68
They did. IT will be resolved either by 1) Apple paying a lot of money to use the rights, or 2) changing the name for the Chinese market. I would personally go with number 2.



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
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by capoeira4u View Post

Well said. And that's why I love my Apple products so much.

You two are skipping detail and going straight to the big picture. Apple has what to update? Tablets and their own phones? Android has multiple COMPANIES. Apple is only one company. Much easier. Also, the iPhone is a piece of crud (build wise). I saw someone drop it on their table holding it to their face at a resteraunt and the screen smash. Interesting.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Androiding View Post

You two are skipping detail and going straight to the big picture. Apple has what to update? Tablets and their own phones? Android has multiple COMPANIES.

So what? You're looking at it from the "how can I defend Google" perspective. From a consumer's perspective, the question is "can I upgrade?" The answer is "if you're running iOS, yes. If you're running Android, probably not." The reason doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Androiding View Post

Apple is only one company. Much easier. Also, the iPhone is a piece of crud (build wise). I saw someone drop it on their table holding it to their face at a resteraunt and the screen smash. Interesting.

The iPhone is a piece of crud? Bull. The iPhone is an extremely well built phone. Sure, if you drop a something made of glass or it it with a hammer, it might break, but that doesn't say that it's poorly made. OTOH, my daughter's Android phone literally fell apart. THAT is poor build quality.
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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Androiding View Post

You two are skipping detail and going straight to the big picture. Apple has what to update? Tablets and their own phones? Android has multiple COMPANIES. Apple is only one company. Much easier. Also, the iPhone is a piece of crud (build wise). I saw someone drop it on their table holding it to their face at a resteraunt and the screen smash. Interesting.

OK, I think you need to rework the Google Translate. I can't tell what you're saying. But I'm going to take a try at responding.

For what it's worth, I've dropped my iPhone twice on the pavement, with a bumper, and not a single scratch or a dent. So maybe that means the build is better than "crud"?
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