Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom
1. Terminal commands? Where do you people come up with this? If you can jailbreak an iphone you can change the ROM on your android.
2. If you don't care what version of Android you are running like a majority of the people, you won't have to learn how to flash a ROM.
3. Devices have full support from the manufacturers and carriers. They do receive updates. Any new phone you buy now will see official ICS in the future.
Before you make some example of locking yourself into a contract with an old Android, people do the same with the iphone 3GS which is still being sold at AT&T. Will that be getting updates 2 years from now? Hell no it won't.
I agree with points 1 and 2. What updates are available for Android devices that you refer to in point 3? When I had the HTC magic in 2009-2010 that came with Donut, I never ever received a software update from either HTC or my carrier, in this case Three.
In the second part of your third point, you state that all new phones will get ICS in the future...when is that, 2013? Or will they procrastinate long enough that they will stop selling those phones and already have the next generation of models selling, so just skip the upgrade all together? It has already been well documented that ICS will not be coming to anything except the Nexus phone until at least mid 2012, this being due to a double "certification" process by manufacturers and carriers, who will then decide arbitrarily which models will get it, and which they will leave out in the cold.
The thing is, Mushroom, I agree that it isn't entirely Google's fault. There are too many profit-driven corporations standing in between Android and 99% of the population of the OS's end users. With iOS end users benefit because there is only one profit driven corporation between them and the end product. As long as this is the case, Android will never be vertically integrated and will never be able to match iOS for user experience and integration.
I know because I've been there. I even used Android x86 on my Asus eeePC 901 netbook to make as streamlined as possible for a quick surfer before I wisened up and just got myself an iPad instead. I had to teach myself terminal commands to install it and get it working with all of the hardware on my netbook. I Googled for and found instructions, tips, and walkthroughs on how to do it. I am relatively tech savvy, and into computers, and this process still took me a few days to get everything the way I wanted it. I know that the process for installing a custom ROM on a phone is much simpler than this, but it still requires a Google or three, and comes at the risk of bricking your device, and also has the disadvantage of not being supported at all by the manufacturer, carrier, or Google itself, making the user literally on their own with nowhere to turn for official support.
My point is, that in your last paragraph, you argue that getting a new 3GS for free in combination with a cell phone contract is the same as doing it with an "old" Android phone. Is that Android phone a 3 year old model as the 3GS is? No it is not, it is at the oldest a late 2010 model. In two years, the 3GS will be 5 years old. That is ancient in terms of cellular phones! If iOS 5 is the 3GS's final supported update, then it has had a far longer and more glorious run than any Android device!
Like you, the idea of an open source, free and accessible mobile OS is very attractive to me. But unlike you, I recognise that Android is not it in practice, it is too much risk and work for the end user, unless you are into that sort of thing, and then it is awesome (if you are willing to put up with the sub-par UI interface performance). A bit like communism, in its ideal form it would be great, but in its real world practical form, it sucks, and nobody wins instead of everybody winning.