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Android Smartphone Sellers Should Patch, Refund Or Perish
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User Rank: Apprentice
5/9/2013 | 7:31:01 PM
re: Android Smartphone Sellers Should Patch, Refund Or Perish
Agreed, the carrier should bear the brunt of this simply because of the level of - well, let's call it 'customization' for the sake of civility, that they bestow upon their Android Handsets. In many cases the OEM has their portion of an update ready for months before carriers finish their testing and approval process and release the update as an OTA package.

Case in point: I purchased a Droid Bionic from Verizon in September 2011 at what was probably the most expensive price Verizon had charged for a handset to-date 300 dollars. The purchase was heavily influenced by the promise of a priority Ice Cream Sandwich update. Verizon subsequently released the Droid Razr line which used the same processors and chipsets but somehow received an Ice Cream Sandwich update months before the Bionic did, even though the Bionic was a more costly phone.

In fairness The Bionic was recently resurrected from the dead with an unexpected update to Jelly Bean 4.1.2 although I believe this was largely due to Google's purchase of Motorola and subsequent outreach to Bionic users rather than any good-will effort on the part of Verizon.

I am now using a Google Nexus phone which is about the only way to avoid the Android update circus, theater and dog&pony show...
Andrew Hornback
Andrew Hornback,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/23/2013 | 2:39:14 AM
re: Android Smartphone Sellers Should Patch, Refund Or Perish
I think it makes a lot of sense to lay this issue at the feet of the carriers, especially as Washington wavers back and forth as to whether or not the end user can root and then modify their own devices.

Example - latest version of the Android OS is 4.2.2, released 2 months ago. My personal phone, from one of the big manufacturers on one of the big carriers, is only at 4.1.2 and reports with "Your device is up to date". My wife's phone is on 2.3.6, same carrier, different manufacturer, and also reports as being up to date.

So, the update from 4.1.2 to 4.2.2 is an eye-candy update? Maybe, haven't researched it, but I think that's not quite true. The update from 2.3.6 to 4.2.2, I'm betting, has a few more security updates in it. Now, doing a little research, I'm walking around with a 6+ month old OS load on my device (even though it hasn't been 6 months since the last update was applied) and the wife's phone is running an OS that's 18+ months old.

Coming from a long history in the Windows world, if you're 18 or even 6 months behind in OS patching, you're a target, simply put. Given the ubiquity of these devices and the personal information that gets carried on and processed through them... emphatically yes, the carriers should be held responsible for securing the devices on their network by at least offering appropriate OS upgrades to end users in a more timely manner.

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor

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