Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What’s holding Android back?

      There was some confusion earlier today about whether all the Windows Phone Mango’s will get Windows Phone 8 (Apollo). According to The Verge however this is wrong. Apparently no Mango phones will be getting the upgrade. Probably makes people who just purchased, say, a Lumia 710 pretty annoyed. Even Android gets it’s updates to it’s users, eventually.

      Speaking of updates, why is it that Android updates take an agonizingly long time to reach our devices?
Probably because nearly all of the big manufacturers have their own customizations that they have to add before letting the update reach their users. I’m starting to wonder whether these modifications are to distinguish their devices from the horde of Androids storming the market.

      Android’s boon is also it’s bane. Although the growth of users, mainly due to the wide range of devices on the market, has been tremendous, the gap from when Google releases the update to when it actually reaches our hands is unacceptable. Then there’s also the problem of some devices not getting the update at all. This problem plagues the low-specced, read: low cost, devices. Yes I do understand that these devices aren’t usually powerful enough to run the new OS. But is this really a good enough excuse to make the majority of Android users feel as if they’ve purchased a second-rate device. The truth is that not everybody can or will purchase a flagship device. Most people simply can’t afford to buy a new phone each time an update is released. They buy phones expecting a service life of at least 2 years, but if every six months their device becomes “old” the number of people migrating to Android is going to slow down, eventually.


There is always the option of rooting the device and flashing a custom ROM (only possible because Android is open-source). This is perhaps the best option for those who don’t wish to wait for ages for their manufacturer ( or carrier) to push an update. Who can blame them, nobody would want to wait for their handset company to add HTC Sense, Samsung Touchwiz, Motorola Motoblur, or whatever, when you can just wait a short time for the next CyanogenMOD to release. Once it does, just Flash it and “poof” you have got yourself the new version Android (the “poof” is for sound effects only, please don’t flash it and then ask me why you didn’t hear a “poof”).

     This route to I-have-the-new-android-and-you-don’t isn’t for everybody It does require lots of common sense, and of course the willingness to break your warranty. Something most people would not do. All this means is that Google MUST find a better way to make sure that the updates actually reach our devices within a reasonable time. Should the manufacturers release a compatible stock OS first then later an optional addon or get their modified interfaces out of the shop much, much faster? We’ll have to see what they’ll do. But unless Android doesn’t address this gaping issue it is sure to invoke lots of outrage, and might even see many users shifting to other smartphones, eventually.

Stay tuned to Bits of Tech Bytes!

The image of the CyanogenMod 6 was taken by Johan Larsson from here.


Post a Comment