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Old 11-09-2011, 09:00 PM
Jeff Campbell
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Default Android Has Fixed Fragmentation! Well, Perhaps Not...

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='' target='_blank'></a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"Google recently announced it was going to put an 18 month upgrade requirement on any handset that wants to be Google-certified, meaning if you buy a handset today, you're guaranteed OS updates for 18 months."</em></p><p><img height="549" src="" style="margin-left: 100px; margin-right: 100px;" width="400" /></p><p>A different philosophy indeed! I understand why the hardware manufacturers don't want to push out updates so that people will buy new phones to get the new goodies, but that certainly isn't a very good model if you want to retain customers. Apple is in the hardware business too, but they don't have a problem getting out updates that work on their older handsets, as evidenced by the chart above. Who do you think has the customer's best interests in mind? I know who my money is on, but what are your thoughts?&nbsp;</p>
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Old 11-10-2011, 12:38 AM
Lee Yuan Sheng
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1. Apple is still selling the 3GS. It's their way to counter lower-end Android handsets. If they can update it, why not?

2. Most hardware companies suck at software. For example, everyone's familiar with HTC's Sense (some might even like it) but my goodness the strain on the handset is significant. It says a lot when, on the same version of Android, the new handset with Sense and a dual core processor lags compared to the single core without Sense.
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Old 11-10-2011, 04:02 PM
Sven Johannsen
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Guess they might want to start with ensuring new handsets release with at least the current version on them. A promise of 18 months upgrades doesn't mean a lot if you start two revs behind.

I actually think that software upgrades are an interesting 'entitlement' we seem to have come to expect. On one hand it certainly does create good will for the provider, but it does cost them money, and potential reduced sales. I think people sometimes forget that software developement costs time and money, typically with no real tangible ROI if you just hand it out. Accountants have a hard time quantifying good will.

It would make sense to me if a company continued to sell a hardware model, with newer software revisions on it, that it would offered to current owners, the development cost is sunk. It is not that clear that current owners are entitled to updates, other than bug fixes, forever.

I would suggest folks make decisions on technology based on their current needs and the ability of the tech to fulfill that need as it exists, not as it might evolve. The ability to evolve really only exists in this new (relatively) class of device that is heavily software based. You don't get an upgrade to HD on a TV you bought last year, you can't take a car in you bought two years ago and have it upgraded because the new model gets better mileage. You can put a new OS on that PC, but typically you buy it.

Wonder what folks would say if new upgrades, not bug fixes, cost them some money, or resulted in a little contract extension? Would iOS 4 folks opt for iOS 5 if it meant adding 6 months to their contract, or a year? Would they pay for Android 4 if they bought a tablet with 3.2? What! that's crazy, Android is free.
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:36 PM
Chris Gohlke
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18 months seems reasonable considering most people are buying their phones under a 2 year contract so honestly are not going to go out and buy a new phone in less than 2 years anyway. I've got the Samsung Charge, which is a nice phone, but it was release 1 version behind and is still running Froyo. It will soon be 2 behind when ICS comes out with no word on an official Gingerbread release.
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Old 11-10-2011, 06:13 PM
Vincent Ferrari
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Originally Posted by Sven Johannsen View Post
Guess they might want to start with ensuring new handsets release with at least the current version on them. A promise of 18 months upgrades doesn't mean a lot if you start two revs behind.

I think that's 90% of it. When you can't guarantee that a phone released today is wearing the current OS, that's a big problem right there.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:06 PM
Craig Horlacher
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While fragmentation is a problem for Android I would argue it's also one of its greatest assets. For instance, if you want an iPhone you can't have a MicroSDHC card slot, MicroUSB port, MicroHDMI, LED notification light, or a screen that's at least 4" in diagonal and 16:9/10 aspect ratio. That's a big list of features that you can't have because Apple decided for you that you don't need them.

There have been a lot of really bad, or just not needed, Android phones that have been made. There have been a lot of great ones as well. I guess it depends what you're looking for and it helps to do some research but I'll go with the platform that has the features I want.

I've been extremely happy since I moved from Windows Mobile 6.1 to Android about 1.5 years ago. My Droid X has gotten at least 5 updates (minor updates, bug fixes, major updates) over the air to the OS since I got it. Right now it's on the latest major version, 2.3. I'm not sure if it will get 4.0 or not but even if it doesn't, I've got a great phone with great features and in March I'm eligible for an upgrade.
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