The Broken World of Android

Having had an Android device for some time now, I’ve been bothered by just how long it’s been taking to update to its latest iteration Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0. The software packaged on the Galaxy Nexus was released back in December and has seen its adoption across only 1.6 percent of its devices (numbers provided by Google on March 5, 2012).

So what’s the hold up? And how is it taking this long for most Android lovers to get the newest flavor of Android? The reason is how Android is distributed. Google’s mobile OS has seen tremendous adoption in the smartphone market, which most could attribute in large part to its open source nature. The main issue with this, is it puts manufacturers in charge of deciding what devices are worthy of an update. This would be as if Dell, Toshiba or HP deciding when you got the latest Microsoft Windows update – not fun. Unless you own a Nexus model phone – the pure Google experience – you are the only ones who receive current and timely updates.

So how do we fix it? Android Jelly Bean? Let’s hope. If Android developed a new agreement with its manufacturers requiring a mandatory time-to-upgrade window, users could know when to expect an update. And if Android (sad to say) were less open source, and provided manufacturers an early view of the OS, they could prep before release, giving users their modulated version close to initial release.

Who knows if any of this could be plugged into Jelly Bean, but something or someone has got to give soon. Most would love the new and improved Android, but as for me I’ve given up my usual excited anticipation. After waiting 9 months for Gingerbread on my Droid Incredible, I only heard of its update after buying a Droid Incredible 2. This laggard approach by the manufacturers needs structure from Google, because without it, the world of Android could be a place where manufacturers suck you in an unsustainable pit of pricey phone upgrades.

A ray of hope! Recently HTC released a list of models to get Ice Cream Sandwich (no dates listed however):

  • DROID Incredible 2 by HTC
  • HTC Amaze 4G
  • HTC Desire S
  • HTC Desire HD
  • HTC EVO 3D
  • HTC EVO Design 4G
  • HTC Incredible S
  • HTC Sensation
  • HTC Sensation XL
  • HTC Sensation 4G
  • HTC Sensation XE
  • HTC Raider
  • HTC Rezound
  • HTC Rhyme
  • HTC Thunderbolt
  • HTC Vivid
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