The Problem with Android

Back in 2009 (when apparently I was a much bigger fan of iOS) I wrote about how Apple got it right in how they managed OS upgrades compared to RIM who let the carriers control when and if devices got upgraded.  Sound familiar? Substitute Google/Android for RIM and it is the exact same scene playing out all over again.

To highlight the absurdity of this yesterday Google announced Chrome for iOS, while Chrome for iOS is far from perfect if I choose to I can install it today on my original iPad 1.  Everyone knows though that I prefer Android over iOS, so what about Android? Yes Chrome for Android has been out for a while and is now out of beta….. if you happen to have a device running Android 4.0+.  So while I have an Android Phone running 2.x and a tablet running 3.x (neither of which will officially ever see an upgrade to 4.0) if I want to run Chrome on a tablet I need to turn to an Apple product.

No I am not going to abandon Android, there is too much I like about it, but the Android Update Alliance  announced at Google IO in 2011 has not been heard from since.

Device updates were clearly not RIM’s only (or even biggest) problem, but Google should nonetheless learn a lesson and fix Android updates, it is long overdue.

6 Responses to The Problem with Android
  1. Michael E Kobrowski
    June 29, 2012 | 9:27 am

    I think this isn’t easy because Google/Android lets handset makers put their own skins/modifications inside their Android versions for their phones. Apple doesn’t have that problem.

    So if you update your Samsung to the latest Android and your old Samsung apps don’t work anymore that would be bad showing too for Google/handset maker.

    Mind you I don’t give a $#$@ about those handset maker apps and avoid them like the plague on my Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket II but still. I am sure many use them.

    They should make them have all those “enhancements” on top of the OS and not mess with the update ability for sure.

    • Mitch Cohen
      June 29, 2012 | 10:19 am

      I wish the carriers would just give up on the skinning and bloatware altogether, one of these days I am going to root my phone and install a custom ROM just to be rid of it all

  2. David Schaffer
    June 29, 2012 | 9:54 am

    On the other hand, as a BES and Traveler administrator, I don’t wake up in the morning to find my Blackberry users have downloaded an OS upgrade overnight — and I know that RIM won’t release an upgrade that breaks BES. Not so true with iOS and Traveler. If they’re going after the corporate market Android may want to stick with the Blackberry model of releasing tested versions through the carriers.

    • Mitch Cohen
      June 29, 2012 | 10:19 am

      David – that worked for RIM when most of these devices were corporate owned, the ship has sailed it is a consumer driven business today and smartphone consumers want the latest OS not to be locked in a phone for 2 years that won’t see new functionality. How many problems have you had from iOS upgrades?

      • David Schaffer
        June 29, 2012 | 10:25 am

        I was warned to expect trouble with iOS 5; there was a Traveler patch issued. I don’t know if we really would have had trouble without the patch as I went ahead and applied it to the server. Otherwise it’s mostly warnings on the Traveler side but no symptoms — but I only have 27 devices on Traveler so we may not see every troublesome combination.
        By contrast I’m running ancient BES 4 and have never had a version compatibility issue with devices up to BB ver 7.

  3. Mat Newman
    June 30, 2012 | 12:19 am

    Carrier dependant updates drive me nuts, Nokia have also had the same issue for years, and we all know what’s happening to them.

    The other side of the issue is the manufacturer, the update for the
    Lenovo Thinkpad Tablet for Android 4 arrived in Europe weeks before it was available for Australian users. And these devices are not carrier dependant.