Android updates vs. iOS updates

dmelgar

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Apr 29, 2005
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Google announced the "Android Update Alliance" in May 2011, promising timely updates for 18 months. The "alliance" has never been mentioned since.

I bought my last Android phone when LTE was first becoming available on Verizon. These were the functionally leading phones of the time because they had LTE. How have they fared?

HTC Thunderbolt: Updated to Gingerbread 2.3. ICS promised for August 2012. Delayed. No word on availability. Still extremely buggy.
Samsung Charge: Updated to Gingerbread. Bug fix update recently. No word on ICS. Not promised.
Motorola Bionic: ICS update promised, but just delayed (9/29/2012) to 4Q2012.
LG Revolution: Updated to Gingerbread but will not be getting ICS.

These phones were released April-June 2011, roughly 17 months ago, less than a year and a half ago.

Instead of adding support, manufacturers are announcing that they're giving up on updates, Motorola announced 9/29/2012 that they would not provide ICS to phones they had previously committed, including the Atrix 4G, Photon 4G, Electrify. HTC announced that the Desire HD would not get ICS after working on it for 9 months.

Will the Galaxy S3 fare any better than the Samsung Charge?

NONE of these phones have been updated to ICS, Android 4.0 released ONE YEAR AGO despite Google's pledge. So... 5 months after these phones were released, a new version of Android is released and they have not yet (or ever) received this update.

Android has gone through the following major releases, 2.3 Gingerbread, 3.1 Honeycomb, 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and now 4.1 Jelly Bean.

Most of these phones received an update to 2.3 Gingerbread but not even ICS a year after release. Will they get Jelly Bean? Not likely.

This needs to come back and haunt Android. There needs to be accountability. The latest phones always have lots of neat sounding features that may or may not work. But don't kid yourself thinking they will be fixed or that new versions of Android will be released for devices no longer sold.

Manufacturers (Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG) simply have no incentive to provide updates after the phones are no longer manufactured. They only care if you buy a new phone. Its a different business model, traditional cell phone electronics appliance sales, vs. Apple with their ecosystem trying to get you locked in and halo into other products.

Google releases ICS October 19, 2011. Here we are a year later and NONE of the LTE phones released only 17 months ago have received this update. Meanwhile iPhone 3GS released 6/2009, 40 months ago is receiving not just one but the latest update.
 

maflynn

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The advantage of a nexus phone is the fact that you get the updates straight from google and no waiting from the phone manufacturer. The alliance is never mentioned because its a failure. While the goals were admirable they (the manufacturers) were unable to keep up with releasing new phones, with the latest updates and keep rolling out updates to existing customers.

While not a true achilles heel, it is one of the areas that googles has been unable to improve on.
 

cynics

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Jan 8, 2012
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I agree with you but updates a just different with Android. While the OS might not be updated a lot of core apps are like Maps. They are separate from the OS so you get updates in the play store.

iOS on the other hand does the opposite. You get the latest OS but lose out of functionality, navigation, FaceTime, FaceTime via cellular.

It's also hard to make a comparison because Apple continues to sell old products. Whereas some Android devices lose support once they are no longer marketed. Making it even more difficult to compare is you are trying to compare 1 manufacture to many. If updates are that important too you get a nexus.

Nexus phones get the latest updates, there are currently only one manufacture, phone is updated yearly, and are supported for a long time. Does this sound familiar?
 

dmelgar

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Apr 29, 2005
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To be fair, samsung do update their handsets. The S2 for example has gone from 2.3 to 4.1
AT&T is still selling the S2. I wonder if that helps.

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The advantage of a nexus phone is the fact that you get the updates straight from google and no waiting from the phone manufacturer.
Is that true? I couldn't find a reference, but didn't a recent Nexus have a critical update held up by Verizon for months? I remember reading it was giving Nexus a bad name.

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Nexus phones get the latest updates, there are currently only one manufacture, phone is updated yearly, and are supported for a long time. Does this sound familiar?
One manufacturer?
HTC did the Nexus One.
Samsung has done the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus.
Asus makes the Nexus 7 tablet.
LG is supposed to release the Nexus 4 October 29.
 
Last edited:

maflynn

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Is that true? I couldn't find a reference, but didn't a recent Nexus have a critical update held up by Verizon for months? I remember reading it was giving Nexus a bad name.
Verizon has nothing to do with Nexus, in fact the current crop of Nexus phones are GSM only. Are you thinking of when the Nexus One for verizon was announced then a couple of months later killed off (before seeing the light of day)?

Nexus phones are vanilla android straight from google and thus not on the hook for the manufacturer to decide if and when an update will be release.
 

tbayrgs

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Jul 5, 2009
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Verizon has nothing to do with Nexus, in fact the current crop of Nexus phones are GSM only. Are you thinking of when the Nexus One for verizon was announced then a couple of months later killed off (before seeing the light of day)?

Nexus phones are vanilla android straight from google and thus not on the hook for the manufacturer to decide if and when an update will be release.
I'm sorry sir but you are mistaken. Verizon does in fact have their own version of the Galaxy Nexus, have had it for a long time. And yes, I also do recall a delay in the Verizon version getting the JB update vs. the unlocked GSM version.
 

dmelgar

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Verizon has nothing to do with Nexus, in fact the current crop of Nexus phones are GSM only. Are you thinking of when the Nexus One for verizon was announced then a couple of months later killed off (before seeing the light of day)?

Nexus phones are vanilla android straight from google and thus not on the hook for the manufacturer to decide if and when an update will be release.
Then whats this Nexus phone on Verizon's website?
 

xuselppa

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Oct 10, 2012
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----------

[/COLOR]

One manufacturer?
HTC did the Nexus One.
Samsung has done the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus.
Asus makes the Nexus 7 tablet.
LG is supposed to release the Nexus 4 October 29.
This is like saying Foxconn is the manufacturer of the iphone, not Apple. The various Android oem companies physically make the phone, but to Googles specs.
 

maflynn

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Then whats this Nexus phone on Verizon's website?
Looks like I'm mistaken. I go to the google nexus page and there isn't any CDMA phone available just GSM.

Since verizon is selling a Nexus phone, its conceivable that they held up an update. Again, I'd get the nexus phone straight from google and that means updates straight from google.
 

dmelgar

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Nexus phones get the latest updates, there are currently only one manufacture, phone is updated yearly, and are supported for a long time. Does this sound familiar?
Didn't the Nexus One have support dropped early? Google only reluctantly provided delayed email support. Seemed they had given up on the Nexus idea for a while until the Nexus S came out.

From Wikipedia,
  • The Nexus One was released on January 5, 2010.
  • Google announced in May 2010 that the online store would close, and the phone would be offered in retail stores.
  • In July 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported in an interview with CEO Eric Schmidt that Google would not be releasing a follow up to the Nexus One.
  • As of November 1, 2010 Google has closed the Nexus One support forums.
  • The Nexus One OTA update to Gingerbread (2.3.3) started on 23 February 2011.
  • Google announced that the Nexus One would not get ICS

And this for a phone released AFTER the iPhone 3GS which is still supported.

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This is like saying Foxconn is the manufacturer of the iphone, not Apple. The various Android oem companies physically make the phone, but to Googles specs.
So if the phone busts do you call Google on the Nexus Galaxy on Verizon, do you call Verizon or Samsung or Google for support?

If an iPhone breaks, you certainly don't ask Foxconn for support.

My HTC Thunderbolt prominently says Google on it. I never tried calling them for support.
 

xuselppa

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Oct 10, 2012
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Didn't the Nexus One have support dropped early? Google only reluctantly provided delayed email support. Seemed they had given up on the Nexus idea for a while until the Nexus S came out.

From Wikipedia,
  • The Nexus One was released on January 5, 2010.
  • Google announced in May 2010 that the online store would close, and the phone would be offered in retail stores.
  • In July 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported in an interview with CEO Eric Schmidt that Google would not be releasing a follow up to the Nexus One.
  • As of November 1, 2010 Google has closed the Nexus One support forums.
  • The Nexus One OTA update to Gingerbread (2.3.3) started on 23 February 2011.
  • Google announced that the Nexus One would not get ICS

And this for a phone released AFTER the iPhone 3GS which is still supported.

----------



So if the phone busts do you call Google on the Nexus Galaxy on Verizon, do you call Verizon or Samsung or Google for support?

If an iPhone breaks, you certainly don't ask Foxconn for support.

My HTC Thunderbolt prominently says Google on it. I never tried calling them for support.
I bought my Nexus 7 through Google, so I would call them. If you bought your Nexus phone through AT&T, you go through them (which is the same procedure as the iphone, no?)

my point was, when Google decides on a new Nexus device, they spec it and then give the manufacturing job to someone in the open handset alliance. The benefit is, the manufacturer gets to brand the product with their name.
 

ChazUK

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Feb 3, 2008
5,390
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Essex (UK)
Didn't the Nexus One have support dropped early? Google only reluctantly provided delayed email support. Seemed they had given up on the Nexus idea for a while until the Nexus S came out.

From Wikipedia,
  • The Nexus One was released on January 5, 2010.
  • Google announced in May 2010 that the online store would close, and the phone would be offered in retail stores.
  • In July 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported in an interview with CEO Eric Schmidt that Google would not be releasing a follow up to the Nexus One.
  • As of November 1, 2010 Google has closed the Nexus One support forums.
  • The Nexus One OTA update to Gingerbread (2.3.3) started on 23 February 2011.
  • Google announced that the Nexus One would not get ICS

And this for a phone released AFTER the iPhone 3GS which is still supported.
This was primarily down to the appalling amount of system storage on the handset (just 512MB with 190MB allocated to user/app data storage).

There were AOSP ICS ROMs avaialbe for the Nexus One which required an EXT partition on the SD card to make everything fit. Obviously not a good situation for the phone.

The Nexus S has fared far better with a Gingerbread, ICS and Jellybean upgrade path which was undoubtedly helped with the larger system storage compared to the Nexus S.
 

Scrub175

macrumors 6502
Apr 25, 2012
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Port St Lucie FL
I agree with you but updates a just different with Android. While the OS might not be updated a lot of core apps are like Maps. They are separate from the OS so you get updates in the play store.

iOS on the other hand does the opposite. You get the latest OS but lose out of functionality, navigation, FaceTime, FaceTime via cellular.

It's also hard to make a comparison because Apple continues to sell old products. Whereas some Android devices lose support once they are no longer marketed. Making it even more difficult to compare is you are trying to compare 1 manufacture to many. If updates are that important too you get a nexus.

Nexus phones get the latest updates, there are currently only one manufacture, phone is updated yearly, and are supported for a long time. Does this sound familiar?
HTC nexus one
Samsung nexus s
Samsung galaxy nexus
LG next nexus...

Verizon galaxy nexus still requires carrier validation of update releases. True that u can root and flash the latest direct google release bypassing carrier validation.

iPhone releases when they want and carriers releases are on the side so to speak.

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Then whats this Nexus phone on Verizon's website?
I've been out of the scene but droid life report that the CDMA nexus is in fact back on the AOSP release list for android due to binary changes workarounds or whatever.

----------

I agree with you but updates a just different with Android. While the OS might not be updated a lot of core apps are like Maps. They are separate from the OS so you get updates in the play store.

iOS on the other hand does the opposite. You get the latest OS but lose out of functionality, navigation, FaceTime, FaceTime via cellular.

It's also hard to make a comparison because Apple continues to sell old products. Whereas some Android devices lose support once they are no longer marketed. Making it even more difficult to compare is you are trying to compare 1 manufacture to many. If updates are that important too you get a nexus.

Nexus phones get the latest updates, there are currently only one manufacture, phone is updated yearly, and are supported for a long time. Does this sound familiar?

Some of the loses were hardware driven and some were carrier driven so that's not so fair of a statement blaming iOS updates for carrier restrictions.
 

dmelgar

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
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This was primarily down to the appalling amount of system storage on the handset (just 512MB with 190MB allocated to user/app data storage).

There were AOSP ICS ROMs avaialbe for the Nexus One which required an EXT partition on the SD card to make everything fit. Obviously not a good situation for the phone.

The Nexus S has fared far better with a Gingerbread, ICS and Jellybean upgrade path which was undoubtedly helped with the larger system storage compared to the Nexus S.
Limiting app storage to 190MB is pathetic. I ran into that with my HTC Incredible, although I thought the limit there was 300MB. Absolutely no technical reason to have such a minuscule size limit.

These phones support external storage via microSD. No reason they couldn't make use of it.

iOS also had to deal with lack of RAM in the iPhone 3GS, hence lots of missing features. It only has 256MB RAM, half what the Nexus One has.
 

ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
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These phones support external storage via microSD. No reason they couldn't make use of it.

They did make use of the external storage via the likes of partially moving apps to the SD card but none of the system can be run from external storage.

The only method at the time was to use a separate EXT2/3/4 based partition (which required a wipe of the SD card to create the two EXT and FAT partitions which would then symlink applications from the pitiful internal memory onto the EXT partition).

This was never an official Google solution and did have its drawbacks (especially on low quality, slow SD cards - Remember the issues Samsung Focus owners were having with Windows Phone 7 and slow SD cards being used by the system).

As a matter of fact several Samsung Focus users who decided to change the memory card on their devices are now facing performance problems and AT&T, who claimed that they would allow users to change the memory configuration of their WP7 devices, decided to change its tune and deal directly with Microsoft on this matter.This basically all boils down to the type and quality of the Micro-SD card as stated below:
I'm not entirely sure there would have been an easy rout out for the Nexus One.

Limiting app storage to 190MB is pathetic. I ran into that with my HTC Incredible, although I thought the limit there was 300MB. Absolutely no technical reason to have such a minuscule size limit.
I couldn't agree more with you there. It never did make sense to me to ship these handsets with such low internal memory. Getting the Nexus S with it's 1GB of system storage and 14 odd GB "external" storage was quite liberating at the time.

Of course that is now a thing of the past and now I'd guess on most flagship devices the whole amount of internal storage is available for the system, apps, media and files.
 

Scrub175

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cynics

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Jan 8, 2012
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AT&T is still selling the S2. I wonder if that helps.

----------


Is that true? I couldn't find a reference, but didn't a recent Nexus have a critical update held up by Verizon for months? I remember reading it was giving Nexus a bad name.

----------



One manufacturer?
HTC did the Nexus One.
Samsung has done the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus.
Asus makes the Nexus 7 tablet.
LG is supposed to release the Nexus 4 October 29.
I think I was a little vague. Currently (now) there is one new Nexus phone and one tablet (like iPhone and iPad). The next release is about a year since the last (iPhone). Sure you can get an old Nexus but the further you go back the less they are supported (like the 3GS doesn't have the software like the 4S and 5).

Apparently what I'm hearing now is a few manufactures are going to be making Nexus phones. This is good because if someone hated Samsung but liked HTC they could still get a Nexus version.

And the Nexus line gets updates from google but there is a carrier delay. Verizon is terrible! The Verizon galaxy nexus just got JB a short time ago. I've only ever had Verizon phones and because of what the due to phones android and iPhone alike ill never get another (if I ever need to pay for my own phone lol).
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
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4
Looks like I'm mistaken. I go to the google nexus page and there isn't any CDMA phone available just GSM.

Since verizon is selling a Nexus phone, its conceivable that they held up an update. Again, I'd get the nexus phone straight from google and that means updates straight from google.
they held it up due to the LTE stuff in it. It is those carrier radio stuff that causes the problem. Apple has more power but at the same token do not do anything to the radios with out the carriers saying OK to it.

----------

Didn't the Nexus One have support dropped early? Google only reluctantly provided delayed email support. Seemed they had given up on the Nexus idea for a while until the Nexus S came out.

From Wikipedia,
  • The Nexus One was released on January 5, 2010.
  • Google announced in May 2010 that the online store would close, and the phone would be offered in retail stores.
  • In July 2010, The Daily Telegraph reported in an interview with CEO Eric Schmidt that Google would not be releasing a follow up to the Nexus One.
  • As of November 1, 2010 Google has closed the Nexus One support forums.
  • The Nexus One OTA update to Gingerbread (2.3.3) started on 23 February 2011.
  • Google announced that the Nexus One would not get ICS

And this for a phone released AFTER the iPhone 3GS which is still supported.

I will point out that the Nexus One can not run ICS end of story. It does not have enough Flash memory to reflash and do everything with out a heavy risk of bricking the device.
 

dmelgar

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
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Topic update.
After almost a year and a half, the Droid Bionic is finally getting ICS possibly as soon as tomorrow. AFAIK, this is the first and possibly only one of the original LTE phones on Verizon to get ICS.
 

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